As we left Del Ray Beach early on Friday 14 November, we knew we were in for a frustrating day with timed bridges and lots of traffic. But the scenery was well worth the delay. Fort Lauderdale and Miami contain some of the most oppulent homes and yachts on the ICW. Again, the number of "for sale" signs gave credence to the tough economic times ahead. The weather had been cooperating inside, and a glimpse of the Atlantic conditions from the occasional inlet, confirmed that our outside runs were not going to be wise. That would be until we run out of water in the lower Biscayne and needed to cross over to the hawk channel that runs south of the Keys. On Friday evening we anchored off Sand Key in the lower Biscayne Bay with no more bridges ahead. The night was graced by a full moon, placid water and just an occasional puff of breeze. This is what a Florida winter is all about.
Our departure from the anchorage was later than usual so that we could catch the high water passage of Angelfish Cut from the bay to the channel outside. We had used this cut before on the way to Bimini and although tight it was well marked and an easy passage at half tide. By 0900 we had cleared the last marker and were headed down the line on the chart that marks the inside channel between the Keys and the reef that runs parallel to seaward. We even had sporadic coverage on TV of the Navy-Notre Dame game. This was our fourteenth day out of Solomons and we had hoped to arrive at the Boca Chica Marina on this date. All said, we had made excellent progress and enjoyed some remarkable good weather luck in the choices of in and outside passage as well as the choice of anchorage or marina for the night.
Our decision for the night was an anchorage off Boot Key (Marathon) and we set the hook just at sunset. Everything was peaceful and quiet until about midnight when a fast cold front descended from the north. Winds quickly rose to 30 knots and a few more fathoms of chain were called for on the anchor. The rest of the night was miserable because the wind quickly kicked up waves and we knew we still had a half day in the trough to reach our destination. To add to the discomfort, the generator lost the raw water impeller and had to be shut down. Fortunately, the batteries were topped up and as soon as we were on the engine, all the electrical requirements were covered.
Sunday saw a noon arrival at the well protected marina that would be our home for the next month. After a quick stop at the pumpout station, we made our way over to slip A29. That evening the traditional Sunday potluck, gave us a chance to meet some of the 40 new and old friends over dinner.