We are anchored in South Lake, one of the "Hollywood Lakes" in Hollywood, Florida (map). We dropped the hook here around 2pm yesterday, after a pleasant cruise from the New River docks. We have had the entire lake to ourselves since we arrived.
This location is vaguely familiar to us, because we spent the first night of our very first trawler training cruise at the twin North Lake back in 2009. We passed North Lake on our way here, and there were three boats anchored there; unfortunately, that lake is too shallow for Vector. That cruise departed from (and returned to) the Dania Beach marina, which we also passed on our way here, and so we will be retracing our steps for this next stretch of the waterway, all the way down to Biscayne Bay. I expect we will be in some of the same anchorages, as well, although Vector will not fit in as many places as that 40' sundeck trawler could (including its home marina, due to an 18' fixed bridge).
After leaving Port Everglades (the majority of which is actually in Hollywood, not Fort Lauderdale), we had to transit three drawbridges in succession to arrive here. Each operates on a fixed schedule, and with several knots of current against us, I had to run at a much higher RPM than normal to make the openings. Missing an opening by a few minutes means needing to station-keep for nearly half an hour waiting for the next one. At one point I had it cranked up to 2,200 rpm, which is as fast as we ever go, just to make a little over five knots.
We took on 300 gallons of fuel yesterday, moving over to the designated fueling slip at the 10am slack. The Anchor Petroleum truck pulled up just as we did, and the whole process took about a half hour or so, with me down in the engine room most of the time, flipping valves. We ended up putting 80 gallons or so in each wing tank with the remainder topping up the belly tank, which means we have about 950 gallons on board. That should be plenty for the remainder of our cruising here in Florida and will likely get us all the way back to Virginia, which is the last place we fueled, a full six months ago.
We'll stay right here at least another night. It's a very nice anchorage -- quiet, and far enough away from the ICW proper that we can't feel the wakes. The "keyhole" portion of the lake itself, including where we are anchored, is a no-wake zone. The only traffic we've seen here is a trio of eight-woman skulls accompanied by a pair of tiny skiffs with anemic outboards, I would guess a university or club crew team who routinely practices here.
There are a handful of waterfront restaurants across the ICW from North Lake. At least one has music late into the evening, we remember from our training cruise -- another reason why this anchorage is more pleasant than North Lake. We'll probably splash the tender and head over to one of them for dinner this evening.
Incidentally, Hollywood is named after the more famous city in California, and these lakes were dredged by the founder of the city back in the 20s, using the spoils to make dry land for the surrounding homes. It's had its ups and downs, but has enjoyed a great resurgence in the last quarter-century. Thus we find ourselves again surrounded by million-dollar waterfront homes. These, too, have docks, but there are no megayachts in this lake as there were in the canals of Fort Lauderdale. The chart says the square part of the lake is only four feet deep, but we had reliable information that this is wildly inaccurate, and, in fact, it was 20'-30' deep until we reached the slot of the keyhole, where 13' depths allowed us to anchor on just 100' of chain.
We have weather moving in -- last night we had a gullywasher that cleaned all the salt off the parts of the boat we could not rinse while we were at the dock. While things don't get all that rough in the ICW, we'll probably stay right here until it has passed completely, then continue south, hitting at least one more anchorage before Biscayne Bay and Miami itself. Now that Fort Lauderdale, with its host of errands there, is behind us, I will use the time at anchor to get a few things done around the boat and on-line.