Yes, we have no bananas

I will catch you really quickly. But stay with me because this gets good. We left Stuart sailed down to Lake worth and found an Anchorage for the night. Our trusty weatherman said that Thursday and Friday would be great for crossing But he didn’t mention Wednesday. Things were going very well and Keith wanted to turn and head east, but I was afraid to cross the Gulf Stream at night incase things got bad. In my mind, if the weatherman had meant Wednesday would be good to cross, he would have said so. We went back and forth all day and finally Keith gave in and let me have my way. We anchored at lake worth before crossing over to the Bahamas. I will admit right now that I was very afraid to cross the Gulf Stream. I wanted to do this during the daytime hours. If things got bad, I wanted to be able to see. As it turns out we were fortunate to have very calm seas.Looking back I should have just let him have his way. But who knew. I will get back to this later.

The crossing actually went very well. Maybe too well…….for Keith. we ended up having to motor all the way. There was no wind to sail. It took us 12 hours to get over to the Bahamas. We arrived around 6 PM and decided to anchor on the border of the Bahamas. Basically we were really out in the middle of nowhere. But our depth was good and it was still another 12 hours to the next good anchorage. We had a good nights sleep and awoke early the next morning to head East to our next destination of great sale cay (pronounced key)
This is where it starts to get good. As Keith was pulling the anchor, I looked out and saw two funnel clouds/water spouts  forming. Not what you want to see if you are setting out for a sail. As the morning wore on, we encountered around 20 funnel clouds. Just as two would go away, 2-3 more would form. All of them were in the direction that we needed to go. We had to change our course many times to dodge the funnel clouds. To say we were scared would be an understatement. So for several hours we went one way, then turned and went another direction, only to turn back and try to go in the direction we needed to go in. Just when we thought the storms were starting to abate, another funnel cloud would form. Each time I said aloud “really, again?” Fortunately Mother Nature got tired of wrecking havoc on our minds and gave up. It didn’t hurt that I was praying to God to make them go away! After lunch the skies cleared and we could finally sail without fear. Keith decided we needed some music to calm us down. Let me just say that even Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffet couldn’t calm me down. I was wound up tight!

funnel cloud/water spout

funnel cloud/water spout

water spout

water spout

water spout touching water below

water spout touching water below

counting 4 funnel clouds in the sky

counting 4 funnel clouds forming in the sky

mimosa's on our first sunrise, before the skies parted

mimosa’s on our first sunrise, before the skies parted

Capt Jack Sparrow, just kidding, Keith sailing the boat.

Capt Jack Sparrow, just kidding, Keith sailing the boat.

Keith getting a good view of things

Keith getting a good view of things

shells we found on the beach

shells we found on the beach

Black tip shark under our boat

Black tip shark under our boat

Fast forward 6 hours. now we sit at great sale cay. This was to be an overnight anchorage and then we would press on. Keep in mind that we still need to clear customs, and that’s still 2 days away. We have no wifi here and I have to use my data sparingly. I was able to get an email from our trusty weatherman only to find out that we are expected to have nasty weather for the next 3 days. It’s been brought to my attention that if we had made our crossover on Wednesday night as Keith wanted to, we would be further in our adventures. Don’t you hate it when someone tells you ‘I told you so’? Well, he’s right. I will eat my crow now.
Did you know it’s bad luck to have bananas on a boat? While it mostly pertains to fishing boats, a lot of  sailboats and motor boats abide by the rule of no bananas on board. We don’t get bananas often. But recently Keith said he wanted some. So I got some. Didn’t give it much thought. Funny , yesterday while watching funnel cloud after funnel cloud form, I looked down and saw my bananas sitting down below. I got up, went below, got the bananas and chunked them overboard. After about an hour or so, the weather got better and we were able to head where we needed to go. Coincidence? We will never know.

update: after 4 nights at great sale cay, we were finally able to pull up anchor and move. We had a rough, wet sail, but it was better than sitting in that same spot another night. We found a nice anchorage called angelfish point. I had to say it was very pretty. Unfortunately we still hadn’t cleared customs and couldn’t get off our boat. Bummer. Today we made it to Spanish Cay, cleared customs, got our fishing permits (yay) and walked to a beach and collected some interesting sand dollars. We may stay here a day or two. Then we will head to Green Turtle Cay and hang out there a few weeks. The water under our boat, at the moment, is crystal clear. So far, I have seen about 5 sharks. The boat next to us brought in their catch of wahoo, and they knew they would get the handouts. There are some mango snapper under my boat that I intend to catch and eat. I’ve never had mango snapper before. I’ll have to get back with you on how it tastes. Life is good!

Still in Stuart

We came, we saw, we stayed. Since arriving in Stuart Florida, we only intended on staying for a week. One week! We are now approaching 2 weeks. We were all set to go south and stage for our crossing to the Bahamas. But as it turns out, our mail order pharmacy only sent one of our prescriptions. That means they left one out. Hmmmm. This means there were no refills left. So we wait until Monday, call the doctor and ask him to please call in a new refill. Tuesday we get notified that we will get the meds but they won’t ship it until the 12th. Great. Now we have missed one weather window and will have to wait for the next one. To make good use of our time, Keith went over the engine and found some misalignment so he spent a few days curled up in the engine compartment. I made it sound easy but in reality it was rough. He was curled up as tight as he could get, just to be able to get at the hard to reach places. I was able to help some by pulling on a rope he had attached to the motor, allowing it to lift enough for him to get the alignment right. We haven’t given it a trial run yet but that will happen soon.

Keith working on the engine

Keith working on the engine

IMG_2019

If you look closely, you can see keith’s face at the top. He’s actually inside the engine compartment.

IMG_2035

The boaters lounge, complete with popcorn machine

IMG_2036

The boater’s lounge

IMG_2043

Dinner at the taco truck

IMG_2046

A nice tiki bar in town called Terra Fermata

IMG_2050

a not so crowded dinghy dock

This really isn’t a bad place to be stuck. The town is actually quite nice. We walk or bike to the historic downtown. It’s given me a little extra time getting groceries that will last us as long as possible. Every time I think I have what I need, I remember something else. Sure I can buy stuff in the Bahamas, but the less I have to buy the better. Groceries can be pricy over there.
So if all goes well, we will pick up our mail in a few days and start working our way to Lake Worth. Once there we will wait for the go ahead from our trusty weatherman, Chris Parker, and make the cross. Let’s talk about this ‘cross’ a minute. We are talking about crossing the Gulf Stream. This is not to be taken lightly. Much planning has to go into this. We have to find out what the wind direction is going to be and what the seas are going to be. Or in other words, how high are the waves going to be. Here’s a definition of the Gulf Stream: the Gulf Stream is a vast and powerful Atlantic Ocean current. The stream is like a river 40 miles wide and 2000 feet deep, flowing at a velocity of 5 miles per hour and discharging 100 billion tons of water per hour.
It’s recommended that you never cross if the wind is blowing from the north as this will hit the opposing current and create really big waves. Lately there have been south winds that would be great for crossing, but here we sit waiting on mail.
When we cross, we will hit that current and get moved along in a northward direction. That’s why we try and go further south in Florida before crossing. This year we are aiming for the Abaco Island. If we were going to Bimini, we would have to start from Miami or the Florida keys. I have heard lots of stories of people crossing the Gulf Stream. Most of them are not fun. Uncomfortable at best. But the pay off is getting into that turquoise water where you can see the bottom in 20 feet of water. With any luck, we will be finding out for ourselves very soon.

Keith has come up with something he calls ‘the cruisers creed’. “Be able to stay anywhere for a month ( off the grid on your own resources), be prepared to leave any moment, and know where you are when you get there”.

Hopefully our next post we will be on our way.  Life is good.

St Augustine to Stuart Florida

Must. Keep. Going.  We ended up leaving St Augustine 2 days ahead of schedule. When the weather is right, you just have to go for it. Actually we thought the weather was going to get bad, so we opted to leave early and get a jump on it. Turns out we would have been ok. But who knew. Sometimes I wonder if the meteorologists really know.
We decided to stick with the waterway and head south. It was that, or go on the outside and motor most of the way due to no wind. Going down the waterway gave us an opportunity to anchor each night. I’ll just tell you right now, I like my sleep. And if I had my way, it would be from 10pm-7am. Yep. I’m not ashamed to admit it. So anchoring allows me this luxury.

Lots of houses like this along the ICW

Lots of houses like this along the ICW

We put in around 45 miles a day. That’s a 9 hour day. We motored down the waterway with no depth finder. (remember, we sent the defective one back and didn’t have the replacement yet). We did great. We had our iPad and an app that showed us the danger spots. It worked out just fine for us.  Yes, we had our old garmin that Keith hooked up as a back up, but I got spoiled with the new one in the short time we had it.
Our plan was to get to Stuart, Fl. We are set up to meet with a boat yard to go over some repairs we need to do this summer. We could have gotten here one whole day sooner, but we thought it would be fun to stop at one of our favorite anchorages. Peck Lake.  We were right. We dropped the dinghy and went to shore. After a very short walk, we were on the Atlantic beach side. We treated ourselves to a beach walk, and seashell hunt. Keith fashioned an old whisker pole (thats a pole that can be used to hold your jib sail out) and a gaff (you know, a giant hook to stab a fish with to get it on the boat)  together and went in search of coconuts. He had to get off the beaten path to get to the tree with the ripest coconuts. After a few swings of the whisker pole/gaff, he was rewarded with a coconut. And let me just say that they come down fast. Fortunately Keith was able to jump out of the way fast enough. FYI, if you should find a coconut laying on the beach, don’t open it. We did and well, it was quite nasty. It looked like milk that expired months after its prime. And that smell……..whoa.

opening a bad coconut

opening a coconut

Peck Lake

Peck Lake

getting coconuts

getting coconuts

The other side of Peck Lake

The other side of Peck Lake

The next morning we slept in, had a nice southern breakfast and headed out for a 13 mile ride to Stuart. Fortunately we only had one draw bridge. Draw bridges aren’t that big of a deal, but we don’t much care for them. For those that don’t know,  some are open on demand, where you call and ask them to open for you and some are on a schedule. Either way, it’s a waiting game. You watch to see when traffic stops, then you listen for the horn to blow, then you watch for the bridge to start to open and push it full throttle, assuming you aren’t too close. All this while trying to hold still in a wind or current that you can’t control and hope there aren’t any other boats too close to you. Fortunately we had no problems with any bridges this time around. But it still makes us apprehensive at times.
So we made it to Stuart, washed the boat, found our mooring and grabbed it on the first try. This still makes me happy. Keep in mind this was only our third time on a mooring and the first time we had to have help. We were just inexperienced. We are starting to get the hang of it. We will meet with someone soon to go over our repairs, get it their books, and hopefully head somewhere further south for a month or two . At this point, we don’t know if we will go to the Bahamas, or key Biscayne, before coming back and taking the boat out. We will probably make that decision soon. It’s alright. Life is still good.