Saturday, May 10, 2008

Under the Bridge....

Okay, so we are working on packing Last Paradise up for summer so we can head up to Michigan and John can see so many people who love him so much :) Well, to get to the boatyard we had to pass under a bridge that is lower than the chart says it is. It wasn't going to be a big deal because we had gone under before, we just had to have new moon- low tide, which is the lowest of the month. This happened to fall at around 12:30 AM. SO, we went to bed and set the alarm to wake us up, no big deal. Well, we should have known that luck was not on our side when the alarm failed to go off- I woke up at 1:00 with a start and we flew out of bed and got the anchor up. The tide looked like it was still moving out a little bit, so we had some time yet (whew!) We started toward the bridge (actually, there are 2 spans here so I should say 'bridges') Jeff slowed down to just barely moving forward and (holding my breath) we cleared the first span! This had been the problematic part in the past, so we thought we were home free.... Back to that LUCK thing.... BANG. We hit the second span. It seems that after the tragedy last year in MN. there has been some maintenance on bridges... they replaced the concrete reinforcements with steel I-Beams, painted a nice shiny blue- no matter that they are now a few inches lower! After working for over an hour, trying to heel the boat enough to creep under- and failing, we retreated with our heads hung low back to the anchorage.
The next morning Jeff did some fiddling, some advanced mathematics, and some calling around to other boatyards. That night we enjoyed some quality family time- John took his first steps alone!! We all went to bed early and this time set 2 alarms, time to try again. At 12:00 we got up and Jeff worked his magic letting the main mast forward a few feet (it is deck stepped, not keel stepped for all you boaters reading this) We slowly creeped back to the dreaded bridge- I had the flashlight on the mast and was holding my breath the whole time. Again, we cleared the first span with no problem, and this time we cleared the second one too!!! HOORAY! We breathed a huge sigh of relief. Sometimes the strength of Jeff's mind and his ingenuity amazes me! We motored a few more hours while the tide was still out to get under some other low-ish bridges and finally anchored again for the night at around 3:30AM. By the way... John slept through all of the excitement both nights, what a champ!
We are now in Venice enjoying the air conditioning in Grandma & Grandpa Goff's house, but we will begin our journey North on Monday- stopping first in Atlanta to see those TurnerTwins!
Here is a photo of how our mast looked going under the bridge- yikes!

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