Lake Sylvia had dark low scudding clouds and predictions for waterspouts and how to avoid them. As I came out on deck Easter morning, a large dead fish slowly floated by. Our friends on True Colors seemed to have a rollicking good time getting to Biscayne Bay in preparation for the jump over to the Bahamas. A half dozen wackos in inflatables serpentined through the anchorage with bunny ears on their heads. Our wind instrument decided to send erroneous information about wind speed down from the masthead. Oh…and the SSB crapped out.
Oh, the signs have been there for the past few days, but how can you interpret this tangled mess? Just as we began to settle down into the usual EV response to too much conflicting information, which is to make Dark and Stormies and try to relax, an old friend of Marce’s suggested that this evening was the time to jump. Did I mention that it was April Fools Day and dusk was about to settle over Lake Sylvia?
It must have been the fish.
I had already set up EV to weigh anchor so after taking on fuel we made the six PM 17th St Bridge opening and fought our way past the swirling mass of incoming water with a huge dredge right in the middle of the channel which kept me quite busy for a while. I finally was able to sit down and assess the situation, and before my eyes on the chart plotter screen were forty or more AIS targets, each one tagged with its name, description, course, speed, distance, nearest approach, and stuff I haven’t even discovered yet. It paid for itself last night as a behemoth cruise ship emerged from shore aimed right at us. It slowly changed course, because our information is being broadcast to them as well, and went by at a respectful distance. Whew! This is a busy patch of water. At one point we had six cruise ships vying for the same real estate as us. Good to know what they’re up to.
Traditional piloting would have you angling into a current to compensate for the push of said current, although you don’t want to test the gulfstream too much. It was a slow slog against the stream but we found EV going directly towards our southern aiming point, and because of the southern air flow the crossing was remarkably calm, for the Gulfstream. Izzy would have been terrified. Our speed was cut in half so we headed more North to allow the stream to lift and push us and the alternate plan was set in motion. The Berry Islands or maybe even Spanish Wells! Up and over into the deep water of Providence channel, it’s just that the weather would have to hold.
Weather…we’re still having a lot of trouble getting reliable weather information without our big SSB.
In the morning we were greeted with that wonderful electric steel blue Atlantic Ocean water, but little wind. Spanish Wells or bust. We shut down one engine and left the jib up for a little lift and steadying. The jib is working much better now with the reworked control lines and is our go-to sail when we don’t know if there is enough wind to keep the mainsail happy. We don’t know if there’s enough wind because our wind instrument has gone walk-about. To top it off there seems to be talk of extreme squall lines moving through the Bahamas by Friday or Saturday, we don’t know because our piece of crap radio has gone mute. But, enough about that.
By 2:30 pm Wednesday we hooked onto our first foreign mooring buoy as boat owners. Up went the yellow Q-flag. The Q stands for quarantine and a boat entering a country must fly it until they’ve been cleared for entry by customs, immigration, health and who knows what all else.
It took about 2 hours of dinghy searching of the narrow Spanish Wells Harbour front to find the yellow cement block customs house. $300 lighter, 7 long forms and of course we had to slip our mooring ball and motor over to the custom house because David wasn’t going for no damn dinghy ride. Practice make perfect. We’re getting pretty good at picking up a mooring ball. Now that we’re cleared in, up goes the Bahamian courtesy flag.
Tomorrow we go on one of our favorite things, a scouting sortie adventure of Spanish Wells, our first foreign port.
Just a reminder. Communications will be and are a major bug in the ointment, so while we continue to blog mostly daily, getting the the blog out will be spotty at best. Photos apparently are particularly troublesome and may be added later.
Fair winds and following seas,