It’s Thursday afternoon and we just arrived in Ft Lauderdale where we anchored in Middle River, a spot that we generally visit each time we come through the area. We particularly enjoy this spot as there is a great public dock for us to tie up our dink and do some shopping. Amazingly, this is probably one of the few places you will ever go where there is a place to tie up across from a high end shopping mall. To see a huge mall and grazing manatees in the same area is certainly not something that we see every day.
Today has been a rainy and windy day but it seems to be brightening off to the west. I am hopeful that it will clear up before the evening.
Last night was pretty windy with gusts coming down on Pandora causing her to strain at her anchor. However, that was only a test to be sure that the anchor was well dug in as things really got interesting this morning around 08:00 when a very strong line of thunderstorms came through Boca Raton. It went from nearly calm to fierce gusting wind and rain lashing the harbor in just a few moments. Over the years Brenda and I have experienced many thunderstorms at anchor and while on moorings so we thought that we knew what to expect.
Not so… As the torrential rain slammed into us, the winds increased hugely but to exactly how powerful, I can only speculate as I did not have the presence of mind to turn on the instruments. However, the wind came on so suddenly that I didn’t even have a chance to turn on the engine, just in case we dragged. In just a few moments a huge burst of wind came down on us Pandora and healed over at least 30 degrees, perhaps more. Let me tell you that this is about as much heeling as we experience when we are sailing hard on the wind in strong conditions and much more than we have EVER experienced when we were anchored. The amount of force that blasted against us was just unbelievable. Thankfully the dink was secured in the as I am sure that it would have flipped, engine and all had it been trailing behind us. Even though the dink was clear of the water, it reared up in the davits and threatened to rise above the top of the radar arch in several of the gusts that hit us. The roar of the wind in the rigging and hitting the canvas was breathtaking.
For a brief moment, several moments actually, I fully expected Pandora to drag her anchor and to make matters worse, we were anchored quite close to a 100’ motoryacht, that was on a dock behind us. Had we dragged even 100’ we would have been driven directly broadside into the yacht. It was a real cliffhanger, let me tell you.
Happily, the new over sized Rockna anchor held and the only damage to the boat was that some of the plastic clips that hold the SSB antenna on the back stay broke off because of the pressure of the wind.
This was our first experience with real wind since installing our new anchor and I am very thankful that I purchased such a large one, several sizes bigger than is called for for a boat of our size. There was only one other boat anchored near us, a small 25’ cruiser, and he dragged several hundred yards toward shore.
All and all, it was a very “exciting” experience and not in a good way. I should note that Brenda took it all in stride and certainly looked calmer than I felt as everything crashed around down below.
Finally, the winds let up and the rain slowed to a light drizzle so we headed off to make our run down to Ft Lauderdale, a short 15 mile run with bridges every mile or two, just like yesterday. The run from Palm Beach to Ft Lauderdale has more bridges per mile than any other part of the ICW and I am very happy to have that part of the trip behind us.
This part of the ICW is just jammed with remarkable homes and even though some are just over the top it’s fun to look into back yard after back yard as we make our way south through the Gold Coast of Florida.
This looks more like a convention center than a single family home. I am sure that “sticks and stones” would indeed break some things at this home. I wonder if the “lady of the house” puts on makeup before even peeping out of her bedroom? Probably a good idea. This one was a welcome break from the “Mediterranean” influence that pervades this area. I guess that this guy is “topped out” with his “giga-mortgage” and can only afford a “micro yacht”.
We passed many yachts along the way, some that looked larger than the homes they were parked in front of. I was struck by the lovely lines on this grand old lady. Her metal hull looked a bit lumpy but she is beautiful, never the less. So, for the next few days we will enjoy Ft Lauderdale prior to making the short offshore run down to Miami and then on to the Keys. While our plans continue to change, we have once again decided to help out SSCA and man the booth for a half day during the Miami Boat Show.
Yes, I know, we have been changing our plans each day and not it’s up to the weather to get us to Miami in time for the show. However, I am pretty optimistic as the show is a week away.
For now, I am glad to be in Ft Lauderdale and look forward to doing some shopping for provisions and enjoying the sights.
Yes, I am seeing blue sky to the West. Sunshine is certainly on the way. With some luck we won’t see any more healing to 30 degrees till we head out to do some sailing.
Here’s to sunshine and blue skies in so0n-to-be-sunny Ft Lauderdale. Glad to be here.