The New River is not designed for mega yachts, sightseeing paddle boats…or even catamarans for that matter. It is best suited for rowboats and kayaks.
Ok. I will concede. It’s a beautiful weekend. It’s Easter weekend. Which means that everyone who owns a boat in Ft. Lauderdale is on the water. Prossibly not the best time to attempt navigation up the winding, narrow, hairpin turning, waterway through downtown Ft. Lauderdale called the New River. But, we had no choice.
We did all the right things. Kindof. I plotted the 4 bridges I needed to hail. We put out all of our fenders (bumpers) around the boat. Just in case of a little collision. I scratched out a picture of all the hairpin turns and highlighted them in yellow. Yes yes yes…we have GPS. I didn’t need to draw a picture.
We waited for slack tide. I made 3 “Securite” calls on VHF Channel 16. Um. That would not be correct. A bunch of captains started yelling at me to use Channel 09 for the New River. Otherwise, nobody hears you. Such details.
So, I switched to VHF Channel 09 and made 5 more “Securite” calls alerting mariners in the opposite direction that we are a wide-load catamaran inbound on the New River. It didn’t matter. Between the Carrie B and Jungle Queen sightseeing paddle wheel boats, and the mega yachts that practically consume the entire width of the narrow “river” – it seemed as if Cat Maudy would soon become a monohull sailboat.
You could not see boaters coming toward you around the hairpin turns. I didn’t hear anyone else making “Securite” calls. So, you basically had to peek your nose around the corner…hope for the best….hit the throttle hard if it is clear….or back down just as fast and hope that the boaters behind you will notice.
Despite the supercharged stress level of navigating the New River — we eventually made it to our destination. Lauderdale Marine Center. We tied up to their dock….and stepped onto land. It was a glorious moment.