Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Florida Bay

So after dinner last night Brian and I checked the weather like we always do.  There’s a cold front coming with strong north winds and big waves in the Atlantic.  So the question was to go outside (ocean) and do it in 2 days and hope we would get to Key Biscayne before the weather, or go inside through Florida Bay.  There is only one place to get back inside between here and there and the thought of getting stuck on the outside hiding behind an island for 3 or 4 days didn’t really appeal to us. 
The next option was travel up the coast and come in about 15 miles north at Snake Creek.  Except…..on checking the chart plotter and both of our navigation programs they all show the depth at the mouth of Snake Creek at 3.9 feet.  Our draft is 4ft 11inches when not loaded down.
Option 3 was to go through Florida Bay where the charted depths in many places even in the Intracoastal Waterway channel show 4.9 feet.
Or…stay where we were until the weather cleared.  We went to bed without a plan.
This morning I was up at 5:30. (my brain still tells me I have to get to skating practice or work I think)  First the weather, then the charts, then the internet to do some research on depths in Florida Bay.  A cruising forum we read suggested calling Tow Boat US for some local knowledge, so that’s what we did.  They were really helpful and told us of just one iffy area about 5 miles long.  If we timed it with high tide we should be fine.
On our boat when our depth gauge shows 2.6 feet we are touching bottom.  Well, we were before we loaded up for the Bahamas.  We are carrying beer, diet coke, food, a lot of spare parts and 100 pounds of cat litter.  Is there a limit on how much litter you can import?  Anyway, we figure we’re sitting a couple of inches lower in the water.
High tide was at either 1:30 or 3:30pm (Brian and I disagreed on that one because we checked different tide stations).  So we took our time, had breakfast and cleaned the boat up. 
There were a couple of passes where we could see the shoals right beside us and at one point the depth gauge showed 3.2 feet. (I missed that picture) We think we had about 12 inches below the keel. To think we used to panic when we were in 8 feet.

see how shallow it is
we were actually moving, the speed shows on our
chartplotter and the depth here

this is the view on our Garmin Bluechart app for IPad
with Active Captain you can read reviews on marinas, anchorages,
restaurants, stores, hazards, local knowledge etc (really helpful)
the arrow I added using the Skitch app (I just found that one and it's free)

So, because we were moving fairly slowly we only made it to Plantation Key today.  We are about a quarter mile off shore and we are the only boat here.

I have a Cricket story to share.  We adopted her from a pet store 12 years ago.  I’m not sure if it has anything to do with it, that she had to fight for food there, but she’s always hungry.  She hasn’t missed many meals.  It’s a nightly ritual when she’s looking for a bedtime snack we ask her what she wants.  “Cricket, do you want an onion?”  “Do you want a pickle?” “How about a tomato?”  She always responds to the tomato.
Tonight while we were making a pizza a piece of tomato landed in her dish.  I didn’t notice until  I put her cat food in and put it on the floor.  When I picked up the bowl later to wash it the tomato was gone.  Who knew Crickets like tomatoes. 
and another beautiful sunset

1 comment:

  1. I predict that a case of tomatoes will soon add even more weight to the Moose (if Cricket has her way).


About Us

Brian, Sally and Cricket the cat sailing on our 41 foot Morgan Classic sailboat. In October 2011 we sold our house, quit our jobs and set out for Florida in search of a sailboat. We found her in Madeira Beach Florida. A 1987 41 foot Morgan Classic. Our plan is to sail for a couple of years. First to the Bahamas, after that...who knows.