We made ourselves leave Stuart, Florida, and that is a very difficult task to do! Down the ICW we went for two days to West Palm Beach, Florida. The ICW is a real dream as it is calm, easy, and very safe. Our first night we dropped the anchor where we usually do, at the south end of Hobe Sound right off Tiger Woods’ home. No call from Tiger, so we did not stop in. We simply enjoyed our first night on anchor since Nov 15th and it was now Jan 10th! Our boat was running great, which is always a concern after a yacht sits because the best thing for any boat is to keep it moving and to push it hard. Island Spirit was back in action with all systems running well.
Arriving West Palm Beach, the 1%er area
We are always amazed at the enormous wealth of so many people as we arrive in the West Palm Beach area. Massive waterfront homes have even larger yachts that block the view from the house. These houses are probably second or third homes. The owners might only be here a few weeks a year. The rest of the time, the landscapers and property manager all take care of the estate.
Yup, that is how the Billionaires roll with mega yachts, massive homes, tax write-offs, and wealth that they can’t even begin to spend. Steve Wynn is worth 3 billion dollars and his yacht only cost him 215 million dollars. So let’s move some decimals around. $3,000,000,000 vs $215,000,000, what is that like to a normal person? Take off 5 zeros and you have $30,000 vs $2,150. So a person worth $30K buys a used car for $2K. Or a person worth $300K buys a $21K car. NOT a big deal, right? It is all numbers. The super-rich should have much bigger toys, don’t you think?
Anchored in West Palm Beach, FL
We stopped in West Palm to hire a diver who would clean our prop and bottom before sailing off to Miami and then to the Bahamas. We had been sitting in Stuart for 2 months, so we expected the bottom to be dirty. The public dock at WPB is perfect for this. The diver walked down the dock, jumped in and an hour later he was finished. We left the dock to anchor out. What a great public day dock this is.
Martha and Robert connect
Boat Buddies from Massachusetts spend the winter in WPB and they drove over to the harbor to visit with us for the evening. Martha and Robert sail Island Packet 420 ENTROPY. Professor Rose is a Materials and Engineering Science expert at MIT. What an interesting couple and what lively conversations we always have, whenever and wherever we connect.
OH NO, We Found the OYSTER BAY
We were anchored a few days in West Palm with the winds blowing from the east the entire time. Of course, we were waiting for the front to arrive so we could sail south on the new wind from the Northwest. Well, that wind shift combined perfectly with the morning tidal change and poor Island Spirit spun 180 degrees around on her anchor and was pushed aground onto the well known OYSTER BAR. This shallow area is right off the Henry Flagler Museum home that we toured the day before and now we were nearly inside the building. This was the oddest experience as it was 0600 with the engine running, ready to pull up anchor and head out. Depth was showing 7 feet. Then all of a sudden, the new winds arrived and we swung 180 degrees on our anchor and onto this bar. When 20,000 lbs are moving sideways and slide onto a ledge that is sloped perfectly to let the boat lay over, it all happens very quickly. I nearly fell off as I was standing on the deck, wiping down the windshield and next we were leaning over 45 degrees. The side deck was nearly in the water. Here are a few photos.
TowBoatUS to the rescue
We have paid for unlimited towing with TowBoat US for 18 years. This is the second time we have called for a tow. They knew the spot well, they told us to wait for the tide, but they would come out and see what they could do. With 600 hp they tried to budge us, but we would not move. Good thing as we were on hard surfaces. So they hooked up to our bow and they ran the engines “dredging” us out as the prop wash pushed material away from our bow. With my 55 lb Rocna and our strong Lofrans windlass, we tried to kedge and be pulled free. Not working. So, we agreed to simply wait. Deep water was 15 feet in front of us, 1/2 a boat length, but 20,000 lbs was aground. So we waited.
How did this happen?
We had East winds for days and all was fine, with the boat west of her anchor. That morning, new NW winds came in so the boat swung to the EAST and laid right up onto the bar. Now I see and it all makes sense to me. Mitzi and Alane of the IP38 formerly named Holiday met us on the dock and warned us about that area, but we thought we were fine. The frustrating aspect is a local boat knew this would happen and said nothing UNTIL we were on the bar, THEN they dinghied over and said, “we wanted to warn you…but….” Oh well!
Free at Last, Off to Miami
Once we were pulled off the bar around noon, we moved down to the Lake Worth Inlet and decided that it was too late to set sail. So we dropped the anchor at the inlet and relaxed. We needed to start up the watermaker and this was a great place to do that. The next day we set sail for sea and made it to Miami and south to Biscayne Bay for sunset. Of course, we entered Government Cut at 1700 right when the cruise ships were coming out, how exciting. Then we passed a container ship and went into the ICW. After turning south passing Brickell Point, then motoring under the Rickenbacker Bridge , it was WELCOME to Biscayne Bay! Anchor down, we watched the city lights come on and popped the bubbly. This is one of our happy places!.