There we go! Harmonie dripping wet! Out of the water, and waiting to be powerwashed. By the end of the afternoon the yard crew has already gotten the bottom sanded and the first coat of paint on. They are fast!
The trip up the New River through Fort Lauderdale to the boat yard I think took about 5 years off my life. A long, twisting, narrow river with crazy busy, HUGE boat traffic, and six(*) bridges to wait for openings, and a strong current from behind.
How bad is it? We had a 74 foot sportfisher following behind us as we negotiate the bridges. Never too close, but having him shadowing us did limit what we could do. We have to hold position in a narrow (100 foot) channel with that strong current from behind us while waiting for the bridges. You can’t just stop, the current will carry you away, so it’s a constant, dynamic process to hold position. At one point we had to wait for about 45 minutes for two trains to go by. When the bridges finally open, there is a line of 6 or 8 large boats coming at us from the other direction lead by a 112 foot monster who takes more than half the channel width.
Oh yeah, and… there is a storm drain outlet right where we are waiting. Now, this is Florida. There is no “downhill” for the water to flow, so it must be pumped up into the river. Every 10 minutes or so the pump turns on and a powerful jet of water comes shooting out, spinning poor Harmonie around in the narrow space like she was going down a drain. No chance to relax.
Everybody is talking on the radio to try and coordinate things, and that’s somewhat helpful, but they are frequently using the names of local landmarks that aren’t on the chart, so it’s not always as much help to a foreigner like me as it could be (“Excuse me, Captain. Where, exactly, are ‘The Wiggles’?”).
The trip took two hours to go about 4 miles. But we are here, without significant issue. My blood pressure is back to normal levels. We have a last minute rush to get the boat completely, finally, totally ready for her winter excursion out into the Caribbean.
(*) Locals will tell you there are only 5 bridges. But they aren’t counting the railroad bridge because it normally stands open unless there is a train coming. Or two.