9th - 18th Dec 2011 - Arrival in Florida

Sun 18 Dec 2011 00:30
After a fairly lively two and a half day sail down to Fort Pierce in Florida, we made landfall just before dusk and headed for the designated anchorage  as annotated in the pilot book!  We arrived at the anchorage only to find the depth of water was not as stated and thus too shallow for both ourselves and Scott Free.  For the next 2 hours we scoured the area to find something suitable.  Chris and I conversed on numerous occasions on the VHF and we eventually we both agreed that it looked safe to drop the anchor just off the main channel, nearby the coastguard station.  Although this was not a designated anchorage, we both found a good spot and it was not long before we went below for a good night’s sleep.
We remained at anchor the next day, as we planned to leave at first light the following morning for West Palm Beach.  However, the rollers coming out of the outlet were quite steep and the easterly winds had built up the seas to 10ft.  As our trip involved heading just off the wind, it would be a fairly uncomfortable ride down the coast, so we decided to abandon the trip and headed back into Fort Pierce.
This turned out to be a good move as we decided to have a few nights in the Harbourview marina, whilst waiting for some heavy weather to pass through.  We ended up staying 3 lovely nights in the marina and Chris and I were happy at being able to catch up with the laundry and shopping.
Rainbow, after heavy storm and Scott Free in the Fort Pierce anchorage (we’re just behind)
The outlet breakwater at Fort Pierce
Once the weather had settled down enough for us to leave, we decided to get some miles under us and headed the 90 miles down to Fort Lauderdale.  The whole trip took nearly 24 hours due to the strength of the opposing Gulf Stream current.  At times we were sailing into a 2.5/3.0 knot current and going further inshore didn’t appear to help either!  Anyway it would be too risky getting any closer as we were already on a lee shore!
We arrived into Fort Lauderdale in the early hours the following day, along with a convoy of cruise ships!   After negotiating a couple of opening bridges, we headed for slip C30 at Las Olas marina, where Sandy and Brian on Moonshaddow Star were waiting for us.
Arriving at Fort Lauderdale with one of the many cruise ships.  Waiting for the SE 17th Street bridge to open.
One the main jobs we needed to sort out was our wind instrument, which had failed us since leaving Beaufort.  We arranged to meet up with the B&G Agent, who handed us a complete new instrument (won’t mention the price- but expensive!)
Michael going up the mast to install the new wind instrument; shown (right) in this photo.
Las Olas bridge situated right next to the marina
The marina office and one the many palm tree laden sidewalks