Friday, July 07, 2006
Random Thoughts at 4:30 AM in Venice, FL
Weather Radio- You've heard me complain about NOAA before in this blog. This isn't really a complaint it is just a clarification. When you listen to the radio and they say, "Friday - winds south-west at 10 knots" what you don't know is WHEN on Friday. We were going to make an outside run from Venice to Charlotte Harbor today. To do so we want to leave at first light so as to get there before (hopefully) the pm thunderstorms. So I'm up at 4:30 making coffee and futzing with the boat. The wind is pretty strong and it is definitely NOT south west. It is South. Of course it is barely Friday! So sometime today the wind MIGHT shift to the south west but when? We need to run SSE to charlotte Harbor and need all the west we can get out of that wind. And, what do they mean by south-west? The wind could just be a litte west of south and that's not good enough. If I wait for the wind to spin around I'll be leaving later than I'd like. So, like the day before we will take the inside option. If I think I'm going to end up grinding my engine down the Atlantic Ocean in 2-3 foot seas I figure I might as well grind the engine in flat water on the intercoastal. The good thing about the Intercoastal is that you get this option. There are not many inlets along this coast so on the ouside you end up jumping past some very nice anchorages. The downside is that motoring down a straightaway gets a little tedious but our run will be only 17 miles to get to Englewood Beach and a supposedly fine anchorage. The other down side is bridges. We negotiated 4 bridges yesterday. The fourth one comes with about a knot current taking me toward the bridge. In those cases you really want the bridge to open! As I slowly approached the bridge having already talked with the bridge tender, she calls me back on the radio: "Enee Marie? I have a problem." I don't want to hear this. REVERSE! Now it's not that I can't turn around and buck a 1 knot current. It's just that it is so shallow off of the main trench that you are unsure which way to turn. As it turned out her 'problem' went away quickly before I even considered turning and we passed through ok.
Dolphins - Two interesting dolphin sightings yesterday. (Dolphins are getting as common as pigeons for us but they always still draw our attention because they are just so amazing.) First, while on the move yesterday an adult and a young dolphin were swimming parallel with us. The young one suddenly jumped completely out of the water continuing parallel with it and turned a little sideways as it to give us a better look. Nice. Secondly, last night I was sitting on the boat just staring at the water (I do a lot of that but this time I wasn't drooling.) and about 4 or 5 dolphins began swimming right there. The were huffing loudly but even more interesting is that they would roll up on the water like dolphins do and then smack their tails on the water. It sounded like Elizabeth Taylor doing a cannonball from the high dive! I'm not sure what this behavior is. Herding fish toward each other perhaps?
Weather - Hot. No really it's real HOT. Actually it gets hotter in Chicago often but the sun and the humidity just make it very intense. This is not a great time of year to be cruising this coast but I don't really know about other times of year here. I do know that winds are typically light and there is clouding and rain/thunderstorms somewhere on the west coast everyday. The storms we have been in on anchor can be a little intense but short lived. I'm curious to see how this pattern changes, if it does, as we continue south.
Plans - Plans come in a variety of sizes.
Small: There is what do you want to do tomorrow? Go or stay? Inside our outside? Check tides. Check weather.
Medium: We're heading south...where to? Key West? Dry Tortugas? Both? Which one first?
Large: Stay in Florida waters for all of huricane season? Head out to the Bahamas for some of it? Come December, head for the islands? Invade Cuba?
It was actually easier for the first year. All we had to do was keep heading south until we got to Key West! We are thinking of finding a place for the boat for ~Oct 20 through end of November while we come up north for the Chicago Marathon followed by Thanksgiving. Maybe have her hauled back in Ft. Lauderdale while we are away. The neat thing about plans is that they slowly (like everything else with sailing) emerge and mutate.
Well, sun is up and Sue is making breakfast. Onward...