Thursday, April 2, 2015

New Experiences- No April Fools Joke

Day: 158
Miles:     37                           Total Miles: 2,965
Locks today:     1                   Total locks:  39

Yesterday our travels took us from River Forest near Stuart to Fort Pierce, FL. We are on the Atlantic coast for the first time in Mara Beel. We left the marina later than usual. The battery which powers our fridge when we are not connected to shore power started failing the other day. The battery is located under the galley floor and weighs over 100 pounds. Mike on Patriyachtik offered to help Mark lift it out of its box and bring it up on deck, so we took advantage of his offer. Now we need to buy a replacement.

We locked through St. Lucie, the last lock on the Okeechobee, and soon parted company with Patriyachtik and Charis as we continued on to the ICW. We will cross paths again with these friends.

The channel can be very narrow in the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) but it is usually pretty well marked. At one point Mark wanted to make his usual engine checks, so I was running the boat, as I frequently do. It took me about 3 minutes to run us aground. I felt the bump, the engines rattled, and we stopped- I immediately pulled back the throttle and threw both engines into neutral. I looked around and verified that we were indeed still in the marked channel, which made me feel just a little better. Mark covered the distance from the head to the bridge in record time! He assumed I had drifted out of the channel, but realized that was not the case. It was low tide, but still, the channel should have been deep enough- we only need 4 feet of water. Mark maneuvered us out of the low spot with a bit of back and forth with each engine. I felt terrible, but he assured me it was unavoidable. He did make me continue driving, even though I didn't want to- the old "get back on the horse" concept. It least it ended well.

Our second experience of interest occurred just south of Fort Pierce. We were cruising along watching the dolphins that joined us. I was on the starboard side taking pictures of them. A small boat nearby hailed Mark on the radio and asked him to slow down so the dolphins would leave us. They seem to swim with us only at higher rpms. Three women on the boat were from the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, part of Florida Atlantic University. They were dolphin researchers and wanted to photograph them. Mark told them he also had a photographer on board and didn't know if he could slow down. They convinced him to do so, and of course the dolphins promptly disappeared.

The dolphin researchers- they have bigger lenses than I do.

My photos were all near misses, but I did get the underside here.

That was plenty of excitement for one day. We tied up in Fort Pierce around 4:30 pm and immediately found friends Julie and Stu on Meander. During the night Linda and Robert on Errante arrived. Both boats just returned from the Bahamas, and we last saw them both in October. A friend of Mark's from home met us for a docktail on board and dinner at the Tiki restaurant here. He and his wife moved to Fort Pierce a few years ago and don't miss the midwest winters one bit!

The MTOA Pe-Rendezvous, hosted by the Treasure Coast Cruisers, begins tomorrow-- more new friends!

Sunrise at Fort Pierce

1 comment:

  1. What a day you had! Must be so good to reunite with Looper friends - hope to see you all along the way!