Circumstances on the US East Coast during the past few months seemed to slow GB and me down every time we were keen to get moving. The very bad late-fall/early-winter weather on this side of the continent kept us from putting significant miles under our keel. Repeatedly.
After our Fort Pierce New Year's Fiasco, we once again dragged The Fox southbound along the Intracoastal Waterway to North Lake Worth/West Palm Beach, Florida. The final 11 miles of this schlep included having to wait for a total of 6 bascule bridges to open. Total time underway for those last 11 miles? Three and a half hours. I hate the ICW.
We arrived at the capacious North Lake Worth anchorage on January 4, a few days ahead of the dread Polar Vortex that enveloped most of the continental US. As the Vortex reached us we and the 40-some neighboring boats in the anchorage saw northerly winds in the 20-24 knot range, but our holding was good and the anchorage sufficiently protected that the choppy wind waves and spindrift were tolerable - as long as we all stayed aboard and avoided dinghy travel.
Our one problem was a brief one, that happened one evening about 6 pm.
We'd originally anchored in a nice spot that had about 8' total depth at low tide, but we had a wind shift coincide with the time of a high spring tide, which rotated and extended The Fox over a shallow uncharted ridge. The falling tide dropped The Fox onto a shoal and surprised us with a grinding thud. We immediately tried to get out of this hole using engine and anchor windlass, but we were truly stuck - at the bottom of a low spring tide. Fortunately, we were not in such shallow water that we listed. All we had to do was wait, semi-calmly, for the tide to reverse and give us enough water to get ourselves unstuck. That eventually took only about 2 hours, but it was a long 2 hours listening to the poor Fox's hull as it bumped and ground against the shoaly ridge.
As we waited for the incoming tide, the wind began to build. With much motivation and with about 2900 rpm on our faithful Yanmar diesel engine, and with GB hauling on the anchor windlass, The Fox broke free of (or was it, "through"?) the shoaly ridge. We were in deeper water in less than a boat length. Reanchoring (far away, in much deeper water) was uneventful.
Ah, Florida wintertime cruising.