A few weeks ago, one of our Facebook posts elicited a comment from a friend of mine from Auburn that said something like “Let me know if you come to West Palm Beach! We’d love to hang out and y’all are welcome to stay at the house.”. At the time, I thought we’d be in the Bahamas about now, so I didn’t think much of it.
But after leaving Lake Boca, that’s exactly what we did. Not before making the rookiest of mistakes first, however. We’d gotten to Lake Boca around 5:15pm the night before, so we had plenty of time to swim and snorkel in the amazingly clear water. Lake Boca is apparently a weekend hotspot with hundreds of boats hanging out on the sandbar.
We happened to hit it on a Tuesday, so we basically had the place to ourselves. After waking up Wednesday and taking an early morning swim, we put the floats & paddle board away just in time to raise the anchor and catch the 9am bridge opening.
Immediately after calling the bridge tender to let them know we’d be passing through, I put the boat in reverse to slow Selah down so we didn’t get to the bridge too soon.
And that’s when I heard the sound of a rope getting sucked into our prop. Oops. We’d apparently left both the ladder retrieval line and the floating swim safety line out, trailing behind the boat. Now they were wrapped around my prop.
Fortunately the current was pushing us away from the bridge and Allison was able to quickly drop the anchor. We let the bridge tender know that we’d be slightly delayed and see her at the 9:30, then I donned my mask & snorkel to jump overboard.
It took more dives than I’d like to admit, but I finally had all the line cut free and we were off to the races 20 minutes later. As much as it sucked, we were in the best possible conditions for such a thing to happen…the water was crystal clear and dead calm. I can’t imagine having to do that in open water. It definitely moved some sort of dive/hooka rig up my list of wants.
After 11 or so uneventful bridge passings, we made it to the West Palm Beach free dock, which is the coolest thing around. It’s a giant floating dock right in the middle of West Palm Beach. You’re technically not supposed to be tied up at the dock between midnight & 5am, but we managed to pull it off for one night without a problem.
There are a few full-time live-aboard sailors anchored near the dock who come and go as they please. Rumor is that if you abuse the free dock and overstay your welcome, one of the live-aboards will just untie your boat and let it float free into the bay. Thankfully we didn’t overstay our welcome.
We did, however, get to meet up with my friends Katie and Preston, and Preston’s sister Jordan. We had a great dinner at Rocco’s downtown…so fun to catch up and hang out!
Today’s Trip: Lake Boca Raton, Florida to West Palm Beach Free Dock, Florida 4 hours, 36 minutes underway. 22.77 nautical miles traveled @ 4.9 kts avg speed. 11 bascule bridges.
Voyage Total: Orange Beach, AL to Lake Boca Raton, Florida 143 hours, 54 minutes underway. 766.9 nautical miles traveled @ 5.3 kts avg speed. 6 travel days over a period of 40 days.