Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 27, 2014 Off to Ft Pierce

We are definitely in retirement mode.  We can’t seem to pull up our anchor before 10:00.  Today while eating breakfast, we watched a huge yacht come into Lake Worth with a pilot boat navigating them through the deeper water.  It looked like there were just a few crew on board.  They had a yellow flag flying.  That is the quarantine flag that boats have to fly until they clear customs.  Only the captain is allowed to go to shore with the appropriate paper work.  I guess this was their first port entering the US.  The owner probably wasn't even on board.  They probably flew back to the US.  We have owned a yellow flag for many years just for that purpose.  But we missed our opportunity to use it in the Bahamas.  We’ll just have to wait until after hurricane season.

We headed out onto the ocean today.  We went out the Palm Beach inlet with very little traffic this morning.  The water was a little more rough with 2-4 ft swells, but not bad.  We generally go off shore about 3 miles.  Then you usually miss underwater hazards and a lot of traffic of smaller boats.
When studying for boat licenses, you learn about how to use the VHF radio.  I have a cheat sheet for May Day, if our boat is going down, I won’t remember the proper protocol.   We say May Day, but it has a french origin, M’aider, which means “help me or aid me”.   Pan-Pan is used if there is a danger in the area that any boat may need to assist if they are in that area, like man over board, trouble with maneuvering a boat (engine or captain problems). Securite’ is used mostly by the coast guard to warn you of a hazard in the water or sudden change of weather.

Today we listened to a pan-pan for about 30 minutes that really should have been may day.  About 11:15 we heard the coast guard announce pan-pan.  A boat was taking on water and they gave the location by latitude and longitude.  They were further south and east of us (further off shore).  I keep a pen and paper in my pocket while we are on the move.  I make notes of time, weather, conditions, periodically our location, etc for our log book.  But I can also write down the location of a distress call in case we can be of assistance.  Or if someone’s transmission is not being heard by the coast guard, we are obligated to try to pass on the message for them. 

We could hear the USCG asking location, how many people on board, whether they had life jackets on, name of vessel (Dr’s Orders).  But we couldn’t hear their transmission.  Pretty soon Tow Boat US and the Navy were all involved.  2 people were in their dinghy, their boat was taking on water, and within 15 minutes their boat had sunk.  Then within the next 15 minutes, they were spotted and the pan pan was dismissed.  I’m thinking it was a fishing boat to have sunk that fast.  No matter what it was, it was a little bit of an eye opener for us. 

We had locked our dinghy to the boat a couple nights ago when we were in the crowded party harbor.  So Dave unlocked it and made it easier to deploy.  Makes you think through scenarios you hope you never face. 

What a beautiful, relaxing day it was on the water.  We would occasionally see little flying fish skimming across the water and then diving back in.  We even saw schools of them together.  Funny to watch.  The water was only in the 45-50 ft deep range today.  Still a beautiful rich blue color.

We reached the Ft Pierce inlet about 5:00 and decided to turn in for the night.  The next inlet would be too far away to turn into the ICW before dark.  We anchored in a bay by 6:00.  We had a great Mexican dinner and Dave even had a beer with me!  We had leftover grilled pork that made awesome tacos.  We keep tortilla shells in the freezer.  And I made Texas Caviar about 3:00, so it was ready to be consumed.  It is a combination of black eyed peas (or black beans), rotel tomatoes, corn, seasoning, little oil and vinegar, and fresh pepper and onions if, I have them.  Lime juice tops it off. 

Before going to bed, I had a nice telephone visit with my friend, Lorraine Himrich, back in Custer, SD.  Her son, Aaron, just graduated from Pharmacy School and will be taking his boards later in June.  We may find a way to connect on the east coast for a little fishing.  More to come of that adventure in a few weeks.

West Palm Beach
Mexican night

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