Thursday, January 6, 2011

Crossing the Gulf Stream

Ship Shape and in Bristol Fashion, we were on our way as soon as the sun was up yesterday morning.  
Clear skies, calm, following seas and light winds made for a perfect day to cross the Gulf Stream to Old Bahama Bay Marina in West End. 

Nelson settled in for the duration.  He never complains, but he does let us know that he is enduring this business we call fun.

Five miles off shore from Stuart Inlet in Florida, the chart plotter and depth finder show us in 56.1 feet of water and no land in sight. 



In the middle of the stream, the depth finder stopped recording after 486 feet.




For several hours, there was nothing to look at:  no land, no boats, no birds, no weather, nothing at all.







Not even anything to see on the chart plotter.  Thank heavens for an autopilot that keeps us on track, even taking into account the cross current of the Stream that wants to push us off course.


After a little one-hour nap on my part, a trip to the galley to make popcorn on Captain's part and counting the hours til it would be over on Nelson's part, we were 15 miles out from our destination.  The wind changed, the waves grew and the boat began to buck, pitch and yaw.  I HATE the yaws! 
The first 4.5 hours were a piece of cake.  The last 40 minutes were miserable.

Somebody got sick...


Somebody tried the ostrich method of hiding from danger.



See how you can see water and sky in the picture above?
Now check out the whiteout conditions as the waves slapped us in the face.


We slogged on to the entrance of Old Bahama Bay Marina in West End, taking the assault broadside.  Wave after wave slammed into the hull and sprayed up over the fly bridge, 25 feet from the waterline. 

Land Ho!
Safe haven, and not a moment too soon.  Nelson was about to lose all hope.

Clearing customs was a routine formality, allowing us 90 days stay.  We had asked for 120, but the officer here is not authorized to give us more, or so he says.  The $300.00 cruising permit/fishing license was duly handed over, forms, letters, certificates stamped, we were deemed fit for admission, and Mr. Customs Official was back to his engrossing soap opera in no time.  Bureaucracy is the same everywhere,



as is solicitation.  Want to buy some (not so fresh, almost dead) lobster, lady?
Then give me some chips or chocolate bar.

He settled for an apple fresh from Publix in Florida and left us in peace.

Our first goal had been to make a safe crossing and that was accomplished.  We knew weather was coming and we took the "window of opportunity" we were given.  Now we sit on this side of the Gulf, waiting for the next chance to venture further.  Today, thunder, lightning and 40 knot winds are keeping us inside reading, staying in contact with the home office, doing laundry, playing the ukulele, laying courses for Lucaya and then on to Nassau.  Storms are storms, relatively speaking, but here we have rain, not snow, blowing palm trees not snow drifts and fellow boaters to share the fun with. 

Let me help pull those lines. 
Can you push us off the dock enough to position some more fenders? 
What do you read on your weather map?

It's not the destination that counts...it's the journey.  The adventure has already begun.  So glad you are along for the ride.  Drop us a line, leave a comment and let us know:

Are you getting sea sick?
Hungry?
 Sunburned?
Ready to launch the dingy and go fishing?

  We are prepared for all eventualities.



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