With the anchor up at 6:50 we were able to enjoy our first sunrise on the Atlantic ocean together. The north wind of the previous night had laid down nicely and clocked to the northwest allowing us to sail up and make entry at Angelfish Creek.
When we sailed on Beaver Lake things were simple, for example with the exception of extreme cases we would have the same depth of water in our slip no matter what time we returned. There were no currents on Beaver, and really the only concern centered around wind speed.
Sailing in the ocean is much different, not only do we need to take account of the weather and monitor the winds, but we must pay particular attention to the waves both height and direction. The tides also generate current which at certain times in certain places can exceed the speed and maneuverability of our sailboat. Tides can also assist with shallow passages. This was the case at Angelfish where without the assistance of the tides we would be unable to make the approach with our over 5 foot draft.
Time was of the essence as we blasted north trying to make 7.5 kts to reach Angelfish Creek before we lost tide assistance. Luckily we made good time and began our approach just after 10 am. We donned our two-way voice activated head sets (with Marriage Saver 2.0 Technology) and I made my way to the bow for the approach. Robin and I made some nervous chatter over the radio before she began calling out the depths.
On Sea Change, the depths register as the amount of water under the keel. When it reads zero, we are aground. And, stay with me here, we are absolutely certain that this is correct, because Robin set the offset on the depth gauge when we were aground the last time.
Michael “I have 3 feet under the keel”, she said over the head set. I quickly figured that the visibility of the water was just over 8 feet deep. I could see the bottom passing underneath the boat as Robin continued her chatter on the headset. “Three point five”, she said as I watched an abandoned crab pot slip quickly past. Robin perfectly lined the boat up on the navigation marks as she brought us down the narrow channel joining the Atlantic Ocean with Card Sound. Still calling the depths over the radio, she said “two point zero” as she backed off on the throttle and slowed us down.
The depths continued to increase as we became surrounded by a mangrove lined channel. We took a breath and enjoyed the scenery, meeting a small sport-fish boat and another sailboat in the channel. We had successfully made it inside.
Earlier, I mentioned tide support was necessary to navigate Angelfish creek. We entered the channel just after 10 am about 3 hours after high tide. My iPhone tide application said that the water level was 1.7 above Mean Water Level. Had we chosen to go in on a low tide, we’d have been aground— again. Instead we navigated through into Card Sound on course for Biscayne Bay and Miami. Just another day aboard Sea Change!