WARNING: SPOILER ALERT
Feb. 16, 2014. We’re back and Sable is in her new slip at Halifax Harbor, Daytona Beach, Fl. Now I know you northeast cruisers are used to fog, but it is rare in the south and we don’t have radar, or much experience with it.
We had crossed from Bimini to Ft. Lauderdale on Jan. 28 under nearly ideal conditions-except no wind. However, we’d rather motor with flat seas than challenge the Gulf Stream banging in to waves and wind. So motor it was.
Our crossing was fast and smooth and the following day we did the run up to N. Palm Beach on the outside, avoiding the ICW and some 18 bridges. The weather only got bad-rain and fog-as we got into Lake Worth.
For some reason we still think entering Lake Worth from the ocean is a good idea. The entrance is straight forward, jetties on both sides, but I actually can’t remember a good entry. Last year we entered in the dark and encountered a huge dredging operation without lights and no warning on the radio. That was a challenge. This year, it was rain and fog, making for poor visibility. The chartplotter is a wonderful help, but with all the boats at anchor around Peanut Island, you still need to be able to see.
Our real delays with fog didn’t start really until we reached Melbourne, just two days away from our home port. We woke up on Feb. 2 intending to leave at 7:00 but we had fog so dense we couldn’t see the first set of markers in the channel going out of the marina. There was no wind so the fog stayed.We finally were able to leave the dock at 9:50. Fortunately we had a short day.
Then Titusville. This would be our last day and we were eager to leave at first light so we would have time to begin to off-load the boat to start home by car early the next day. We had an email saying we needed to have our 67 Beetle in Savannah to load for his trip to Cape Town, S. Africa sometime around Feb. 17. As much as we didn’t want the sailing to end, we were excited about this next adventure.
We woke to a bit of light fog in the distance, but no problem leaving the marina. We threw off the lines at 7:10. it was a different story in the ICW. As soon as we cleared the marina harbor and turned north, the boats at anchor made a beautiful eerie photos in the fog.
Again, the chartplotter showed the markers, but we could hardly see them until we were on top of them. No good. This stretch takes you across a wide section of the Indian River and through the Haulover canal. There are rocky jetties both entering and exiting the Haulover canal and a bridge that opens on demand in the middle of the canal. The Indian river is wide but very shallow and only a couple of spots to safely anchor on either side out of the channel. I phoned the bridge tender to see if the fog was better or worse in the canal. She told me how little viability she had and at 8:12 we dropped anchor near a small island just off the ICW where the channel turns East.
I fixed another cup of coffee for each of us and we sat in the cockpit in silent fog, air horn in hand in case there were other over-eager boaters who had come out in this fog. Not surprising, there was no one. Finally at 9:30, we pulled up anchor. It was still foggy, but not quite so much and we needed to move on to make Daytona. By the time we hit the canal, the fog had completely lifted which was a good thing, because this is a favorite fishing spot for small boats and even on a clear day, they do not watch for boats navigating this canal.
All’s well that ends well and we were tied up in our new slip at 3:30. We didn’t do much except go out to dinner. Fatigue from the tension of the day had set in and we both were quite willing to wait until the next morning to begin to off-load.
Jan and Ed on Sable.