Picture Post: Our First Ocean Jaunt

Once we left Vero, it was on like Donkey Kong!  We made our way to Lake Worth, having to deal with 7 draw bridges all in one day!  Seven bridges that have to open when you call them or that open at specific times and you have to time it right!  For me, the bridges weren’t the problem (easy to say as JR is the primary driver) but some of the power boaters were *ssholes!  I’m quite sure they wake you as close as possible just for the fun of it, like, for real.  Once we found a spot in the North Lake Worth anchorage, the crowdedest anchorage we have encountered so far, we started thinking about the rest of our days…

We read in multiple sources that the ICW run from Lake Worth to Ft. Lauderdale shouldn’t be done on a weekend because of the amount of pleasure boaters and the reverberation from their wakes, so we wrote off Sunday.  But we also counted the number of bridges between here and there: 21!  Twenty-one bridges to call and coordinate with.  Hmmmm…  Although we had kinda’ decided to “do” the ICW all the way through, we both had been wondering if we should give ourselves a little taste of ocean going before our BIG crossing.  The meanie-head power boaters mixed with the 10 gazillion bridges, seemed like the perfect reasons to bail on our trusted, reliable friend, the ICW.  Also, Lake Worth and Ft. Lauderdale have “Class A” inlets, which means the inlets are big old shipping channels and very easy to navigate, albeit busy, for baby cruisers like us!  So, we kept our eye on the weather for a few days and finally decided to go for it!

Heading out of the inlet, we decided to start a few ocean voyaging traditions…  I recently read a post on my Women Who Sail Facebook Page about people and their superstitions, and I thought it would be fun to start a few of our own.

  • JR wears his Thalassa racing hat.  Thalassa is a sea goddess and it was the name of the boat JR raced on last summer in Nap-town.  He learned a lot, so we decided her presence would be a good thing in the ocean.
  • I put on perfume and braided my hair.  Why?  The yummy smell calmed me and my hair was out of my face.  Both good things on the ocean :)
  • Poured a little rum into the inlet.  For all our homies who have been lost at sea and a little treat for the sea itself.
  • Locked the cat down below.  That one was just for safety.  He was not happy about it.
  • Dark and Stormies once anchor was set.

New traditions attended to, we headed into the ocean.  Surprisingly, for us this day was a lot like sailing on the Chespeake Bay.  Although we never let our guard down, I was kinda’ like, “That’s it?”  We got both sails up almost immediately which made my sea god (JR) very happy.  The wind was WSW and varied from about 8-12 knots and started gusting on our way in at about 15 knots.  It was a really nice sail.  Our timing was a little off because we wanted so badly to sail, we sailed for a good while, ignoring our GPS and iPad telling us we’d arrive to Ft. Lauderdale at 6:00 pm (after dark.)  We thought, “Ahhhh, we can make the time up later!”  We did, but we cut it a little close.  In the end it was OK.

Our sail, parallel to shore, was pretty uneventful.  We saw a crazy flying fish, which made Sea Major’s ocean blog posts about flying fish a bit more relevant.  We also passed through a commercial anchorage, which was weird, and we saw FOUR cruise ships leaving from Ft. Lauderdale as we were heading in.  We got in two little bickers because our sailing communication is a bit rusty, but when you live on a 35 foot boat, you can’t hold a grudge, so they passed quickly :)

By the end, we were tired.  We had been out for about 10 hours, 9 of that in the ocean, and the sun was setting.  We made it safely in to Ft. Lauderdale just in time to see the 17th Street draw bridge CLOSING from it’s 5:30 opening.  We were like, “Dang.”  The little intersection of channels there is so small and busy, we had no idea how we were going to kill 30 minutes putting around.  Sigh.  That’s when JR asked about the bridge clearance.  I was like, “Duh.”  I checked the charts and he called the bridge.  It was 58’.  Journey’s mast is a little under 50’!  Score.  Add that to the list of reasons that I (we) LOVE our boat.  So we scooted under and took in the ridiculous sights of Ft. Lauderdale.  These folks are the 1%.  No doubt about it.

Our intention was to anchor in Lake Sylvia.  It had a write up in Skipper Bob, and it was on our paper charts, but when we got there it looked SKETCHY!  The depths were uber-shallow and everything said hug the east side, but it was scary.  We went passed it and circled up and around to gather our thoughts.  Then we saw some moorings but realized they were the $45/night moorings we had read about (remember, Vero was $13.90/night!)  That shock helped us muster up the courage to try Lake Sylvia.  We have learned that when in doubt, go really, really slow, so we putted in super slow and super close to the shore.  There were some folks sitting out and drinking wine and, as Chip said, we absolutely could have slapped ‘em “high fives!”

We came into a very crowded Lake Sylvia at dusk dropped the hook and drank our Dark and Stormies.  We did OK!

Here are some pics of the trip.  Click ‘em for more ramblings and a slide show :)


  1. Two things …
    1. We love the picture of Leo.
    2. The ‘pouring rum overboard at the inlets’ tradition must be stopped. Don’t waste the rum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. WhooHoo. First time is always a great feeling! Glad it went smooth. Your making great headway! Love your tradition but ration that rum! LOL looking forward to the next great adventure!

  3. I second the power boaters being *ssholes. Yesterday we had a guy going through the ICW at least 30 knots literally 10ft from our boat. Our generally calm day turned into 6 ft seas because of him. My biggest complaint is that there is generally NO reason for it! It wasn’t even a narrow part of the channel! Glad to hear your first ocean voyage went well!

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