36 Bridges

Posted by Tni Newhoff on Thursday, December 21st, 2006 at 10:05 am
Position: 25.770 by -80.140 map

I am happy to report that we finally left West Palm Beach! As much as we enjoyed our little marina, it was nice to hit the water. Mary joined us on Saturday and we spent a few days showing her West Palm, but once we realized that we were not going to get the weather window we had hoped for to be able to head to the Bahamas, we decided to create our own destiny and good foot it down the ICW (intercoastal waterway) to Miami. The entire trip to Miami took 12 hours which we broke up into two days. In total we experienced 36 bridges! This is no joke, there was literally a bridge about every 30 minutes or so. You’ll get a taste for the bridge opening process from our photos below. It’s actually quite fun seeing all of the different bridges, calling in and requesting an opening and waving to all of the the bridge operators. You also start to recognize the different boats b/c all bridge activity happens on channel 9 on the VHF so you hear everyone and where they are. Our favorite was La Maison Blanc who became quite frustrated with an operator who must have stepped off for a bathroom break. We were very lucky in our timing on the Ft. Lauderdale leg but not quite as lucky on our way to Miami and once had to wait over an hour while they did maintenance on a bridge. We had quite a scare with one of the last bridges upon entering Miami. Our chart listed out all of the bridges with their opening times and height clearance. Well the clearance of this one fixed bridge was 53′ with our mast height being 48′. We should have had 5 feet of clearance (which isn’t much) but with tide we probably had even less. To say that our stomachs dropped to our feet would be an understatement. We all just stared above sure that our mast was going to hit. The experience left us speechless for a good 5 minutes…crazy! Anyhow, the journey down the ICW was fun, a bit like a ride through Disneyland. The sites were interesting…everything from mega-yachts to condos with shuffleboard.

We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around 2PM on Monday and anchored in Lake Sylvia. For our first time anchoring together we did a pretty good job! (You should know that anchoring is the source of many an argument between couples in the cruising community). The following morning, we headed to Miami and spent a few days in the Miami Beach Marina. The marina cost a ridiculous fortune but it was good to spend our last few days in the states with all the marina amenities while we finished our remaining tasks and provisioned one last time. I’ll have to devote one entire blog to my experience with provisioning over the past two months. I realize that this may seem to be a completely mundane subject but I assure you, I’ll make it fascinating!


One Response to “36 Bridges”

    Oh my gosh! I just saw some crazy shark pictures!! What were you feeding them?
    You guys both look so happy in your pictures! I can’t wait to come visit!
    Thanks for keeping us updated!

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