Kay and I were excited to join the Gulfstream Sailing Club on its yearly Labor Day trip to the Miami Marine Stadium. Last year when we tried to get there, Catmandu had two serious breakdowns in the first two miles. We had to be towed home by TowBoat US and we ended up driving down on Saturday to join the fleet.
This time was different. We left the marina at our apartment on Friday night after work and motored to Sunrise Lake where we anchored for the night. Kay brought Subway sandwiches for dinner, so we didn’t even have to cook.
On September 3, we got underway just after sunrise for the 35 mile trip to Marine Stadium. While motoring out to Port Everglades, we made coffee in our French press and enjoyed grilled bagels with cream cheese for breakfast. Since the wind was forecast to be on our nose all day, we motor-sailed with only the mainsail up.
The weather forecast called for a ten percent chance of precipitation. However, just as we rounded the red number 2 marker outside Port Everglades, it started raining hard. It rained so hard we could hardly see, and we had to rely on our auto-pilot Otto to keep us on a straight compass heading south. Kay and I crouched underneath our canvas dodger to protect us from the driving rain, and I popped my head up from time to time to check for traffic. They call that “prairie-dogging,” I think. We were towing our dinghy Catnip, which was filling with a significant amount of rain water, and that was slowing us down. However, we entered the Miami harbor at Government Cut and made good speed, even against the tide. Government cut is a wide and well-marked channel. However, markers 10 and 12 are in different locations than indicated on my one-year-old paper chart. The markers are in the right place according to my newer electronic chart on the chart plotter. I wonder if that might have been a factor in the recent boat crash involving Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins pitcher.
Catmandu was first boat to arrive. There were very few boats in this big anchorage on a holiday weekend. We drained Catnip and inflated our two-seater pool toy. Since our ice supply was low, I motored Catnip over to Rickenbacher Marina to resupply. I asked the clerk how much a bag of ice cost, and she said, “$5.34. Don’t stab me!” Funny. But, that’s a lot for a small bag of ice.
Marine Stadium was built in 1963 as a venue to watch powerboat races held in the large, manufactured bay. The stadium was abandoned in 1992 due to hurricane damage, but the bay remains as a favorite anchorage.
Commodore Marvin and his friend Gary arrived on the second boat, Puff, an Island Packet 42. Kay and I went over and enjoyed food and adult beverages until late. We were waiting for Bleu Bayou to arrive, but gave up. They were towed in around 10:30 PM.
On Sunday, September 4, we spent the day swimming and enjoying a long lunch at Atlantica, at Marine Stadium Marina with our Gulfstream Sailing Club friends.
On Labor Day morning, we had to weigh anchor early and motor all the way home. The temperature was 85 degrees, seas were calm, and the south wind only blew about five knots. However, we were accompanied by dolphins for part of the trip! They played around our bow wave. They swim so fast that we could not get a good photo. But it was fun to see them.
A rain storm popped up as we approached Port Everglades. However, we were well inside the harbor before the heavy rains hit. We got home at the northern end of Fort Lauderdale around 3:30 PM after waiting for four bridges, very wet, and a little less sunburned than previous voyages.