Tuesday, February 16, 2010
We Made it.....Finally
Yes folks, we finally broke free from the hold that Mother Nature had on us in Fort Lauderdale and took the small weather window we found yesterday to get across. I think we had both gown tired of living on a mooring ball, especially when the weather has not been that great and most days were spent downstairs out of the wind and cold. Last of the provisioning had been done, laundry washed, water topped off, and deck secured. It was time to go....We slipped off the mooring ball yesterday morning at 4 am to make the 17th street bridge opening at 4:30 then headed out to open ocean. So many lights in the distance and so the task at hand was to determine which direction they were headed and what they were. Anyone who has been on the ocean at night knows how disoriented you can get with the lights. We finally determined one set of lights which were attached to a very large cruise ship was moving towards us on our starboard side as a large cargo ship was coming at us on our port side. Throw in the extra small fishing vessels and various other boats and it made for a nail biting exit. What time was sunrise again?.....Things are so much easier when you can see. As we entered the Gulf Stream we knew right away as our speed increased a bit but not what we were expecting. We had the sails up and settled into the day. The winds were anywhere from 5 to 20 knots and the seas weren’t bad. All through the Gulf Stream there were just swells and perhaps 3 to 4 foot waves. Don’t quote me as I am a horrible judge of that. Once we exited the stream on the other side the winds and seas were beginning to pick up as forecasted but soon we were able to spot the water tower on west end and knew that soon we would be there. Our estimation was that we would make it by 4 or 4:30 still enough time to make it to customs to check in before they closed at 5pm. About that time we get a call from FinnIrish, our buddy boat stating that their engine had died and they were going to try and fix the problem which they believed to be a fuel filter. Dirk and I changed our course back to them and it was soon apparent that it wasn’t going to start so we slowed a bit as they followed under sail power alone. Knowing they could not get into the marina without power they arranged for a tow to meet them outside the channel. Dangit, we weren’t going to make customs today. Oh well, I hoisted the quarantine flag up and got lines ready as we circled Ellie and Jim waiting with them till the tow boat arrived. Soon they were hooked up and we followed them into the channel and then to the marina. Once they were secure and we were docked we found that indeed customs had stayed open. I don’t know if it was for us or because there were several other boats coming in behind us, we didn’t care. So Dirk scurried off the boat and headed to customs, passports, documentation and cash in hand. After that and checking us into the marina he headed back to the boat and we did a quick change of clothes and set out to find food. We were starving and grumpy and tired from the day so food was consumed and we retired back to the boat for a very early evening. So today is day one in the Bahamas, the wind is howling and its cloudy but we made it here. I’m ready to go grab a shower and get off this boat to take a look see around a bit. Depending on weather we may not get out of here till Friday. The winds are forecast to be strong for several days as yet another cold front passes. Our next destination is Great Sale Cay (pronounced Key) so before we leave here I will give a heads up and now since we are in the Bahamas internet will be where I can get it. The photo with this post is of our buddy boat at sunrise.