Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Leaving Nassau

Looks like Thursday is the day we leave here for the Exumas. Todsay we had heavy rain and thunderstorms. Maybe 4" in about an hour, had to bail out the dingy...
I have stayed here longer than I wanted to, I hope to be in Highbourne or farther down by tomorrow night. I would like to make up some ground while the weather is good. I do plan to take a break at Staniels Cay, then push for Great Exuma. With any luck I will be relaxing in the harbour when my friends arrive on Feb 12.
If I don't update or contact anyone tomorrow then I am on my way.
Time to break free of the docklines again... And say goodbye to the swimming pool and hot spacious showers.....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Nassau Bahamas Sunday Jan 23, 2011

I left Coconut Grove In the early afternoon. I stopped for fuel to top up in the rain and managed to leave my spare gas can on the dock. I didn’t notice it until I reached Bimini. It was a pretty easy crossing to No Name harbor to wait for the morning to leave. I managed to sleep in a little and by the time I headed out at all but one boat had left. Cara Mia had left Coconut Grove early and was about an hour ahead of me. At I was crossing ahead of one freighter on a course of 120* but my actual path was about 80* as the Gulf Stream pushed me north. The depth sounder had maxed out at 522 feet. At I spotted some islands in the distance and I was tied up to a dock in Bimini at . My only issue was hitting the bottom on the way in, I had to get in closer to shore than I thought the channel was and went in about 100 feet off the beach. I found out later that the channel is about 150 feet off the beach.
Checking in was not a problem, I asked for till May 1st and they gave me 90 days without an issue and said to simply ask for an extension in Georgetown when it got close to the time.
I met a few new people and had internet intermittently at the Big Game Club with its $6.00 beers. A Florida fisherman enjoyed our sailing stories So much that he gave me a huge fillet of fish enough for 3 meals.

Jan 20 I left Bimini with two other boats to head for Nassau. Just as we rounded North Rock a thick fog closed in. I couldn’t see the lead boat only 200 feet away. After switching on the radar I saw him just as a large power boat came out of the fog and passed me a 100 feet away going in the opposite direction. We traveled the course line for several hours in the dense fog with only our radars and the GPS lines as reference but the last boat had AIS system and was able to see any freighter far ahead of our radars. Other than that first boat the crossing was somewhat uneventful. Island moon was letting us know about big ships long before they got close. We were traveling in the dark along the path the island freighters took. The water never got shallower than 15 feet. About midnight we were crossing out into the deep water but the wind was strong and opposing the tide and I had already  put 5 spare gallons into the tank and with the waves at night I wouldn’t be able to add any more. So I turned around and went 5 miles back in to where 4 other sailboats were anchored and spent the night there. I was exhausted and slept fairly long and when I woke up all the others were gone. I put in five more gallons and had a coffee and light breakfast and left
The winds had gone more south and getting into deep water was easier now. It was a long motor sail across to New Providence, almost 50 miles. The winds were out of the south at 10 to 13 knots and it was tight so I motor sailed all the way. At I sighted New Providence and at I had called in to harbor control and was at anchor in Nassau Harbor. I was time to cook up a nice piece of that fish for dinner.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Made it to Bimini

I would enjoy this trip much more if I had someone to share it with. The good things in life are meant to be shared.
I crossed from Miami to Bimini today. About 60 miles in total, it was rough and a little windy but it went well. Now safely tied up in the harbour. Only bumped (once) trying to find the entrance. I circled around until someone came out... The channel was a lot closer to the beach than I thought.
I will keep you posted whenever I can.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Arrived in Coconut Grove

I left Ft Lauderdale and had a wild downwind ride to Miami and entered the cut at 15:30, passed the Richenbacher Bridge at 15:55 and arrived in Coconut Grove about 17:00
I took a morring at the Coconut Grove Sail Club for four nights close to Kajon and Glenice, two boats I have been travelling close to since Oriental NC since early November.
I am getting the supplies I think I will need and waiting on a weather window. The forecast looks good for crossing to Bimini on Tuesday morning and with luck will be in the Bahamas Tuesday night.
I am anxious to start this new part of the trip, it is what I have been planning for, for last few years.
Once I leave here I will not have a phone or internet for a while. I will look for internet cafes along the way but don't count on getting any coverage unless I get lucky or desperate.
My plan is to check in in Bimini, cross the banks to Chub and then to Nassau. Then it is off to the Exumas and points south. Wish me luck and I will update when I can

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Titusville is far astern now

Sunday Jan 9, 2011
Well I finally got out of Titusville. I was feeling stuck there, it was getting to comfortable to be there and another week and I would have never left. Made some friends and left a few behind. Most of the friends I had made are farther south or in the Bahamas now. My only regret is I have no one to share this with; special times are truly special when they are shared with a friend.
I started the engine at 07:10 and after carefully untying and maneuvering out of the dock I requested an opening and I passed through the Max Brewer Bridge at 08:00. It was a long uneventful motor down the waterway. The Canaveral Canal had closed for maintenance while I sat in Titusville. The next outlet to the ocean was Fort Pierce. I motored for the entire day and arrived at Jones’ Fruit Dock at 17:30 about 15 minutes before sunset. No one was around and there were no services. I tied up for the night after motoring 71.91 NM in 10 hours and left at 07:10 the next morning.
I motored for 4 hours and stopped for fuel at Fort Pierce. They allowed me to stay on the fuel dock and I took a shower and had lunch at a waterfront restaurant. By 12:15 I was on my way. I was losing focus and almost hit a channel marker; it was hard to see ahead with the dingy on the foredeck. I was heading to Manatee Pocket but when I saw a couple boats anchored north of the Jensen Beach Bridge I decided to stop at 14:40 and 39.51 NM

The morning dawned with thick fog and even with the radar the channel marks don’t show up and the channel is quite narrow. By 08:15 the fog was lifting a little and by 08:30 I headed out. I followed a couple boats a way but one turned off and the other didn’t show on radar. After leaving the channel a few times the fog lifted and at 09:30 I turned out to enter the ocean at St Lucie inlet. On the way out I had a CBP boat checking me out. After a few minutes they sped of around me and hooked around a red buoy I thought was out of place but marked a dogleg in the cut. Thank you CBP. The shallowest spot was about 6.5 feet beside the breakwater but it was a rising tide and a few minutes later I was out in the ocean.
The winds were light and forecast out of the west all day but as usual the forecast was wrong. The one thing I was worried about was the hard freeze forecast so my plan was to get as far south as I could before the 15-20 and gust to 30 started. As usual the wind was anywhere but west and I had about a hundred miles to Fort Lauderdale. It would be another long day of motoring. I was doing about 7.3 knots through the water but had a contrary current of 1.5 to 2 knots.
Around lunch a pod of dolphins came to play beside me, enjoying the wake and breaching beside me. I took several pictures, one dolphin wanted more attention and slapped the water with his tail 3 times until he managed to splash me. That was something new to me, has anyone ever experienced that before?
At 14:20 I was about 1020 miles south of Norfolk VA. The moon would be a half tonight and the sky was lightly overcast. My ETA for Ft Lauderdale was after 21:00. It was a long day but I was finally in the channel and I tied to a mooring at 22:30. Today I did 99.35NM.
I think I will stay here an extra night. The mooring is only $30.00 a night and it is cold out now, the cold forecast finally arriving.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I feel I am stuck in the mud

This may be my last posting for a while. I had hoped to get out of here today or tomorrow but now it looks like early Sunday. My package hasn't arrived yet. I can't wait any longer though. If it doesn't arrive in tomorrow I will not worry about it. Have it shipped by courrier if it ever does show up.
I waited too long and they closed the canaveral canal thatr I planned to get out into the ocean from. Instead of 30 hours sailing it will be three or four days to Fort Pierce the next outlet. It is over 200 miles to Miami and inside I can only do 30 to 50 mile days... such is life
It has gotten cold here again. I want warmth and sun and island breezes

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Update Jan 3/11

Monday Jan. 3, 2011
I am doing small chores on the boat as I wait for a course manual that I need for my water license renewal to arrive. I called California and got them to ship it directly here in three days. Shipping to Canada and back would have taken two weeks or more.
It took a while but I finally got the GPS to sync with the new net book computer, now I will have a backup to the laptop, just in case. So I guess I will enjoy the comfort of shore power and hot showers for a few more days. I will then make tracks south. 
Unless something comes up I will just stop for the night on my way south and leave the dingy lashed on the foredeck. I have a few friends that will cross the stream this month and it will be better to go as a group. So now I must prepare myself for a night time crossing of the Gulf Stream, 60 miles or more across the open ocean.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Time to start again

It’s Thursday morning and I am sitting in the airport waiting on the plane that will take me back to the boat. It was freezing rain last night but the weather in Titusville will be in the 70’s. Jackie and Dave will be meeting me at the airport in Orlando, then off to the boat. Friends of ours are in Vero on a mooring and I may try to catch up to them.
The next phase of my adventure starts now.

Sunday Jan 2/11 I am going to traveling alone, our friends that we travelled with for several hundred miles, her mother broke a hip so they have cancelled their journey to stay with mom till she is a little better. I feel I am wasting enough time here, the barnacles will be moving it. My dock expires in two days and I need to get a couple tasks done so I can leave. My new little computer runs the Fugawi software but won’t recognize the multiplexer. I may need software from New Zealand to correct it and a course for work needs to be sent to me, but where???

The new dodger looks great and covers the entire cockpit. The refrigeration is working well, motor is harder to start than when I left but runs good for a 25 y/o engine. I may order a windlass but not today…. Not sure what else to check on or upgrade and the only thing standing in my way now will be my own reluctance to head out.
The one thing I wish I had on the boat is a traveling companion to share this with, it is going to be a very subdued trip now when there is no one you care about to share it with.