Cruising with Soggy Paws
Soggy Paws is a 44' CSY Sailboat. In 2007, we set sail on a 10 year around the world cruise.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
20 Bridges! (West Palm to Ft. Lauderdale)
We got up at 6:45 today, with plans to get the anchor up and be underway by 7:30. We had a long way to go, 20 bridges with restricted openings to negotiate, and we wanted to get there mid-afternoon to try to get a crack a mooring at Las Olas.

Everything went smoothly except the one bridge a little south of West Palm--we were about 2 minutes late getting there for the scheduled opening. There was another boat with us. There were no other boats waiting. There was very little traffic on the bridge. The bridge tender called us at xx:01 and says "It's 1 minute after the scheduled opening time and you are not close enough yet, you'll have to wait til the next scheduled opening." That guy must have been on a HUGE power trip. I STILL cannot believe he wouldn't open for us at xx:02. But that was the only asshole of the day. Even the bridges in downtown Ft. Lauderdale were courteous and professional, and at least once, held the bridge a little for us to be able to get through.

We had called ahead about moorings and found out they were charging $30 per day (!!). That's a lot for us homeless cruisers. We had also called the SSCA office and found someone familiar with the Lake Sylvia anchorage. They gave us a few hints on how to get in (hug the east seawall until all the way in--to the end of the pilings--and then proceed cautiously). We almost ran aground going in because we didn't follow directions to the letter, but a homeowner hollered at us and we avoided the one shoal spot. We anchored in about 10' of water and had a nice nite. There's a little raw bar on the south side of the Bahia Mar basin that has a dock and didn't seem to mind that we left our dinghy there for a few hours (we did stop and have a drink).

We had a nice evening with some of Dave's CSY friends, and then brought them out to Soggy Paws to cut a hole in the floor. (Dave's friend Steve had a special saw). Dave is trying to get into a bilge area to reroute some pipes. After a good dinner and a couple of glasses of wine, the lines weren't too straight, but it's not in an area that is visible to most people (unless you have your head under the nav station!).

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Monday, May 28, 2007
Wifi on the Fly
Sitting in Old Port Cove playing with wifi. (and still learning)

The laptop built-in wifi is unable to connect with any signal, but using the little Engenius EUB-362 EXT, and a tiny $15 omni antenna, a wifi scan shows about 15 access points, about half of them unencrypted. There is one commercial operation--the strongest signal. But they want $15 a day to use their wifi. I can connect pretty easily with 2 of the next strongest signals that are unencrypted, for free. Access is pretty steady, though occasionally I lose the link as we swing (not sure why, exactly...maybe
the mast gets in the way?) Since I'm not sure where the access point is, it's hard to speculate.

While we were motoring down the waterway yesterday, I spent an hour playing with the EUB-362, and was able to actually pick up signals on the fly as we went by more populated areas. I had to be pretty quick, though. The signals faded pretty quickly as we went by, and it takes about 30 seconds to connect. And I'm collecting my AOL email via Outlook and it's kind of a pig. I'd have trouble getting a completed send/receive on email (checking about 4 different mailboxes these days!). Dave even offered
to slow down the next time I got a good signal. What a good guy.

I was fooling with the settings on our 'Big Gun' wifi setup (the EOC-3220) night before last and managed to change a setting on the configuration, that shut down my access to it. This morning I figured out how to do a factory reset on it (thanks to notes from a friend who had done the same thing). But it doesn't seem to be necessary to use that much power in here and I can use the little guy without needing to turn the inverter on.

I highly recommend the EUB-362 for a simple solution for mobile people looking for a little more boost to their signal. See the Electronics page on the website for links on where you can get one.

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Old Port Cove, North Palm Beach
We are sitting anchored in Old Port Cove, a nice lagoon lined by ritzy houses and condos at the north end of Lake Worth, in North Palm Beach.

We decided to take a lay day to let Memorial Day go by and wait to travel the West Palm to Lauderdale run when most of the crazies are back at work.

Rumour has it that this yacht belongs to Jack Nicklaus. And left, a photo of Dave fixing the windlass control cable.

Yesterday we did 11 bridges, 7 of them drawbridges, and 4 fixed bridges. The fixed bridges are easy for most people, but we have such a tall mast that we have to make sure no big wakes are going by when we go thru, and then inch up and go thru slowly. It's impossible to tell from deck level whether you're going to clear. (and I don't trust the posted height boards). Most of the bridges we went thru yesterday were over 65'. (in Melbourne they are 63-64', which is close enough to make our VHF
antenna hit). The draw bridges were not too bad except when we got near Palm Beach, they were all on a schedule, and we had to keep pushing to make the next opening.

We went hard aground once... 6 feet inside the channel marker in Jupiter Inlet. I thought we were never going to get off... the current was wicked and pushing us on, as was the wind. But Dave just assessed the situation and decided to try blasting off first. We were successful in inching off without any assistance.

We also had to shut down the engine once. One of the injector connectors was leaking fuel. Dave insisted we had to shut down RIGHT NOW and fix it. We were in a narrow part of the waterway--no anchoring room. So we inched over to the side, threw our anchor over in 5', and sort of lay ahull along the bank while Dave made the repair. He was done in 10 minutes and we were only a little aground, so it wasn't hard to get moving again.

The wind forecast is still indicating stiff Easterlies for the next few days. We'd hoped to be able to go outside and do some sailing ... at Ft. Pierce ... then at West Palm. But we aren't really ready for 6-8' seas on the beam (too much stuff unstowed). Now our latest plan is to motor down to Ft. Lauderdale on the inside tomorrow and then see what it looks like. We have to go outside around Miami anyway, so if it is still blowing like stink on Wed, we'll pop back in at Miami and go down Biscayne Bay to Pumpkin Key. There we can pop out at Angelfish Creek and be behind the reef and heading SW away from the wind. So we estimate ETA Marathon about Thursday at the earliest.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007
Down the ICW on Memorial Weekend
What were we thinking??

It's bad enough going down the Waterway on a normal weekend, but it seems that Memorial weekend has brought out all of boating's best and brightest. It warmed my heart to see the Marine Patrol handing out a ticket to a power boat that was blatantly ignoring the 'no wake' signs.

Someone in America is making some money, for all these powerboats to be cruising up and down the waterway at 'max fuel burn' speed.

Well, we had a nice evening on the hook at Marker 21. The last time we'll be doing THAT for awhile (snif). Sorry we missed TGIF at MYC, but we just needed to get going.

Tonight's stop is a wide spot in the ICW about 10 miles south of Ft. Pierce then on to West Palm tomorrow.

The boat's working pretty well. The autopilot and refrigeration are working well. The anchor windlass isn't... an electrical problem in the remote control. It still works manually. Dave spent an hour today troubleshooting and repaired one break in the wire. Still didn't fix it. So we'll use the old-fashioned manual windlass and repair it properly when we get to Marathon.

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Friday, May 25, 2007
Gone!
As of 3pm, we are outta here!
Marker 21 or Sebastian tonight.

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