The Route South

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Men and ships rot in port (Women likely do too!)

It’s an old sailor’s saying and I think its true!  We have been in Stuart four months...far longer than we ever intended and certainly longer than we wanted to be.  But between the RV thing, eye doctor appointments, doctor-doctor appointments, dental appointments – well - you get the idea.  

Don't take this the wrong way.  We really love Stuart, but we haven't spent four months in one place for several years.  Its way past time to get outta' town.

Monday, March 31, 2014
Somehow April Fools” Day doesn’t seem like the right time to begin a trip so we left the day before.  Hope we remember how everything works.  Our plan is to head down to Lake Worth and Palm Beach to anchor for the night.  Tomorrow we will make our decision on when to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas.

Tuesday April 1, 2014
Under way by 0730.  We poked our nose out into the Atlantic to see if the weatherman’s forecast is right.  Oh yeah, it’s April Fool Day.  Ha-ha…he got us. After testing the waters for a half-hour we turned back, ran in through the inlet and started making our way south through the concrete canyons and bridges that make up the ICW to Ft. Lauderdale.  This is likely the stretch of the ICW that I dislike the most.  By 1700 we have the anchor down in Ft. Lauderdale’s Lake Sylvia.

Wednesday April 2, 2014
The forecast doesn’t look good for crossing.  The weather isn’t bad…it’s just not right for going to the Bahamas.  So we are invoking “Plan B” and heading south toward the Keys.  Makes more sense than just hanging out here for several days.  The anchor is up early and  by 0800 we are passing the commercial hustle and bustle of Port Everglades.  The channel has shoaled badly near Baker’s Haulover, just north of Miami.  At 1000 we wiggle past the dredge working there and continue on, passing through the busy port and highrise office and condos of Miami.  By noon we are heading down Biscayne Bay toward today’s destination, Boca Chita Key, where we will lay over for a couple of days and wait for Bahamas-crossing weather.

Container ship busily loading and unloading in Port Everglades.

The view from the Boca Chita lighthouse.  Morning Star shares the harbor with a few other boats.

Friday April 4, 2014
It looks like Saturday’s weather is going to be acceptable for going across to West End, on Grand Bahama Island.  We retrace our route back to Ft. Lauderdale and stage in Lake Sylvia after topping our water and fuel tanks in Hollywood.

Saturday April 5, 2014
The Gulf Stream is a warm, river-like current of water that begins in the Caribbean Sea and flows northward along the coast between Florida and the Bahamas, continuing up the east coast of the US before curving east toward Europe.  This river flows fast…up to 4 miles per hour.  If the wind is out of the north, opposing the current, the seas build up to a dangerous and nasty state…something we desperately want to avoid.  But when the wind is right, the Stream actually makes the trip shorter.  Today is forecast to be one of the good days.  We are up early with pre-trip jitters and have the engine started by 0615.  Sunrise finds us well out in the Atlantic.  We watch the water temperature rise, as does our boat speed over the bottom…a clear signal that we are in the Stream and on our way to the Bahamas!