Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Not So Common

We left the marina in North Palm beach on Saturday morning. A short backtrack to the Lake Worth inlet and we were again out on the ocean. Sails up and engines off we sailed north all day and rounded Cape Canaveral early (like 4 AM early) on Sunday morning. The forecast winds of 10 to 15 knots were about 25 knots, and the 2 foot seas were more 3 to 4 with an occasional 5 thrown in as we rounded the cape.  The NOAA weather radio channel reported winds at the Kennedy space center at 8 knots.  Guess they need a buoy out near where we were.  We arrived in Daytona and dropped the hook just off the ICW near downtown Daytona Beach. The next morning we made our way up the ICW and are back in Hammock Beach Marina to pick up our cars and plan our next leg of this northbound trek.

But that is not really the point of this post. The point is more observations I've made about this trip. First, I don't think I like traveling, at least on the ICW, on weekends. It seems that there are a lot of weekend warriors who come out to play.  These folks are typically in smaller boats with much larger engines and even larger stereos. Best I can tell, a good number of them have no idea of the right-of-way rules nor do they seem to possess basic self preservation instincts. It starts to feel like weekend sailing on the reservoirs back home, except here there are fewer people out checking on boater sobriety. Even if one didn't take boater education classes, one might think that a large boat with a tall stick is limited in its ability to maneuver when passing under a bridge or through a drawbridge. Or self preservation might kick in before zipping a wave runner just feet across our bow.  But I guess common sense and common courtesy just aren't that common.

We encountered a lot of these people out on the water in what could only be described as a makeshift demolition derby when we departed Palm Beach. Once on the outside, we fortunately only had to dodge all the fishing boats that seemed to be as thick as the mosquitoes on Elliott Key at dusk. I think there may have been some sort of fishing derby going on for we had never seen so many out at one time.  Fortunately they were far easier to avoid than the little power boats scurrying around in the channel.

Hours before passing by Cape Canaveral, the USCG came on the radio and warned of an 18 to 25 foot boat with outboard that was overturned and floating somewhere in the area.  Since we would be passing within a mile or so of the coordinates given, I ended up calling the Coast Guard to verify that I copied the coordinates correctly and asked if they had any updated information.  They did not.  We both kept an eye out for this mysterious overturned yet floating boat in the moonlight.  We also used our radar in hopes that enough of it might be sticking up to give us a ping if we got close.  Fortunately we never saw (or ran into) the boat.  I still wonder if it could have been a lost partier from one of those boats back in Lake Worth. Somehow a less-than-sober boater getting lost out on the cape or even just failing to properly tie up his boat at the end of the day didn't seem very far fetched. It is nice to know that the Coast Guard is doing its best to help keep us safe out on the water.

Coming into Daytona on Sunday was similar to the scene we left in Lake Worth.  I started to wonder if this is why there is so much contention between sail and power boaters.  To sailboats, power boats are like flies buzzing around your head, creating wakes that jostle the boat and seem to have no regard for anyone else.  Power boats probably see sailboats as nothing more than slow moving obstacles in their way. The power boats that I've found to be annoying are always the ones that have very big engines relative to their size and weight.  Trawlers and tugs generally seem to be more courteous and respectful.

Our last bad power boat encounter occurred just after we passed through Flagler Beach.  We looked back to see a power boat heading our way.  Actually, what we see is the bow of a boat and a large wave emanating from either side of the bow. Having just passed through the area, we know it was a no-wake zone to protect the manatee this time of year.  From a mile away we could clearly see the wake he was producing and knew he wasn't obeying the restriction.  As he got close, we slowed down and moved to the side in hopes he would slow down when passing us.  He did slow down a bit, but still sent our boat rocking as he passed.  And as soon as he was around us, he was back at full throttle, throwing waves of water over the shoreline and into people's yards.

When we arrived at the marina, we tried calling the staff on the radio but got no response.  Since we were familiar with the marina, we easily made our way to the pump out station.  As we were tying up, the assistant harbormaster stopped by and asked if we got the name of a boat that sped by a short time ago and sent a large wake through the marina damaging a couple boats (this was why she didn't answer...she was busy dealing with that mess).  Having recently left an impression on us, we knew the name of the boat she was looking for, the Scotsman.  They called the authorities, and last I know, they were trying to intercept this boat as it headed north. I hope they catch him.

I know this post has been a bit negative,but the trip in general has been far from it.  So, I'll leave you with some more images from the trip.

Tarpon Basin Anchorage

Cape Florida Lighthouse

The  southern Florida coastline

The space coast and VAB in the distance

No comments:

Post a Comment