Sunday, March 27, 2016

Marathon to Palm Beach Gardens

We have covered a lot of ground water in the last few days. We left Marathon early on Friday the 25th, the first good weather (non-windy) day of the week. We backtracked a few miles to go under the Seven-Mile bridge and travel up the Gulf side of the islands.

Dolphins provided entertainment for a little while.

We stopped at Elliott Key after 95 miles and 11 hours and anchored for the night. It was a terrific anchorage, and we stayed about a mile offshore to avoid most of the mosquitos and no-seeums.

Sunrise, Elliott Key

Saturday the 26th was a shorter day for us- only 40 miles, 5 hours. We blew right past Miami, admiring the view of the city's skyline from the water. We have been to Miami several times, so didn't feel a need to stop here.

We stopped for the night at Loggerhead Marina in Hollywood. It wasn't easy- the first slip they sent us to was roped off. Hmmm. The next slip we tried was at the far end of a very narrow faraway- too narrow to maneuver, so we nixed that idea, and asked to tie up at the T-dock, which we did. A dock hand finally appeared to help tie us up. By this time we were tired, hot, and grouchy, so we walked to the pool (the 1/4 mile walk was more like 1 mile each way, but we needed the exercise.) The pool was beautiful and refreshing, and restored our good humor.

And we needed plenty of good humor today, Easter Sunday. Last year we attended a sunrise Easter service on the beach in Fort Pierce. Today we listened to our hometown church's worship service via the Internet. Not quite the same, but better than nothing.  Before the sun was up we were passing by Cruise Ship Wonderland, aka Fort Lauderdale. We saw 6 or 7 cruise ships docked there, and dodged a large container ship.

Notice the TV/movie screen on top of this ship

Mark had a wonderful plan for today, the day of endless bridges famous in this part of the Sunshine State, and it worked beautifully! We untied at 0620- an hour before sunrise. We had plenty of light provided by the moon and the unending parade of high rise buildings lining the waterway. We had to pass under 21 bridges in 64 miles. Back home, there are no bridges across the Mississippi between Dubuque and Prairie du Chien- a distance of about 60 miles. So you can see why 21 bridges in 64 miles seems excessive to me. 12 of those bridges were no problem- they ranged in height from 22 to 65 feet above the water. Mara Beel is 21 feet tall, so if a bridge is lower than that, it has to open for us. Most of these bridges don't open whenever a boat needs them to do so- they are on schedules, usually open every 30 minutes. So, 9 bridges were too low for us. I am so tired of doing math problems in my head! It is necessary to determine how far it is to the next low bridge, when it will next open, and what speed we need to travel to make the opening. I don't even like math when I am not sweaty and tired, and I do know there is a calculator on my phone. Even so.

We caught a huge break on the final low bridge- it had to open 20 minutes early to allow a work tow and barge to pass through, so we were allowed to go through as well. Yay! We were getting close to our marina, so Mark called them on his cell phone several times for instructions- no answer. He called them on our VHF radio- no answer. Finally a boater in that marina told us that the staff had left at noon. It was 2:45, and they had told us they would be around until 4:45. I quickly searched for nearby marinas (there are lots, but they often are filled up) and found one only 5 miles further on. So we pulled into Loggerhead at Palm Beach Gardens, happy to be finished with bridges.

After cleaning up, we walked a mile or so each way to Thirsty Turtle for dinner. Shrimp and scallops. 
Mark is such a sweetheart- he volunteered to do the laundry while I worked on this blog- what a guy!! Happy Easter!

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