Friday, April 22, 2011

April 12-18, 2011 (Week 28, Day 190-196)

Tues. Apr. 12, 2011 (Week 28, Day 190) Destination: Lake Worth (Florida’s Gold Coast—Mile 1014.2) Weather: hot & humid (L=73F, H=90F), mostly sunny with some clouds Winds: calm am, S wind gradually increased late am to 15K, 1-2 ft. chop
Last evening’s SW winds died to calm. A celebratory double egg & toast for breakfast. We launched the dinghy with such ease + the dinghy motor. We had a pow wow at 0800 hrs. & the Morrows were moving on today via the ICW towards Vero Beach while ‘Sea Mist’ & ourselves have to visit Customs & Immigration (0800-1600 hrs.). If the weather permits we would go outside tomorrow to Vero. Lots of dredging equipment here in Lake Worth. We dinghied to Riviera Marina & paid our $10.00 per day fee (privilege to use washrooms, showers & laundry-> $1.50 per load). There were no customers at Customs & Immigration shortly after 0900 hrs.; we completed both check ins in about 15 mins. & with no charges. We walked very slowly, at least I did & in pain despite my knee brace to Boat Owners Warehouse (5 blocks) & purchased a new VHF unit; West Marine > 3mi. away. Lynn phoned re Patric & Dave--> anchored in North Palm Beach waiting for Dave’s boat part. We had lunch at Tiki Bar. Now the wind had whipped up to 15K & we indeed have a slightly wet ride home. Graeme took a couple hours to install the VHF. We dinghied to Peanut Island & walked the perimeter on a wide interlocking path of this nature park--> several benches, many shelters with picnic tables, BBQ pits with water spouts, sandy beaches, designated camping area, water fountains, washrooms, outdoor showers, designated swimming areas with lifeguards, areas to snorkel & garbage receptacles everywhere; well worth seeing. Another wet dinghy ride home. Supper = leftover tamale noodle beef. Graeme made a big pot of popcorn to bring to Bette & Bill’s boat; a few hours of chatting & getting to know them more. A glimpse of the setting sun was seen behind a bridge in the western sky; the winds decreased. We returned home well after 2200 hrs.. Slowly the winds clocked to the west. The many city lights dulled our view of the half moon & stars.
Wed. Apr. 13, 2011 (Week 28, Day 191) Destination: Lake Worth (Mile 1014.2) to Jensen Beach (Mile 981.4--- Florida’s Treasure Coast) Departure: 0755 hrs. Arrival: 1510 hrs. Mileage: 32.8SM Weather: warm & humid (85F), sunny with ominous rain clouds in the am only, spattering of rain then blue skies Winds: N <5K, increasing to 10-12K then 12-14K, NE 8-10K after sunset Happy Birthday Colleen! A very quiet night. We slept in; so much for a real early start. We checked the offshore winds with NOAA--> NW only 5-10K increasing to 13K & 2-3 ft. seas. Graeme would not go outside with that northern component, so I guess it’s ICW & contending with all the bridge openings (7). We were back to the sightings of pelicans & our 1st osprey at Hobe Sound. A few dark clouds to the NW at the get go which provided only drops of much needed rain, then warm sun & blue skies.; it was noticeably cooler than the Bahamas & South Florida. North winds did not shift & we continued to motor in a north direction, although we were able to fly the jenny for about 3 mi. before turning to drop the anchor south of Jensen Beach Bridge. We had hoped to make it to Ft. Pierce but that was a bit too far & there was nothing between Jensen Beach & Ft. Pierce. Today we traversed from Florida’s Gold Coast to the Treasure Coast. We anchored in 7 ft. with 80 ft. chain. We met up with ‘Artful Dodger’ & ‘Firecrest’ as well as ‘Sea Mist’ who abandoned their plans for Ft. Pierce. We invited all for Happy Hour. We made reservations for Vero Beach City Municipal Marina (mooring ball) for tomorrow. Larry phoned from Vero. A warm less humid evening, gorgeous lighting from the setting sun & a ¾ moon already high in sky. A clear night with stars followed.
Thurs. Apr. 14, 2011 (Week 28, Day 192) Destination: Jensen Beach (Mile 981.4) to Vero Beach (Mile 951.7) Departure: 0700 hrs. Arrival: 1145 hrs. Mileage: 29.7 SM/22.5 NM Weather: warm, sunny, less humid & blue skies Winds: E5-8K, increased to 10-13K
A quiet night & morn. I had set the alarm for 0530 hrs. so we would have an early start. Two boats departed at 0600 hrs. With breakfast out of away & the sun poking over the land & trees to the east, we up anchored at 0700 hrs. with not a great deal of mud on the anchor as anticipated. The house batteries were not charging& the knotmeter not working! A wire on the alternator had once again fallen off. What gives? And the manual switch Patric had installed way back in Dec. was somehow tripped. Graeme reattached the alternator wire, but he thinks it was not charging at it’s normal rate, & the knotmeter was cleaned of crud & back in business. We took advantage of east winds flew our jenny as we headed NW at 5.7K for 30 min. Then just our luck the winds shifted to the north, on our nose; furled the jenny. Until we reached Ft. Pierce we were assisted by the current as much as 2.5K, but once past the inlet we fought the current. Fortunately, the winds shifted back to the east & increased & we unfurled the jenny again; we were able to hold it right to Vero Beach & this helped to offset the opposing current. We were assigned to the same mooring ball as the Morrows, #10 in the southern field. Lines attached to Larry’s cleats as well as a line through the mooring ball. We chatted for a while then arranged a laundry project & dinghied to shore. We registered & while Graeme did fuel duty, I was lucky to get 3 washers ($2.00 X 3) without waiting, followed by 2 dryers ($1.50 X 2), but unable to connect to the internet during the intervals. I was done by late afternoon, back to the boat then over to the Morrows who hosted Happy Hour with ‘Artful Dodger’ & ‘Firecrest’ as we all caught up in each others’ news. A pleasantly cool evening. Supper= pork chop, celery & dill pickles. A lightly clouded night where moon still visible but not stars.
Fri. Apr. 15, 2011 (Week 28, Day 193) Destination: Vero Beach (Mile 951.7) Weather: heavily cloudy day with rain periods in the am sometimes heavy, warm & humid Winds: calm SE
Lynn & I organized ourselves to be ready for 0830 hrs. when Graeme dinghied us to shore & we caught the 0845 hrs. bus #1 to Humiston Park down by the ocean beaches. We walked south 1 block to Beach Barber Shop & we were immediately taken for our haircuts; Caron (owner) cut Lynn’s hair & Janine cut mine--> a good job; $20.00. We were finished by 0930 hrs., walked to the bus stop when the rain began; at 1000 hrs. we took the #1 bus back to the marina. Our car rental was arranged by Lynn yesterday for today (noon to noon); no specials but rather an increase in rate because this is Spring Break here--> N.B. always the week before Easter. We attempted to dodge the heavy rains at about 1130 hrs., then went ashore & were picked up by Enterprise; to the office to do the paperwork for a Toyota Camry. Then Larry drove us due south to Ft. Pierce then Port St. Lucie as we tried to find the propane filling place; car’s DC plugs discovered not to be working & thus we ran the GPS & iPhone batteries low--> a few good laughs over this whole incident. Then further south to a Panera for lunch, Total Wine (Port St. Lucie), Sam’s Club, West Marine (Ft. Pierce) & they exchanged my foul weather jacket for a new one as the lining of the original was deteriorating & not providing wet protection, mailing post to send off an Easter card to Ottawa & a parcel to Ft. Lauderdale. We returned to the marina to shed & shuttle groceries to our respective boats & make room in the trunk for more supplies. Then it was off to WalMart (Vero) & Publix. Finally at 2100 hrs. we sat down for a great Mexican dinner at the Publix Mall, getting home at 2230 hrs. And this was Lynn’s first outing since falling ill nearly a month ago in Marsh Harbour! And she lasted the whole day! Despite being tired, ¾ of the groceries were properly stored away, the remaining ¼ groceries (canned & dry products) were left in the trunk of the rental car till the morning. I must admit I did not pay too much attention to the night weather conditions other than calm, warm & humid, mostly cloudy with only a few visible stars.
Sat. Apr. 16, 2011 (Week 28, Day 194) Destination: Vero Beach (Mile 951.7) Weather: hot (90F+), & humid, mostly sunny with cloudy periods particularly in the am & clear by nightfall Winds: calm am, SSW gusty winds by mid afternoon & SW at nightfall
A semi long marina shower that felt so-o-o-o good! I think I lost a few layers of skin & a few shades of colour! We retrieved the remaining groceries from the car rental. By 0900 hrs. the 4 of us were on the road to Verizon for Lynn & WalMart for a neat DC adapter with 2 USB ports for easier & quicker charging capabilities. Then we had brunch at Panera before returning the car. Enterprise was very busy--> $50.00 each which included gas fill. Back at the marina Graeme did several water jerry can runs from shore to the boat tanks. I packed away the rest of the groceries, started preparations for supper, formulated a tentative route schedule northwards, unloaded my bike from the garage to use to ride to church this afternoon, & dressed appropriately for church. HOT despite the increased winds. I attended the 1600 hrs. Passion/ Palm Sunday Mass at Holy Cross--> well attended. On return I worked on a few more supper preparations & helped prep the dinghy for our departure in the morning. We had a nice quiet social with Lynn & Larry, sharing our travel schedule; they are waiting for a Fed Ex delivery of medications then will depart ASAP & we will adjust our northward progress accordingly. A late supper until it was a bit cooler= corn on the cob then coq au vin. A very warm evening with a gentle SW breeze, full moon, clear skies & stars.
Sun. Apr. 17, 2011 (Week 28, Day 195) Destination: Vero Beach (Mile 951.7) to Cocoa (Mile 897.8—Space Coast) Departure: 0725 hrs. Arrival: 1550 hrs. Mileage: 53.9 SM/45.6 NM Weather: warm, humid in the am & in fact less humid & cool mid morning on till evening, but only sun Winds: N 5-8K --> NNE 8-15K then NE 10K
An interrupted sleep last night between being too hot & sticky & abdominal cramps. Yah, I was off a bit today-->? flu & very sleepy. We said our goodbyes to Lynn & Larry & departed at 0725 hrs. entering the Indian River. A short distance from Vero my day was made as always when we sighted 3 dolphins, then an osprey in a nest on the channel marker feeding the youngins in the Wabasso Beach & Pine Island areas, Pelican Island National Refuge. As we moved northward the north wind dried out the humidity in the air & seemed to drop daytime temps although the sun, out of the wind, was nice & warm (79F). The wind increased to 8-15K early in the afternoon & shifted NNE to NE, permitting us to motorsail. We moved nicely today at 5-6K allowing us to anchor at Cocoa, a different anchoring spot for a change; Graeme was skeptical. The thought was to explore some of Cocoa for a few hours in the am, then move on making Monday a short travel day. For a warm & sunny Sunday, the water traffic was surprisingly not too busy. A simple supper= leftover tamale noodle beef & bun for Graeme & chicken noodle soup & bun for me + banana & strawberries drizzled with chocolate sauce. The moon was full & fiery orange & up before sunset. The sky was an amazing hue of red after sunset; mosquitoes were present. It was a Gravol & early bedtime for me tonight.
Mon. Apr. 18, 2011 (Week 28, Day 196) Destination: Cocoa (Mile 897.8) to Titusville (Mile 878.2) Departure: 1214 hrs. Arrival: 1530 hrs. Mileage: 19.6 SM/16.41 NM Weather: mostly sunny with few clouds, great warm temp (80ishF) Winds: ENE 10-13K
We woke near 0700 hrs. & I was feeling 90% better after a good night sleep. A boat shower after breakfast for me. We dinghied to the Cocoa city docks about 0900 hrs. & walked the boardwalk to the lovely park along the shore. Then we easily found the infamous SF Travis Inc., an unbelievable multi building, 2 level hardware store, then briefly walked through Cocoa Historic Village on Breward Ave., Whatnots General Store & finally the library. Lunch was on the run. Dolphins gracefully broke the water surface as we motorsailed with our jenny northwards. There was plenty of room as we anchored in the Titusville anchorage field--> 7 ft. & 80 ft. chain. Larry phoned with news that Lynn’s meds still had not arrived, nor had the mobile dog groomer they had arranged an appointment with. It saddens me that we must continue on & not knowing when we will meet up. Supper= corn on the cob, leftover coq au vin. A red sky after sunset, mosquitoes & clear night sky filled with stars & full moon.

April 5-11, 2011 (Week 27, Day 183-189)

Tues. Apr. 5, 2011 (Week 27, Day 183) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: partly sunny & cloudy, warm (upper 70’sF) Winds: SSE to S 12-15K, SW squalls 51K, then SSE 8-10K
With the unstable atmosphere, CP came in too scratchy to hear anything; and this was a morning of importance about his high winds & squall predictions vs lesser high winds & thunderstorms predictions by Barometer Bob. I guess what we get is what we get. For days I had been in a mood of anxious anticipation. I tried to distract myself by reading most of the am. Early afternoon we went ashore; Lynn was even better today after a good night sleep & using less oxygen throughout the day. Quickly some internet as the skies were becoming more cloudy & ominous. When we returned home rain was just starting to fall & the Canadian boat that was too close on starboard had left; now we just had the Canadian boat on port that was too close as well. The skies were getting blacker in the north & the winds were blowing from SW to NE. As it got blacker, lightning & thunder, rain & little to no wind commenced. Was this the calm before the storm? It certainly was! Suddenly at 1640 hrs. the SW winds increased, whitecaps & 1-2 ft. chop, heavy rains that misted up the enclosure, colouring of the water & the sky were near the same & land was not visible. The boat heeled from one side to the other as the winds further increased up to 51K for about 15 min. with a few things on the galley counter & under the stove taking a dive. We had lost sight of boats around us; especially of concern was the boat that was too close on port; it was anchored all on rope! And we had 120 ft. of chain! The winds changed directions from SW to SSE back to SW before it calmed to 10K all over a 40-45 min. period. And that boat of concern was now on starboard. We had our engine running the entire time but kept our instruments & VHF off because of the vertical lightning in the vicinity. This was indeed a squall!!! And I prayed there would be no more! It rained for a short while afterwards. Graeme climbed into the dinghy & removed the plug so the 8 inches or so of water could drain. There was some clearing in the west sky but otherwise very dark ugly clouds all about. The temperature had fallen about 15 degrees F & all the boats slowly clocked around 360 degrees. A few dinghies we out retrieving articles that had been blown in the water. We compared our location to others before & after the squall & we seemed to have a slightly different position; we may well have dragged southwards. Supper was simple & quick= nachos. Dishes were washed up before the daylight was completely gone just in case of more squalls. We talked to Larry after listening to Don (weather) on VHF 09 at 1930 hrs.; they lost power at Mangoes for 2 hrs. & registered winds on the dock at 45K; they had listened to chatter on the VHF after the blow & someone announced the highest wind at 51K & that one boat had dragged. Now bedtime, it was very eerie—dark, stars & dead calm!
Wed. Apr. 6, 2011 (Week 27, Day 184) Destination: Marsh Harbour, but… Weather: cloudy with very occasional showing of the sun & warm high of 73F; low tonight= 69-71F Winds: dead calm all night! N winds increased after 0900 hrs. to +/- 10K & shifted to NE through ENE then E to SE by nightfall
The wind generator had it’s rest as well during the entire night last night. Graeme had soldered an extension to the existing SSB antenna yesterday & we had clear audible reception from CP & favourable winds & weather for departure tomorrow right after listening to CP in the am. The open mike portion of the Cruisers Net was filled with people’s reports of lost &/or found articles in the water after yesterday’s squall. Tomorrow’s low tide= 0523 hrs. & high tide= 1118 hrs. We will eye the Whale Passage as we approach the NW tip of Guana Cay & if O.K. we will exit the Bahamas Bank, enter the Atlantic Ocean, make a left turn into the Cut & hopefully gently re-enter the Bahamas Bank, all on a rising tide & thus be assisted rather than opposed through the Cut. Lynn had a good sleepful night last night, oxygen off since yesterday pm; she sees the doctor tomorrow & if given the O.K. they will depart Fri. am. We will then meet up Fri. evening. I cleaned under & behind the stove/oven unit; amazing what you find on thorough cleaning. Actually, no big surprises. I maintained my usual every 2 day washing the cabin floor routine + washed hard-to-reach spots in the head. I decided to do one load of laundry ($3.50); don’t tell Mom, but I threw most of our dirty laundry in all together; shame, shame! I had to wait quite awhile for both a washer & dryer so tried to get on the internet (on & off though), but I did get an email off to my family & week 26 of my blog posted. There were no emails from Patric so I assume all in Green Turtle fared well during the squall & they have pushed on. Back home we lifted the dinghy motor & prepped her for departure tomorrow. We retrieved some Florida books & charts from under the aft cabin bed boards & stowed away the Bahamas ones we no longer needed. A clouded sunset; in fact the rest of the week predictions are warm & cloudy with chance of showers. Supper= pizza. A cloudy night sky as well; some clearing during the night & some stars were visible. This was our last night in Marsh!
Thurs. April 7, 2011 (Week 27, Day 185) Destination: Marsh Harbour to Manjack Cay aka Nunjack Cay Departure: 0720 hrs. Arrival: 1150 hrs. Mileage: 26.7 SM/23.24 NM Winds: N 7-10K leaving anchorage, SSE through Whale Cay Channel, SE 8-10K at Manjack Cay & ESE 8-10K at nightfall
A calm gentle breeze during the night. Surprisingly, I slept well despite being anxious to finally be moving. CP at 0630 hrs., although always late, was very brief, but favourable weather in the northern Bahamas (Abaco area) & winds over the next few days supposedly on the lightish side. We up anchored at 0720 hrs.; muddy sand caked on the anchor which required lots of washing with deck washer. We motor sailed on the jenny at 6-6.3K towards the Whale Cay Passage. We entered the Ship Channel at 0915hrs. & sighted a turtle & a flying fish, the Whale Cay Passage at 0935 hrs. & through the Whale Cay Channel from 1001 to 1003 hrs. at 6K; the winds were light from ESE at 7K. Painless!!! It was a nice beam reach on the Bank side of the Whale where we saw a cormorant in the water with a snake in it’s mouth, past Green Turtle Cay, anchoring at Manjack Cay in 9 ft. & 80 ft. chain. Lunch & a bit of reading + wondering if Lynn received a good ahead from the doctor. We readied the dinghy then off to the sandy beach & walked the trail to the 2 mile long Atlantic Beach (1/2 hrs. walk each way to & from the beach); the signage & trail are maintained by Bill & his wife. I walked the beach for shells & coral, then we dinghied way around to Crab Cay hoping to beach the dinghy, walk through the bush o the Atlantic side & collect sea glass; but we were met by a wild boar! There was no conch & starfish in abundance in clean sandy shallows like 2 years ago, but only muffins on a grassy bottom. We tried to follow a turtle in the shallow waters back at Manjack Cay & sighted Bette & Bill’s boat (Sea Mist) anchored closeby; we found them on the beach & invited back to our boat for a tour. We missed sunset, missed Don at 1930 hrs. & had a very late supper= hamburgers. Some clouds, some stars & we finally saw a dish shaped/positioned sliver moon.
Fri. Apr. 8, 2011 (Week 27, Day 186) Destination: Manjack Cay to Crab Cay, Little Abaco Island around Angelfish Point Departure: 0910 hrs. Arrival: 1235 hrs. Mileage: 17.6 SM/14.9 MN Weather: warm, not hot (>80F), brilliantly sunny, few clouds Winds: S only 5-6K to start the day, NE by midday at 8-10K, & E calm <1K at & after sunset Some slapping of chop on the stern from the south during the night was a little annoying. Light winds had been forecasted for the next several days. We had good reception of CP, nil from the Marsh Harbour Cruisers Net & good reception from Green Turtle Net VHF 18 at 0830 hrs. A magnificent Bahama day! We attempted to sail but the winds were too light. ‘Sea Mist’ & ourselves + relay from Green Turtle Club attempted hailing ‘Twomorrows’ at 0845 & 0945 hrs. unsuccessfully. Bette phoned Mangoes Marina & Larry & Lynn had left--->YES!!! At 1110 hrs. we clearly heard Larry saying that they had just crossed the Whale but he did not hear our replies. Lots of boats moving north & west. As we turned at Angelfish Point into our predetermined anchorage at Crab Cay we were met by 4-5 dolphins. We had a successful reception & transmission with ‘Twomorrows’ via ‘Sea Mist’ at 1300 hrs. The hot afternoon had us lunching, reading & emptying the contents of the dinghy. Bill came over with a spare VHF + tester; the spare VHF was installed when they proved that our radio & not our antenna was the problem. Lynn & Larry arrived at 1530 hrs. after 5 weeks at Mangoes in Marsh Harbour; Lynn sounded tres tired. We hauled the dinghy up on the deck & proceeded to scrap with an ice scrapper & stiff brush all the crusted & vegetation crud off the bottom; it took time, lots of elbow grease & lots of water from the deck washer. Late afternoon the sky was entirely clear, blue, just a perfect setup for a green flash at sunset at 1928 hrs., but it did not flash! How could it not? A red sky spread across the western sky while the eastern sky filled with stars & near quarter moon. There was our 3 boats alone in the anchorage. Supper in the cockpit = cubed steak with onions, potatoes & beans. The red sky faded & the horizon appeared as a suspended pink mist. It was so peaceful, so tranquil, so quiet! The best way to describe the atmosphere was like a hum of nothingness. One of our last Bahamian sunsets & nights!
Sat. Apr. 9, 2011 (Week 27, Day 187) Destination: Crab Cay, Little Abaco Island to Great Sale Cay Departure: 0800 hrs. Arrival: 1520 hrs. Mileage: 43.8 SM/38.96 NM Weather: very, very warm (80+F), very sunny, very blue skies & some cloud that dissipated over the day Winds: light & variable, W 5K start of the day increasing to 7-9K & 1 ft. chop on the Little Bahama Bank then NW <5K by sunset The night could not have been calmer. According to CP light & variable winds were the order of the day; static transmission secondary to squally weather in Florida. It was a motoring day, boat speed 6.2-6.4K X 44 miles, travelling west & guess what direction the wind was coming from? That’s right, west! At 0915 hrs. we passed Center of Earth Rock. Lots of reading throughout the day. After we turned north towards Great Sale Cay, Larry discovered a blue hole--> turquoise water all around with depths of 8.4 ft., a fringe where the Little Bahama Bank visibly drops off & a large patch of indigo coloured water, then back to shallow turquoise water. Soon a group of 5 dolphins were at our bow but soon departed as I had my camera posed, only to discover that the battery was empty. We anchor in 9 ft. & 80 ft. chain. It was so warm today both of us were in the warm water, soaping up & rinsing off afterwards on the transom. A spectacular Bahamian sunset at 1930 hrs. with the tiniest green flash. Fifteen boats in this west anchorage. Supper= curried peanut chicken, much to Graeme’s chagrin. A quarter moon & stars in a clear sky.
Sun. Apr. 10, 2011 (Week 27, Day 188) Last full day in the Bahamas! Destination: Great Sale Cay to Memory Rock Departure: 0900 hrs. Arrival: 1730 hrs. Mileage: 50.4 SM/43.85 NM Weather: hot & sunny, only a few cloudy periods for part of the day Winds: W 6-9K & 1 ft. sea chop; at nightfall ENE heavily favouring E <5K A so very calm night & morning. A hovering mist in the west made it difficult to distinguish the defining line between water & sky. And in the east I watched the sunrise over the scrub vegetation of Great Sale Cay while drinking my morning coffee in the cockpit. Being a Sunday, there was no CP this am. The early morning was already so warm we decided to depart at 0900 hrs., one hour before the others. There was no great hurry as none of us wanted to spend an extended period of time anchored at Memory Rock, which is in fact literally nothing but the edge of the shallows of Little Bahama Bank just as it is about to meet & drop off into the Straits of Florida; there is no land; you are totally & completely surrounded by water. Increasing winds from the north were predicted but this did not happen; again the light winds were from the west, square on our nose as we were travelling west. We made two unsuccessful attempts to set a sail. So both of us read +++, while Auto kept us on course. In the vicinity of Memory Rock we picked a large sandy area to drop the anchor--> 12 ft. water & 100 ft. chain. With such a light west wind the tide was the dominating factor (boat was facing east), a non-existent sea chop & only a small swell. ‘Twomorrows’ anchored 40 min. later & ‘Sea Mist’ was 60 min. later. As the sun lowered in the sky, a band of cloud formed on the horizon which persisted & obscured a sunset below the horizon; next layer above was the faintest hint of mauve, topped by a layer of pink sky--- very picturesque for our last Bahamian sunset & night! Supper = tamale noodle & ground beef (one pot)--> another last, last meal in the Bahamas! It was so hot in the main cabin we ate our last Bahamian meal in the cockpit. Both of us needed a boat shower to cool down. At bedtime we were experiencing a rising tide, the light wind was from ENE heavily favouring the east, the boat was facing west & who knows where the anchor & chain were situated. Our last look of the moon, the clear sky filled with stars from our eyes in the Bahamas!!!
Mon. Apr. 11, 2011 (Week 27, Day 189) Destination: Memory Rock, Little Bahama Bank to Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, Florida (Mile 1014.2) Departure: 0730 hrs. Arrival: 1920 hrs. Mileage: 74.8 SM/65.08 NM Weather: warm 73F at sunrise at 0658 hrs., sunny & hot about 85F & only blue above Winds: WSW 10K--> <3K--> SSW 16K
Well, this was it; last Bahamian sunrise & last Bahamian bread for breakfast! Another leg of the adventure completed! Yeah, supplies were diminishing but have held up well. We departed the Little Bahama Bank at 0750 hrs. with all sails out close hauled, but we were unable to hold our sails for long without going way off course. Next to nil boat traffic & the winds diminished & clocked more to the west. It was slow progress; absolutely no wind after noontime--> flat calm, no chop & no swell. Our speed over ground on the GPS was < than the boat’s knotmeter, & much worse through the Gulf Stream, a 1.2-1.5K difference. The sun was very hot. About 10 mi. from the mainland we experienced an increase in wind to 14-16K as well as a change in direction to SSW. The Gulf Stream was reported close to land, about 1 mile. We were able to unfurl the jenny once out of the Gulf Stream & with the increase in wind & direction, we sailed about 3 mi. north of the West Palm Inlet. Thus a tack was necessary taking us SE before we furled the sail & motored into the inlet. Yikes, we can’t see bottom anymore to anchor, only dark water! We must reacquaint ourselves to channel markers, industrial cranes & lights galore + noise--> most unfamiliar! I phoned Mom before the engine was shut down. Amazingly, my TracFone actually worked! Graeme was successful reaching Homeland Security & Border Patrol to announce our arrival in the USA & acquire our number. No sunset falling below the horizon! Supper= leftover curried peanut chicken for me anyway; Graeme’s stomach suddenly unwell. Half moon & stars were visible in the clear night sky but not as bright secondary to all the city lights. This simply was a brutal day; 4 out of 5 days for our crossing back to mainland Florida, especially the last 2, were motor days with no chance to sail!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mar. 29- Apr. 4, 2011 (Week 26, Day 176-182)

Tues. Mar. 29, 2011 (Week 26, Day 176) Happy Birthday Bruce! Destination: Elbow Cay to Marsh Harbour Departure: 1310 hrs. Arrival: 1545 hrs. Mileage: 9 SM/ 7.8 NM Weather: cloudy am, very warm & humid, then clearing to blue skies & sunshine Winds: N-->NE-->E 6-10K
Non predicted, non forecasted winds! 0130 hrs. there was a soft sprinkling of rain & we were pointed in NE direction then an increase in wind strength from calm to 15-20K; at 0300 hrs. we were still experiencing 15-20K NE winds but heavier rains then calm at 0630 hrs. No NE directional winds in any forecasts! In fact, absolutely no predictions of any north winds predicted all week! Only SE 15-20K with squalls of 30K today, S 20-30K with squalls of 30-35K tomorrow & similarly winds Thurs. & Fri.! As of mid afternoon this did not transpire, which left us in a quandary as what to do & where to go. We met Jody & Joe at Coffee House in Hope Town at 0915 hrs.--> great coffee, raspberry white chocolate or cinnamon apple scones & a great couple of hours of chatting. We all walked to Vernon’s & Graeme & I bought the last key lime pie ($15.00) but more to be made, so Jody & Joe will get theirs at about 1500 hrs. We said our goodbyes hoping to meet up on Fri. at Nippers’ Barefoot Man Concert on Guana Cay. We dinghied to the infamous lighthouse & climbed the 101 stairs to the outdoor 360 degree balcony--> breathtaking 360 view! We made another detour to say hello to ‘Texas Dreamer’ who had just anchored closeby; had a tour of their catamaran, shown all the sea glass they picked yesterday off the Atlantic Beach on Tilloo Cay that a local had directed them to & sold Graeme a case of Bud Light beer ($25.00) because they had too much beer. After lunch we up anchored & motorsailed NNW under full jenny (4.5K) towards Scotland Cay because the skies were very variable with thunder clouds building in the southeast & clear skies in the northwest. At the level of Marsh Harbour we made a decision to turn in that direction instead of onto Treasure Cay for the following reasons: a) unable to hail the Morrows on VHF & how was Lynn making out, b) 2 missed calls on my Canadian cell & were the calls from them, c) the Great Abaco Island fires & smoke still in progress & with NE winds smoke heading in the direction of Treasure Cay, d) what will the weather forecast be tomorrow & will there be 30K squalls, e) we were staging to be at Guana Cay for Barefoot Man Concert at Nippers on Fri., f) then staging to cross the Whale Cay Passage followed by the crossing to Florida mainland with the appropriate window, & g) have the final laundry & grocery projects in place for the crossings. The anchorage was quite full but we found a suitable spot fairly close to Mangoes. We spotted ‘Walkabout’ anchored. There was no response from ‘Twomorrows’ when we hailed them so we dinghied over to learn that Lynn required emergency treatment yesterday pm for probable pneumonia! On our way home we went & said hello to Jean & Bob on ‘Walkabout’. A cloudy sunset. Supper= sloppy joes. A dark night, stars & anchor lights+++ & fires in the southwest sky.
Wed. Mar. 30, 2011 (Week 26, Day 177) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: very warm especially in the sun, humid, mostly sunny with cloudy periods Winds: definitely the factor of the day; ESE-->SE-->S building throughout the day from 8K at dawn to 15-20K
A few “ugly days” ahead expressed by CP & confirmed on the Net, especially tomorrow & Fri. with some relief apparently on Sat. & Sun. (perhaps our window to cross the Whale) & another cold front Tues. & Wed. Lynn called herself on VHF 63 this am; another baby step of improvement! The guys were going diving today. Some housekeeping tasks undertaken by me while Graeme emptied some water & diesel jerry cans into the boat tanks then to shore to refill the diesel jerry can. I prepared my computer backpack & laundry supplies to wash our comforter. To shore after lunch to do the one load of laundry ($3.50) & Graeme did 2 water jerry can runs + few emails; the others downloaded to Windows Live Mail to see offline later. Congrats to Steve Hall in successfully obtaining his Level 3 Ski Instructors! We met Jean & Bob (Walkabout) under Mangoes gazebo doing internet. We met Larry & Kevin after their dive. It is most unfortunate that it is looking as if we may have to leave Marsh Harbour before Lynn is given the O.K. to depart by the doctor & she gains some strength; we need to get back to Deltaville as early in May as possible & in Ottawa by early June. I am very sad with tears welling up in my eyes just thinking about it. Most of the afternoon the skies were plagued by smoke fires, very close if not off Don McKay Blvd. here in Marsh Harbour. By sundown smoke filled the anchorage & ash was falling on boats. Sunset was obscured by clouds just above the landmass. Supper= breaded boneless chicken breasts & peas. Although the night skies were clear with stars the smell of smoke was most unpleasant. There is no money, no resources & no manpower to fight these fires that have spread up from the south since Mar. 10th!
Thurs. Mar. 31, 2011 (Week 26, Day 178) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: very warm (82F) & humid, mostly sunny, smell of smoke & presence of smoke clouds Winds: S to SW calm a few hours before dawn & at dawn, then increasing to 15 to 20K; in late afternoon there were gusts of 25K+
Unstable weather again today with an approaching cold front; nevertheless we continued to make all preparations for departure in the next few days. To Mangoes & did 3 loads of laundry ($10.50)+ internet, posting week 25 of my blog, while Graeme did ? errands on my bike. Lynn had improved more by this am--> no oxygen; Larry & Kevin were taking the ferry to Hope Town for the day. Once laundry was done, I took the bike to Island Bakery for their last coconut bread & a loaf of cinnamon raisin ($6.30), then to Maxwells for some fresh fruit & vegetables & meat. We checked in with Lynn but she was experiencing some shortness of breath with minimal activity therefore re-established her oxygen. We returned the laundry & groceries to the boat; of course the winds were gusting 25K. Smoke smell & smoky skies south & further east than last night. We returned to ‘Twomorrows’ after 1600 hrs. just as Larry & Kevin arriving back from their excursion to Hope Town. A short visit & drink, then we loaded the folding bike into the dinghy & back to it’s storage spot on the boat--> stored on the Morrows’ boat while anchored in Marsh Harbour. We were entertained by a band on shore near Union Jack dock. Sunset happened behind heavy clouds. Supper= leftover sloppy joes. Don on VHF 09 at 1930 hrs. included rain, lightning & thunder during the night in his evening weather report. Boat showers X 2 as we both felt grungy. Dark skies, many stars & some cloud. I guess March was going out like a lion.
Fri. April 1, 2011 (Week 26, Day 179) April Fool’s Day! Destination: Marsh Harbour (? last day) Weather: very warm, sticky, mostly cloudy am, heavy rains midday, mainly sunny pm & cooler, less humidity by evening Winds: S to SW 15-30K as cold front passing with 3-4 ft. chop in the Sea of Abaco, then winds clocking W to N & decreasing to 10-12K
Lightning in amongst the clouds & very little thunder during the night. No transmission from CP as his antenna had been knocked out from a ? tornado in Florida. The only weather was from the Net that uses Barometer Bob reports (> an unpleasant day of high winds, chop & rains forecasted. Breakfast, shower & dressed & packed a small bag each for a day on Guana Cay for the Barefoot Man Concert. We tied the dinghy up to the Morrows’ boat. Lynn was feeling another step of improvement; her lungs auscultated with my stethoscope & sounded pretty dry although decreased air entry on the left side. Kevin got away fine. We took the 1030 ferry ($27.00 X 2) to Guana Cay with Jean & Bob, with a short stop at Scotland Cay. There was lots of wind & chop but the ferry was well handled. We slowly walked up the hill to Nippers, met Jody & Joe & had lunch over the noon hour as the skies opened up & 2 bouts of heavy rain fell; good for the fires on Great Abaco Island. Then the skies slowly cleared & Mr. Barefoot Man played for 2-1/2 hrs. without a break. The event was well attended by young & old & all in between, many scantly clad in swimwear attire; lots of dancing & drinking without any raucous; a fun time! We took the 1645 ferry directly back to Marsh Harbour & checked in with the Morrows re the doctor’s report--> they were unable to go due to the high winds, low tide & inability to get off the boat & the smoke fires; another appointment setup for tomorrow at 1630 hrs. We were invited to stay for dinner & what a fine, scrumptious dinner we had--> Mediterrean Chicken with basmati rice (Yummmm!) & homemade key lime pie for dessert (WOW!) We made our way home at 2100 hrs. in the dark under clear skies & stars. A truly fun day with friends!
Sat. Apr. 2, 2011 (Week 26, Day 180) Destination: Marsh Harbour still, damn it! Weather: cooler (78F), drier air, sunny & blue skies once the mist or smoke haze burnt off Winds: near flat calm, gradual increase over the noon hour to 10K from SE then calm 1-1/2 hrs. before sunset
Tornados had indeed hit Florida yesterday & had toppled the 2 trees in CP’s yard both on each of his 2 antennas, thus no transmission yesterday; today’s report indicated that it was to be light & variable, building tonight & tomorrow & further Mon. & Tues. with 20-25K & squalls of 30-40+K; no squalls Wed. but still 20-25K winds! Great, stuck here till Thurs. or Fri. even after commiserating with Lynn & her sources! We have been here a month & have seen so little of my wishlist! My frustration level was over the top today & I had many a meltdown. The anchorage is near empty. Yes, the Whale was good to cross today, but where was everyone going to hold up for this clash of fronts from the north & south? Not everyone could hide in Green Turtle. Graeme was of no help whatsoever; he has no plans or fails to share any but is always fast to say “I don’t know.” He spent all afternoon in the main cabin as usual drinking beer, eating popcorn & reading or sleeping; sorry, he scrubbed the cockpit floor with probably saltwater, which makes it tacky. I pouted in misery trying to read on deck but thinking how I want to be home or at least be able to move towards home. One gets very complacent staying in one spot too long & then insecure to move. And the fires seemed to erupt again today filling the sky with smoke & ash. Supper= pork chop with garlic sauce, potatoes & peas for Graeme & I had his leftover chicken & rice from last night with peas. Clouds concealed the sunset; a red sky. Wedding & music at beautiful house/resort on the north side of the harbour with loud less appealing music on the south side. The water was like a mirror; clear skies & stars.
Sun. Apr. 3, 2011 (Week 26, Day 181) Destination: Marsh Harbour, unfortunately Weather: thick mist of haze & smoke hung over the harbour & land till well after 0900 hrs. then sunny & warm (78F) Winds: mirror calm with gradual increase about noon from the SE at 10-12K & after sunset E
We woke to the smell of smoke & dense smoke haze over the harbour. We heard the weather portion of the Net as I showered & dressed for Church. The church bus was early & I caught it on it’s turn around route to St. Frances de Sales; a little late starting Mass, a whole hour service with great music & singing, & coffee & cake afterwards. Lynn had a good night with 7 hrs. of sleep. Internet under the gazebo & Graeme snuck in a shower before we headed back to the boat for lunch & some reading on the deck. Then we dinghied over to the Jib Room, walked over to the small beach & each of us individually snorkeled Mermaid Reef--> fair coral & excellent variety & number of fish. We squeezed in a beer at the Jib Room before they closed at 1600 hrs. We checked on Lynn; unable to nap & energy level was still nil. Back on the boat we rinsed off ourselves & bathing suits with fresh water on the transom, then read till suppertime about 1915 hrs. Supper = pork chops with garlic sauce, rice & beans. Low clouds interfered with the setting sun above the landmass now near 1930 hrs. A fresh evening breeze, red sky amongst the clouds & a few late arriving boats. The star filled night sky was dark as the moon these days was still rising & setting during the daylight hours.
Mon. Apr. 4, 2011 (Week 26, Day 182) Destination: Marsh Harbour Weather: sunny with cloudy periods, warm (80’ish) in the sun Winds: E to ESE 10-15K but gusting to 20-25K after dark
A scratchy reception from CP; unstable atmosphere & still predicting high winds & squalls 30-40K & possibly up to 50K Tues.; Barometer Bob predicting lesser winds & no mention of squalls but 20% chance of rain. Who do you believe? Boats mostly entering the harbour, but a couple of charter boats from Moorings/Sun Sail left. Two boats were anchored too close to us for my liking, especially with the possibility of 30-50K squalls tomorrow. Some reading on the deck before & after lunch. Mid afternoon we dinghied to Mangoes as the Morrows invited us for an early Happy Hour with Bette & Bill (Sea Mist); we met them 2 yrs. ago in the Spring in Charleston & again in St. Augustine. We first checked our emails, then it was catch up time for the 6 of us chatting away over munchies & drinks in the Morrows’ cockpit; Lynn tolerated us for 2 hrs. without oxygen. It was windier out in the anchorage but certainly not the 20Kforecasted; I’m pissed to think that we could have moved. Clouds settled in the west before sunset; some pink sky. Supper= Knorr’s cream of wild mushroom soup--> very good. Just before bedtime gusting winds kicked up to 15-25K; guess I’m not pissed of now. Stars, very few clouds & dark.