Monday, April 23, 2012

 Time for some changes...

We've spent five days in a "No Name Harbor" and loved the solitude and downtime to just do whatever seemed to feel right.  Yesterday what seemed to feel right was a nap in the cockpit.   Ahhh!

Another idea was taking a walk ashore to see the restored Cape Florida Lighthouse, which has stood since 1825 on the sight that once served as a launching place for runaway slaves escaping to the Bahamas aboard rickety old sloops and dugouts.  These brave souls became known as Seminoles and populated several Bahamian and Caribbean  islands including Cuba.

The lighthouse offers a view from the top if you don't mind climbing the circular staircase which is supported only by the center spine upon which are bolted Iron steps.  About half way up you feel like you're aloft on an old square rigger as the entire staircase sways from the weight of several tourists climbing and descending.  

The view from the top was great but the wind was howling

The Park also offers a look at several restored buildings that served the lighthouse caretakers over the years.  

Moonshadow's crew came around the corner to find another structure of the moon variety.

Meanwhile aboard Moonshadow, we weathered another front passing over Southern Florida last night.  We had gotten pretty used to seeing 20+ knots of wind on the sailing instruments in the anchorages and marinas we've been. The wind in Florida so far seems to be quite happy blowing 20, which is a bit of an adjustment to the 8-12 knots we've grown accustomed to in San Diego.

When the front passed, it was pretty dramatic with a 120 degree wind shift from SE to West in the span of about 90 seconds and a new wind in the mid 30s.  We were glad to be aboard at the time as this is what can uproot a well set anchor.  It's really comforting to know that Steve Dashew, Moonshadow's designer, didn't mess around when specifying massive ground tackle for all the boats he designed.  Good ole Moonshadow and her huge anchor just shrugged it all off as we spun around to our new westerly anchorage heading.  

This morning, it was finally time to put the lazy cruising lifestyle aside and head back to Ft. Lauderdale, where Moonshadow will get some refitting.  We'll get the propeller removed and sent to Seattle for an overhaul, which takes a couple of weeks.  While we're waiting, we'll attend to several items that need doing now or later, on the theory that the sooner we address them, the more enjoyment we'll get out of the investments.  

But first, we'd need to negotiate the channel from our cozy little cove back into the Atlantic.  The channel is well marked but within the safety (safe if you have a boat that draws less than 5 feet) of the channel are a few shallow spots where the bottom at low tide is 5 feet (we draw 6 feet).  I never appreciated how yachting can be such a game of inches (see mast clearances in an earlier post).  John kept below at the chart table giving Deb headings to steer and Deb was at the wheel watching the compass like a hawk.

As you can see, Deb did a great job steering around the shoals.  Those charted soundings are in meters.

(click on photos to enlarge)

What a great crew Moonshadow has! 

We finally got to look up for a last look at the Cape Florida Lighthouse.

The sail north to Ft. Lauderdale was fine in a fresh Northwesterly on the back side the the front that passed through the previous night.  Funny though, but for one day, we sailed close hauled on Port Tack all the way South, and today found ourselves close hauled on Port Tack again heading in the opposite direction.  This time, we had the Gulf Stream pushing us along and saw GPS speeds in the elevens, so before we knew it, it was time to douse the sails and work our way up the New River to the River Bend Marine Center where Moonshadow will be until all the work is done.  Along the twisty curvy way, we were awestruck by the ostentatious homes and beautiful yachts.

The next two weeks or so will feature fewer palm trees and blue water and more rental cars and credit cards.  We'll be really ready to head for Georgia and the Carolinas when it's all over!


janet brough said...

Hi Deb and John:
I am so enjoying reading your blog....makes me homesick for sailing :-)
I see you are heading to you have plans to go north and if so, how far? Maine? Would love to see you if that is the plan...We spend a couple of weeks each year in Boothbay Harbor. Thanks for sharing your adventures! Happy sailing!

John and Deb Rogers said...


Thanks your note. We plan to sail north, perhaps as far as Maine, but we're quickly adopting a phrase about our plans from George, Moonshadow's previous owner: "Our plans are cast in the sand at low tide".

Once we're out of the boat yard and figure out what's next, we'll post our "plans", here on our blog.

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