Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Estes Park, Colorado
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Tampa to Newport 2nd installment
Left Rodriguez key on 6/1. Our idea was to proceed outside until we could get north of the Fla. Georgia border. However. the confluence of the Gulf Stream and a steady dead north breeze provided a very lumpy sea which impeded progress so much that we pulled into Port Everglades to get onto the ICW. However along the way we did manage to have a great time catching a 25 lb. Albacore (which made great eating) and several Doradoes/Dolphins which we also ate forthwith. Gulf Stream was elusive. I was looking for a 3K boost about 10 miles off the east side of the keys. We didn't get it. In fact we caught an eddy which made for rough going.
Entrance to Port Everglades is straightforward. However..be aware that this is a major port of entry for every description of very large ship. None of which can slow down in less than 10 miles. They are met by at least 2 tugs and a pilot about 1 mile out. Stay out of the way! Once away from the port area and onto the ICW prepare yourselves for Bridge Roulette. Actually it isn't as bad as I thought it would be. We had armed ourselves with the most up to date edition of "The Intracoastal WaterwaY Chartbook Norfolk to Miami"
(McGraw Hill/International Marine) Bridge info is excellent but don't stop here! You need to get to Notices for Mariners to find the absolute best info on recent changes. These 2 sources plus an uptodate issue of Captain John's presentation of waterway resources will do well for most of your research. Supplement this with local knowledge and radio reports from boats travelling in the opposite direction and you'll be in good shape. My comment on the bridge tenders is that they are experts at what they do. Be polite. Give the tenders information on your intentions early as possible ( I use about a mile in front) Don't go charging up to the bridge and expect it will open for you) Be aware of on coming traffic. Try to go through the center of the opening because current/tidal/Propwash swirl can shove you around when you don't need it. We found that the height guages on fixed bridges which show level of bridge base above water are (with a couple of exceptions) very accurate IF YOU CAN READ THEM at a reasonable distance and IF THEY HAVE NOT BEEN REMOVED! Yes some are missing and some are so old and dirty that you can't read them. With 63.5' to masthead we had to be very careful. Yes the antennas pinged on at least 6 or 7 of the fixed bridges on the way North. Exciting to say the least.
Next installment in a couple of days. Also some neat photos.
Bye for now .... JCD