West End to Lake Worth Inlet at Riviera Beach, Fl
30 April 2011 | Riviera Beach Municipal Marina slip 313
Five foot swell off West End, Grand Bahama
We've been back in the USA for 4 days now and we've assimilated back into the culture with no problems. We've shopped at Target, Barnes and Noble, CVS, Publix, Starbucks, Home Depot, U Haul (for propane), West Marine, the UPS Store, and Boater's Warehouse, and eaten at Subway and Chipolte Grill. Here's a review of how we got here.
As the previous entry notes, we stayed in West End one day longer than planned due to a thunderstorm the morning of our planned departure. About a half dozen other boats suffered the same delay. So the next morning, there was a flotilla of boats chomping at the bit to head west.
No more thundershowers popped up during the night and the morning dawned bright and clear. We all headed out at about 6:30am for what promised to be an easy crossing. The early morning weather forecast predicted 12 to 15 kt SSE wind and 2 to 4 seas. The seas were a little high but otherwise the forecast was just perfect.
We weren't out of sight of West End when it became clear the forecast was wildly optimistic. The winds were more like 17 to 22 kts and the seas 5 to 7 ft. The seas were clearly going to make for a rough ride, but on the other hand, the high winds promised a fast trip to Florida. So each boat weighing the pluses and minuses, the little flotilla decided to continue on. Nobody turned back.
Continuing on turned out to be the right decision. After the first hour or two, the winds abated a few knots and the seas dropped down to 3 to 5 ft. Since we were riding with the swells, the seas were tolerable (but definitely still bumpy). The fast passage did come about. We completed the roughly 63 nm in 9 hrs averaging 7 kt. (note: the passage distance is a little longer than the rhumb line because we went southwest out of West End until reaching the Gulf Stream. This allowed for a more efficient use of the current boost while in the Gulf Steam.)
The only thing difficult with the crossing was the arrival at the marina in Lake Worth. The slip we had reserved for the night at the Riviera Beach Municipal Marina was oriented directly across the wind which was blowing about 15 kt. It took two tries and some extra dock hands to get us safely tied up.
Our first task on arrival was to clear Customs and Immigration. You must call Customs immediately on entering the US, which we did as soon as the adrenalin subsided from our docking excitement. Immigration allows a 24 hr time span for checking in but requires a face to face meeting. One of the nice things about the Riviera Beach Municipal Marina is that it is only about three blocks over to the Cruise Ship docks which has an Immigration office. We hustled over there first thing Thursday morning and after only about 10 minutes, we were officially back in good standing with the US government.
After renting a car later Thursday morning, the rest of the day was spent shopping and provisioning. We originally intended to head out late-morning on Friday to start making our way south around Miami to the Florida Keys but we finally decided that we needed a rest day. A forecast of bad weather extended the rest period to Saturday. So Sunday morning we'll be setting out to make our way down the ICW possibly stopping to anchor in Boca Raton or continuing on to a marina somewhere in the Hillsboro area.