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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Boca Raton, not far, but those bridges take FOREVER!










Crawdad has a mast with a wind instrument mounted on top. The height of the boat is almost 24 feet. We accept the height as 25 feet. Most of the bridges on the ICW in Southern Florida are 25 feet or less, so we are on a constant vigil watching for the next bridge.

We have learned even in this short time, to plan ahead. Most bridges open on the hour or half hour only. Some bridges open on the quarter after the hour and quarter to the hour. Takes some planning. For most trawlers and tugs, this is not an issue. They just pass under the bridge! Because of the tides, which can be significant - as much as 3 feet in southern Florida on the ICW, bridges show a sign that exhibits the height based on the tide - at that time.

Encountering first bridge, we had not planned at all. Wait 30 minutes! This means we are backing up and trying to stay in the middle of the ICW for 30 minutes. Not so easy with the 20mph winds we have "enjoyed" for the last week. Next bridge we planned. Not so well, as we got to the bridge a few minutes late. WAIT! Then we caught on (a little slow, wouldn't you say?) and would plan for the next two bridges and monitor our boat speed to arrive just before opening. With 7 bridges, it makes a BIG difference in time traveled.

The ICW is lined with incredible homes and we continue to be amazed at the beauty of many of the homes. How can so many people have so much money and spend it so lavishly!

Lake Boca Raton is a beautiful little lake off the ICW. When we arrived (on Saturday afternoon) there were about 30 boats. Most were rafted in 2, 3's and 4's. Looked like a party in the making! We crawled into the available spot (watch out for shoals - I love that warning) and proceed slowly into the bight (lake). There wasn't a lot of space, so we found a spot and dropped anchor. Since there was so little space, we dropped a 2nd anchor to keep us secure. (Remember, winds are blowing 20mph).

As the night progressed, the Easterly predicted breeze (steady all night) did 3, 360's (boater talk for going all the way around 3 times). The two anchors twisted around each other, making for fun the next morning. There are a few pictures from Jim's quest to rescue and secure our two anchors. We have a 45 pound CQR (and 250 feet of chain) and a Danforth with 6 feet of chain and the remainder line. We rarely use the Danforth (2nd anchor) on the bow. Crawdad also has a Danforth stored in the stern locker for those times we are in a narrow space and wish to keep the boat in the same spot while anchored. This is a third anchor with corresponding anchor line. Just to make it more complicated, we have two 150 foot lines in the stern locker as well, we used along the TennTom to tie to trees in a narrow river.

Guess the moral is - be prepared for all circumstances!

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