Here is an update on what has been another incredibly crazy week! It seems like I always write about rough weather, winds, crazy weeks, etc., but here is another one! We have actually made very good time and distances, but it has not been without “adventures.” But isn’t that life, to experience and see how you deal with “adventures?” Let me fill you in on what the week has been.
In last week’s post I shared we were anchored in Shroud Cay, actually just off a small island called Elbow Island by Shroud Cay, on Thursday night. It was our goal to get to New Providence Island on Friday, and we made it. It was not an easy trip, but we had experienced worse. One difficulty we ran into was that the wind kept building from the NW instead of shifting to the NE as predicted, and we were headed NW. We did a bit of tacking around to try and quarter the waves for comfort sake and eventually arrived on the SW side of New Providence Island, the island on which the city of Nassau is located, and pulled into Albany Marina for fuel. We were very tired and sick of the rolling around in the 4 – 6 foot waves all afternoon, so we inquired whether we could get a slip there for the night. (This is the same marina Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake are members and partial owners.) They said they would be happy to provide a slip for us, to the tune of $1310.00 a night! Something about it being a private marina meaning we would have to pay high non-member association dues. Right! Needless to say, we didn’t stay!
After fueling up and filling our water tanks we pulled back out and into the waves again. Sheesh! We had wanted to anchor just outside the marina, where we had anchored before, but the swell was wrapping around the island causing a huge rolling motion. We decided to head to West Bay around the corner, but soon realized that would put us directly into the crazy waves and wind so we turned around to anchor outside the marina. To say there wasn’t any panic or tears as to whether we would be able to find a safe place to anchor would be a lie, but after the third attempt, and not until 5:00 pm, did we finally get the anchor to hold. For the second night in a row (who would have thought!) we put out our swell bridle just so we wouldn’t roll around so much inside the boat. When the wind direction is different than where the swells were coming from, the swell bridle pulls the bow into the swells so at least we are rocking front to back in the boat and not side to side. Makes a big difference inside the boat!
Thankfully, the night actually went well and Saturday morning we left for Chubb Cay. This was a 30 mile run N, to NW of New Providence and with the anticipated switch of the wind to the N and then NE we thought it would be alright. Uh oh! The wind definitely did not switch to the NE and we banged into waves all day! But the boat handled it tremendously, and even though at times we were desperately fighting to go even 5 knots/hour heading into the waves we battled on. We again zig zagged to not go directly into the waves but it still was an uncomfortable ride. Later morning the winds built to 20 – 22 knots consistently and the waves were all of 5 – 7 feet, with occasional larger ones, but finally at 3:15 pm we put our anchor down in the lee of Bird Cay, just east of Chubb Cay. Because the waves once again were coming around the island we put out a swell bridle to stop the rolling. Third night in a row!
In following Chris Parker’s weather reports we knew that Monday would be a good day to cross the Gulf Stream heading west, so we pushed it to get to Bimini to make the jump by then. If we wouldn’t have made it for a Monday crossing we likely would have had to wait at least another week in Bimini. It meant we had to cross the Grand Bahama Bank in its entirety tomorrow, a trip of 90 miles. So we went to bed about 8:00 pm Saturday evening and got up at midnight to leave at 1:00 am Sunday morning. This would put us into Bimini Sunday afternoon and let us be ok to cross the Gulf Stream on Monday.
At 1:00 am on Sunday, with the wind making all kinds of noises at 18 – 22 knots we pulled up our anchor and headed west. (I’m still amazed we did it!) The wind was from the N and was supposed to clock to the E during the morning, which it eventually did. As we were headed more W than N the waves weren’t so bad and we made great time. We made it to Bimini, 92.5 nautical miles, at 12:45 pm already. Right away when we left in the early morning we put out a reefed mainsail and when the sun came up and the wind started to shift to the E we put out the headsail and we did well. We arrived in Bimini and pulled into a slip at Blue Water Marina and settled in. Max loved it that he could go ashore for a walk!
6:30 am Monday morning, with still a semi-good weather window for a west Gulf Stream crossing, we left the dock and headed toward Florida. As we had not been at a dock in over three months we had to remind ourselves how to get away from it instead of just pulling up the anchor. Our dock departure was not at all pretty, but we got away without major incident. The wind was from the SE, more or less behind us, and we pointed our bow west. We had our mainsail almost all the way out and it helped stabilize us as the waves built throughout the day. We could tell when we entered the Gulf Stream as our speed picked up, and when we eventually pointed a bit more north our speed went up even more. In the middle of the Stream we were flying along at 9 – 10 knots. The waves continued to build as the wind was increasing into the 20 – 23 knot range but since we were headed with the wind and the waves it was manageable. At one point we hit our highest SOG (Speed Over Ground) ever of 12.3 knots.
We were glad we were making great time because with the 6 – 8 foot swells from behind it was tiring to steer. I should also add that Sharon was given a great sea-sickness medication from Elizabeth on SV Balairo in Georgetown called Stugeron and it was a game changer for her in that she never felt sick. We finally reached Ft. Lauderdale and pulled into Port Everglades inlet at 12:30 pm, and at 1:20 pm already we had our anchor down in Lake Sylvia. We made it!
We crashed the next day and stayed at anchor in Ft. Lauderdale to rest. We took the dinghy ashore for some provisions and had a wonderful lunch at a dockside restaurant. It was good to sit for a day after making our six day run up from Georgetown. In those six days we had covered 325 miles, many of them being in high winds and waves.
Wednesday morning we left Ft. Lauderdale to make our journey up the coast of Florida to St. Augustine – a trip we envision taking us five or six days. We have a buyer for our boat and St. Augustine is where the new owner will take possession of her. I’ll share the story at some point, but the buyers are friends of ours and are fellow members of t Muskegon Yacht Club. That means Adventures Await will be returning to Muskegon, at least for a short while until they move her to Wisconsin where they will soon be living. The boat will be trucked from St. Augustine to Muskegon.
This is getting long enough already, so I won’t go into detail in the past couple of days, but we traveled north up the ICW to anchor at Lantana, a trip of 31 miles and going through 15 drawbridges. Today we went through 10 drawbridges and are now anchored in Ft. Pierce. It’s hard to make real good time with waiting for drawbridges, but we didn’t do too bad. We only have one drawbridge tomorrow so we hope to go 50 or 60 miles and see where we end up – maybe around Cocoa, Fl. We are trying to get us in good shape to be able to get to St. Augustine by Sunday already. We will then have a week to clean the boat and get our stuff off before the new buyers arrive to get her ready to be trucked. We’ll let you know how it all goes!