6 months ago, on June 28, we left on our boat, Adventures Await, from Muskegon, MI, and headed out on our adventures! It is crazy to think we have been gone 6 months already! And we have had adventures! We have had boat issues we dealt with and resolved, and we have seen so much as we traveled down the east coast of the US! At times all the places we have been to and seen seem to melt into each other, but as we look at our boat log we are amazed at what we have done and where we have been. We thank God every day for this great adventure He is allowing us to have.
We are still in Ft. Lauderdale waiting for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas, and it looks like this weekend could be our big chance to go. We are looking maybe at Sunday to start across and it would be amazing to start the New Year in the Bahamas. If Sunday doesn’t work out it is looking like there could be a possibility on Monday or Tuesday to cross as well. We’ll see!
Before I forget, I want to say that I am not sure what kind of internet/cellular service we will have in the Bahamas and am not sure how regularly I will be able to make our updates, but will do the best I can and keep them coming. I don’t know how many people actually read our posts, but get comments occasionally from people who are following us so will do our best. We also greatly appreciate the prayers our family and friends are making on our behalf. Keep it up! I also occasionally hear from people who are not able to make Comments on our website posts. I don’t really know why Comments can’t be made and are flagged as suspicious bots or activity, so I apologize for that. You can always make comments on our Facebook page as that seems to work well. You can either click on the Facebook icon on our website or search for us on Facebook at @SVAdventuresAwait. I post more frequently on there of things we are doing.
We had the opportunity to visit with my Aunt Gloria and Uncle Dave’s family on Christmas Day and it was great to see my cousins, Kristy and Dan Kett, and their beautiful children. I don’t always keep up with Kristy and Dan and their families but it was great to spend time with them and to hear a bit about where they are in life. Kristy’s husband, Terry, is the Lead Pastor at Bayside Church in Clearwater, Fl, and Dan has recently moved back to Michigan from Florida for his job. His wife, Marla, is living in Florida to allow their youngest son to finish his senior year in high school before she moves back to Michigan after his graduation.
After Christmas dinner we followed in our rental car back to Aunt Gloria and Uncle Dave’s condo in Marco Island where they spend the winter months. They live in St. Joe, Michigan, and are avid followers of our adventures. They have a 30’ Sea Ray boat and spend much time on it in South Haven during the summer months.
Before we arrived at their condo we stopped in Punta Gorda, Fl, to see long-time friends, Terry Molitor and his wife, Carol. Terry was the Chef at Evergreen when I started their years ago and we have kept up our friendship throughout the years. They used to have a sailboat in Holland, Mi, and know all about the sailing world as well. I have not seen Terry for quite some time so it was especially good to visit with him again. He said he does not miss the winters in Michigan and has enjoyed being in Florida for the past couple of years. It was great to see them!
We had a wonderful time with Aunt Gloria and Uncle Dave in their condo! We stayed with them for two nights and spent time talking and sharing, as well as walking along the beach and seeing the beautiful island of Marco Island. Truly a gorgeous community! We had a wonderful dinner at Mango’s on the water the night before we left while Max redecorated their bathroom. Sorry about the towel bars he chewed up!
We returned to our boat yesterday afternoon and it really felt like it was coming home. We have spent so much time on the boat that it is feeling like home. Unfortunately the wind has been crazy strong out of the SE which makes it a bit uncomfortable in the slip, but we are tied up safely and securely and it didn’t prevent us from sleeping very well again last night.
Today and tomorrow we will again make preparations for our departure. Last week we did a pump-out of our heads and filled the water tanks up, and I will do that again to make sure the head tanks are empty and the water tanks are full. We have two heads on board so can go quite a while between pump-outs, but we also will be able to discharge into the ocean once we get over three miles out so that will be good – unless you’re directly behind us when we discharge! J We have 151 gallons of fresh water storage, with 20 gallons spare water in jerry cans, so we should be ok for a while until we need to fill the again in the Bahamas.
We are planning on leaving at midnight Saturday night and will go offshore about two miles or so S toward Miami. About three or four hours into the trip we will turn east and enter the Gulf Stream which will then push us north again. The Gulf Stream is a current that is 2 – 4 knots heading north, so as we point our boat east it will push us north. We will be able to tell when we are in the Stream, and then out of it, by our GPS and the water temperature – it is apparently much warmer in the Gulf Stream. It is best to arrive in Bimini mid-day to maneuver any shallow waters with the sun high over head.
After getting out of the Stream we will have to head S again to get to Bimini where we will check into their country. Sharon has made a yellow Quarantine flag to use while we check in, and a Bahamas Courtesy Flag we will fly while in their country. (The flags she made look great!) After either anchoring at Bimini or tying up to a dock for a day or two while we check in we hope to leave and cross the Grand Bahamas Bank, which could be an overnight passage, and go to the Berry Islands. We can then head to Eleuthera and eventually to the Exumas and Georgetown for our probably southernmost point. Getting to Georgetown will probably take a month or so as we explore the many islands and cays (pronounced “keys”) along the way. We really hope to see Bob and Diane Walters from MYC in Georgetown, and have friends from home, Jason and Patti Flier, who will join us on our boat for a week or so down there.
All of these plans are centered on making the jump to Bimini. We will have been in Ft. Lauderdale here for three weeks, and are anxious to get going again. But as I have said in earlier posts, once you have gotten out of the routine of moving all the time it seems almost daunting to get going again. I know we have not forgotten how to do it, but I go back to being nervous about all the systems on the boat and if they will work again. There is absolutely no reason they won’t, and just getting going will help allay those fears. It is also curious of how big of a deal the jump to Bimini has grown in our heads. It is actually not even as far as going across Lake Michigan but is a big deal because of the Gulf Stream and how crazy it can be out there. We remind ourselves that we are always careful in getting a good weather window to cross Lake Michigan as it can be a dangerous crossing as well.
I have our InReach Explorer+ satellite phone/text messenger all set up to keep our family apprised of where we are and how we are doing. It has a feature of being able to ping our boat every 10 minutes so they can follow us, but anyone can also follow us based on our AIS (Automatic Identification System) on a phone app called Marine Traffic. I think it’s $5, but you can search for our boat, Adventures Await, and if our AIS is on you’ll be able to see us as we move around.
So hopefully I’ll get our phones figured out once we’re there with a new SIM card or something and will try to post on Facebook and our website when I can.