Saturday, December 1, 2012

At Sea (the ICW) All Day - December 1st

There is nothing quite like waking to the sound of the bow thrusters grinding away in one's ears to know you're at sea (well actually, on the way to the sea).  No need for an alarm clock these days.  The sun was still making its way skyward when Serenity's lines were cast off and we were headed southbound, destination Melbourne area.  We had a very long day ahead of us, hence the early departure.  We were underway so long that we saw several complete changes in the weather - bright sun to overcast skies, driving rain, brisk winds, whitecaps, glorious sun, flat water, winds gusting to 20 knots, dead calm, etc.  As I write this, the seas are calm, but the wind is still blowing at 15 knots.  We're watching the football game after feasting on a fabulous dinner, so who cares about the wind?

We had an amusing situation at Haulover Canal Bridge, near the Kennedy Space Center this morning.  Amusing now, infuriating then.  We asked the bridge tender (a droll sounding woman) for a "lift".  She argued that her bridge clearance was 27 feet and the way she could see it, our boat "didn't need all that there clearance".  She added insult to injury by asking for our name, hailing port and ship's documentation number.  This was all going on while we were practically at a standstill, with other boats coming up behind us.  We finally (strained though politely) asked her to open the bridge since the "owner" would be pretty upset if we dinged up his communications dome.  She finally caved and opened the dammed bridge.  Too bad we had such a frustrating experience since the area was really scenic.
The infamous bridge finally opens for us....
Underway again, we chuckled about the woman's state of mind and wondered why anyone whose job it is to raise bridges gets into a snit when asked to do so.  Just open the stupid bridge for heaven's sake we chorused more than once.

Since today was one of leisure (for those not running the boat), we kind of hung out and chatted.  I got my Christmas cards written, addressed and stamped, finished the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle, arranged for various people to come by the boat on Monday and booked our return flight home on Tuesday.  Hold your hats, but I made the "crew" breakfast AND lunch as well as an afternoon snack.  Don't know what gets into me on this boat, but I did have enough wits to let the captain know that this activity was short lived and found ONLY on Serenity.  Just in case he was getting any ideas about this domestic streak in me.

Even I have to admit that the ICW is a rather boring, water-filled ditch.  Looks like the power company decided to add some character to the waterway by installing their power cables right smack in the middle of the channel.  Since there is very little water on either side of the marked channel, going around these babies was quite tense and annoying.  Must be a PITA when it's time to make repairs or handle a complaint!  LOL

Once around the cables, I no sooner got into the helm chair when we abruptly ran out of water (as they say).  The depth sounder was recording less than 2 feet under the keel causing the captain to change 50 shades of gray.  Needless to say, I was practically lifted out of the chair by a rather pale captain.  The rest of the trip was uneventful until we were getting ready to transit a fixed bridge (50 ft. clearance so no need to open).  Another boat was on our starboard side coming up quickly.  Since we both couldn't go under the center span of the bridge at the same time, one of us had to yield to the other.  As the boat came alongside, the operator motioned that his radio was not working and off he went.  We resisted the urge to offer him a salute, but instead maintained our boating manners.  Very difficult.  As we found out later while approaching another bridge, his radio worked just fine, he was just being a wise guy.  Probably from Long Island and one of our neighbors at that!

We decided to forgo the insanity of an early morning departure from the marina and anchor out instead.  We picked a spot about 8 miles south of Melbourne where there was plenty of room and plenty of water (well over 7 feet under the keel).  Those kinds of numbers keep the captain in a good mood.
We dropped the "hook" just after 4, tidied up the boat and headed to the back porch for cocktails and snacks.  What perfect timing!

The crew can finally relax with some good wine, cheese and other tasty tidbits.

Not only were we in time for sunset, but were treated to a beautiful rainbow as well.  It was as if nature was welcoming Serenity's decision to join her.
Sunset was no less spectacular!

What a way to end a perfect day!
Every day aboard Serenity ends like this (even if it happens to be cloudy).  For those of you who have lusted after waterfront property, there is absolutely NOTHING like 'on the water" property.  We have another long day ahead of us tomorrow, but at the end of tomorrow's trip, we'll be pulling into slip B21 at Sunset Bay Marina, Serenity's home away from home for the winter - and our winter getaway!

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