Home to North Palm Beach

Weird, something doesn’t seem right. I’m looking out the pilothouse windows first thing in the morning. The wind has continued to whistle all night and, and although I put out plenty of chain and the Rocna keeps us from budging an inch, we have swung wildly back and forth. I had set up a chartplotter to log our track and have zoomed into the closest view to keep an eye on our position. The track clearly shows our wanderings and also shows we had swung completely away from where we had been all night and were now facing the opposite direction. Worse, we weren’t moving around on the hook and we were sideways to the wind. The boat is still while the wind still blows at 15 knots. I’m thinking we have somehow drug anchor and are aground. Yet the depth sounder shows 4 feet under the keel. ??? Are we hung up on some obstacle? I fire up the sidescan sonar and it shows nothing on either side of the boat and plenty of water. I review C-map, Insight and NOAA charts on various devices aboard and all indicate we should be in deep water. We prep the boat for departure and I start the engine. Not wanting to put her in gear until we are moving and clearly not hung up on something I use the windlass to pull in some anchor chain. The boat freely moves forward and soon we have the anchor up and are motoring out of this location and toward the ICW. Apparently the incoming tide’s current was sufficient to perfectly counter the wind and hold us absolutely still. Haven’t seen that one before. Every day is a new day aboard Tivoli.

We get underway and have a lovely run past Vero Beach, Stuart, Jupiter and into North Palm Beach. This area is plenty deep, few hazards to speak of and only a handful of bridges to pass. The Jupiter Federal bridge is always fun, lots of traffic and incoming tide and currents to contend with. The Donald Ross bridge doesn’t need to open for us as there is plenty of clearance but there is a lineup of vessels waiting the pass so we take our place and wait for the convoy to proceed. Tons of boat traffic now. Plus, we get another show. Yesterday it was a kiteboarder showing off; today it was a guy flying around on a flyboard. Deanna took an iPhone video, watch for the flip at the end. Steep learning curve?


We are all headed for the PGA bridge and line up to wait about 10 minutes for it to open. 10 minutes seems like a short time but when you are trying to hold position in wind and current it can seem like an hour. I use the autopilot’s followup lever to manage the rudder and keep the boat in one place but the wind and current are pushing us west closer to boats tied up on the piers lining this part of the waterway. I’m in reverse to stop our forward motion but that tends to turn the boat, shift the rudder to the appropriate side and bump forward to move the stern, that moves the boat forward, back into reverse to stop forward motion, and so on. I’m getting too close to the trawler in front of us so I radio him and he kindly moves forward. Finally, the bridge is opening not a second too soon and we pass through. 15 minutes down the road is the final opening bridge for us today; the Parker bridge. I think the crowd learned from the jam up at the PGA bridge and we all gave ourselves much more room to maneuver while waiting. It opens, we pass through, and head down the ICW until we turn into the channel leading into Old Port Cove marina. In spite of the wind we manage to dock without any blood loss.

We are “home”.

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