Good Morning All….

Good morning all,

It is Friday morning and we have been underway since light which was about 6:30am.  We had an interesting day yesterday.  We have been listening to the drone of the motors for days now and even though Rusty is a powerer boater by heart (I don’t think he would admit it) even he has had enough of the constant noise.  Yesterday we were motoring along the ICW and he noticed an outlet to the “big water” (Atlantic) and casually mentioned it.  I said, “Lets go” and we did.  There was a little wind and we could sail about 3 knts which was fine with us until we got “the call”.  Karen was coming.  Oh my Gosh we are soooo excited.  I said, “On with the motors”.  We considered going all night and had pretty much decided we would but then at dusk the winds completely died and to my surprise and much to my delight (I don’t like all nighters) he pointed SYL towards the St. Lucie inlet.  It is my job to look at “Skipper Bob” and charts and give Rusty the information he needs to decide where to anchor etc.  Since we had gone outside I had not looked at “Skipper Bob” that far down the ICW.  We just thought we would enter and find a place to pull over.  Wrong!  We accidently picked the absolute worse stretch of ICW I have ever been on.  It is very narrow and constantly changing so even Sea Clear which is usually very accurate could not be totally trusted as we found out. 

By the time we were well inside the inlet it was approaching dark.  We were following Sea Clear and the markers when we ran aground.  We were stuck and stuck good and it didn’t make any sense why we were stuck.  We were right in front of a red marker and according to Sea Clear we should be in 13 ft of water.  After about 45 minutes Rusty gets us off by backing out completely and going around.  Apparently we were trying to go over a shelf.  Sounds simple when writing it but it was not so simple when experiencing it.  Of course, there was a considerable amount of traffic that was coming in and most of the time their wave action was helpful but once it really grounded us in big time.  The only time I got a little concerned was when we found out we were just coming off HIGH TIDE.  I wasn’t worried about our safetly or the safetly of  SYL,  I was just concerned whether we could get ourselves off without help.  I thought it interesting no one stopped to inquire if they could help. 

We did get off but by now it was pitch black and then I started looking at the chart and “Skipper Bob” and discovered that there was no place to pull off for over 10 miles.  At a little over 5 knts at best that would be over 2 hours.  It was very, very dark and we found out our Q Bean was not onboard.  I had forgotten it had broken last trip.  Grannie, you saved the day.  The flashlight you gave Rusty for Christmas worked great!!!   We were very glad to have it. 

We spent the next hour navigating the dark, narrow ICW.  We read on the charts that the buoy’s are not charted because the channel is constantly changing.  The charts indicated that the water depth right outside the narrow channel was 1 to2 ft most of the way.  We found one 4ft spot and tried it but it was not large enough.  Finally, about 8:00pm I look over and see mast lights off to our left.  I look at the charts and it says the water depth is 1 to 2 feet.  I think outloud, ” I wonder what they know we don’t know”.  Rusty immediately responds with, “Hey” and does a hard left, slowly.  I am thinking, “Sheeish, I don’t want to do this”.  But as usual, Rusty made a good decision.  He sounds our way in and finds a good spot.  Shortly, we are hailed by one of the other boats, “Rum Time” who we had met in Georgetown, Great Exuma’s at the Cruiser Regatta last year.  They cautioned us about a sandbar, (which we saw on the chart) and told us of another way to navigate into what is called Pecks Lake.  With our draft we were fine so we were in for the night.  We had so much adrenaline pumping that we both had trouble sleeping.  About 1:00am we had a rainshower and I got up and took the rugs up and brought our seats in. 

That brings us to this morning which has been uneventful.  We have 72 miles to make today.  We have 7 bridges in the next 15 miles.  The first 4 are on request so they will not slow us down but the next 3 only open on the hour and 1/2 hour and they will slow us down a bit.  Ah well, we will get there when we get there.  Karen does not arrive until 2:00pm tomorrow so all is good. 

I have learned two important lessons from this experience.  One, I need to make a checklist just like you have on a personal aircraft that I check off  “BEFORE” any voyage other than a day trip.  If I had that checklist I would have remembered we did not have a Q-Beam on board and retified that situation.  Second,  “ALWAYS, ALWAYS check your guides and charts BEFORE changing coarse.  Another important tip is to ALWAYS check weather, which I did.  Funny, the forecast called for a 10% chance of rain tonight.  We had rain last night and fairly high winds this morning….I am glad we were not outside.  God continues to protect us…..

I have some pictures from this mornings sunrise but I can only post pictures with the computer that is running Sea Clear at the moment so I will have to post those later. 
Sea Yawl Later!


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