Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reaching Fort Pierce, FL: Days 4 & 5

Saturday, December 11 – Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Welcome to Fort Pierce, FL! Fort Pierce is a great stop-over on the way to Lake Worth, particularly because our friends, LA and Susan from Genesis, are in a marina here getting some boat work done. We haven’t seen them since our stop in Fernandina Beach last fall, and are excited to spend some time with them. We arrived here Sunday morning after two more days in the ICW. We cruised through pea soup-like fog on Saturday morning and ended up in a pretty little anchorage behind a spoil island south of Melbourne. The cruising guide warned that the island could be busy with locals on weekends, but we figured no one would be crazy enough to brave the 25 degree overnight temps. Wrong! There were two tents on the island with a bunch of people in party mode. One boat left around sunset, but the group from the second boat stuck it out and spent the night on the island. Brrrr!

We left our little spoil island at sunrise Sunday morning. A cold front was expected to blow through, and the winds picked up to 25-30kts around 10am. Other than a few 35-knot gusts that pushed us over, we had an easy 40-mile run to Fort Pierce and dropped the hook off of Harbortown Marina around 2pm. We had a bit of excitement in the anchorage as we arrived, thanks to a local boat that had dragged into the channel. The local sheriff boat tried to reset the anchor, and finally short-scoped the line to keep it out of the ICW. Given the fact that this boat was about 100’ from us, we decided to keep a close eye on it! Tow Boat US soon came out to the boat with the owner on board, and the boat was re-anchored closer to the bridge. The sheriff’s department asked us to notify the coast guard (or call 911) if any boats started dragging into the channel again, and they were on their way. A couple of hours later, a strong gust sent another boat dragging, and soon two of our unmanned neighbor boats were tangled up bow to stern. We called the USCG as requested, but since the boats were out of the channel, no one came to do anything. We eventually felt comfortable that nothing else would start moving, and went ashore for a grocery run and a quick hello with friends LA and Susan.

The next morning, the tangled boats had freed themselves, and one of the two began heading for the channel. We called the coast guard again, and they apparently sent the local sheriff boat to the rescue. What did they do? They grounded the boat on a sandbar outside of the marina and on a rising tide, ahead of all the boats in the anchorage. Guess where the prevailing winds were coming from…yep, from that same direction. It took about 20 minutes (just long enough for the sheriff’s boat to disappear) before that boat began moving again. This time, it made its way through the anchorage and headed straight for us! Rene ran topside to grab a couple of fenders, knowing there was only so much we could do to avoid a collision. We lucked out at the last minute, when Pipe swung on her anchor and the boat passed by with about 30’ to spare. Rene was immediately on the horn with the sheriff’s office again, who assured him that they were working on it at that very minute. Uh huh, sure. Long story short: the boat eventually crossed the channel on its own and grounded on the other side of the ICW. No one ever came to deal with it again, but at least it could no longer endanger any boats in the anchorage.

That evening, Susan and LA invited us over for dinner aboard Genesis. We were about 50’ from their boat when our dinghy engine died. Oops! Apparently we had water in the carburetor again, and the engine died each time Rene put it in gear. He was finally able to jerry-rig the engine enough to get us to Genesis, and we managed to forget about it while we enjoyed Susan’s delicious veal scaloppini and caught up on the past year. Rene got the engine started again long enough to get us back to Pipe, and thankfully it didn’t die until we were within arm’s reach of the boat...literally. :-)

Tuesday morning was spent tearing apart the carburetor, and Rene had the outboard up and running again in time for lunch with LA & Susan (plus the local marina cats). An after-lunch grocery run ended with happy hour aboard Genesis, and it was nearly 8pm before we looked at our watches. We raced back to Pipe to make dinner and prep for our departure the next morning. Stacy started the generator and got dinner going while Rene raised the dinghy; suddenly, Rene was racing down the stairs to shut off the gen. Massive overheating! Thank goodness he’d heard something “funny” from outside and was able to shut down the gen before we killed another impeller. The culprit? A jellyfish in the strainer. Yuck! Rene decided to check the main engine strainer while he was in the bilge…and found a 3-inch (very dead) fish. Double yuck!

We’ll be leaving early Wednesday morning for the 50-mile trip down to Lake Worth (North Palm Beach). We have some minor boat work and provisioning to get done, plus a trip to the vet for Tux. We’ll likely be there through early next week, at which time we’ll run offshore to Miami to stage in Dinner Key. Bahamas, here we come!

1 comment:

Ginger said...

I'm amazed at the number of boats dragging at Ft. Pierce with so little to be done about it. Where are the owners? Through the registration process (FLA or USCG) seems at least a phone call could be made. Thank God your fenders were handy. Thirty feet is too darn close. Sojourner reports 70 degrees at Guana Cay and you'll soon be even more south of that! Thanks for the Christmas card. It was amazing to receive it given all that's been up with you guys. Please have a safe, happy and uneventful Christmas! Ginger