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'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?
Ready to launch the dingy and go fishing?

  We are prepared for all eventualities.


Pat Tillett said...

Sounds great to me! Permission to come aboard, Cap'n?

Happy to see that your out of the cold weather and having a good time. Can't wait to get further updates...

Unknown said...

NIce entry, a pleasure to read.

So does this mean you have to reapply for the remaining 30days to stay in the Bahamas?

Have fun as I am sure you are.
Love Chrissy.

Unknown said...

Is your pup a Westie?
I have me one of those. :-)

Anonymous said...

Awww, your dog looks like an awesome companion. Great photos too lovely lady. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Unknown said...

such a journey! Congrats on the crossing!

Veronica Lee said...

How fun!! Can I come aboard??! Love the photos, Rosemary!!!

•°°• IcyBC •°°• said...

You've such a fun and great adventure, and your photos are just so nice to see! Have fun, Rosemary, and I want a fresh lobster!

Lucy said...

Must admit I am a bit of chicken so I would have been like Nelson at the end, sick and scared but it sounds like going through it was well worth it. 90 days of fun and maybe more?? How fun and Are you going try to get those additional 30 days?

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

Looks like heaven - except for the bucking and pitching part. Love that you get to nap and the just look out to sea with your captain and Nelson. What do you do when he has to (you know) when you are not on dry land? Figures I'd think of something mundane like that to ask. I'm just too practical.