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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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3000 the slow way... Happy Birthday Luke
Currently at 7:53am: Partly sunny, winds ENE 15, 69*
02/09/2009, Ft. Lauderdale (getting ready to leave)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUKE! My goodness the birthdays and years just fly by... By the time I blink again, all you guys will be graduating from school and starting college (are you ready for this Jack?). Time keeps slipping by faster and faster...

Well from Saugatuck to Miami we've gone approximately 3000 miles - the slowwww way. The only way slower - would be walking and we actually met someone doing this in NY. Hmmm... actually as I recall there was also a walker that went faster than we did along the canal system LOL.

The plan is to head to Miami after checking out this morning.

More later...

Las Olas: The Waves
74*, partly cloudy, ENE winds 20mph
02/08/2009, Ft Lauderdale

Wow - we've been in Florida for 2 months now, (and Wayne says "Florida hasn't been the same - it's become part of the cold climates LOL). It's a long coastline with attractive harbors that we've stayed to long in. But there's nowhere we have to be for now.
Once we leave Florida and cross over to the Bahamas, it's my understanding that my phone and Internet service will probably be non-existent to perhaps spotty (spotty as far as Internet). If we had SSB, we'd probably have our email/internet to post journal entries and get email, but since we don't, the postings and contact will probably be spotty. Our limited budget won't allow many non-emergency phone calls (heck our phones won't work there anyway) so family/friends - use the blog comments or email if you need to make contact so when we can access the blog - I'll know to call home.

The marina headquarters was packed this afternoon. All of the Billfish Tournament participants were all standing around waiting for the results of the contest to be tallied up. It was interesting looking at all their questioning faces as we walked past to the showers. It was really a festive atmosphere especially around the main tent were the food was being served up and the beer running freely. Some of the boats that had entered the competition were amazing. They ran from the little fishing boats to the large megafishers. One boat we saw had 4-300hp engines on the back. The people tallying the results had the windows blocked out in the meeting room so you couldn't see into it, and they were also using the laundry room too. I asked one of the guys in the laundry room if they had a good turn out this year and he said definitely better than last year. They have this every year at this marina so he laughed and told me this so I could plan ahead for next year LOL

The trolley driver that took us into town today was a happy soul - singing and joking with us and his other patrons. I asked him if he knew what "Las Olas" meant (we're at the Las Olas Marina off Las Olas Street, close to downtown Las Olas). It feels like it's a term I should know but don't recall from my Spanish classes. He said depending on context it means "the waves". I thought it very appropriate for this area of Ft. Lauderdale with the waves always in motion. You can hear them at night if the ports are open.
We bought a couple more Cubans (love these sandwiches!) and a couple of steaks for dinner. I was going to make some salad and mushrooms to go with dinner but after having the Cubans for lunch, neither of us was very hungry so we just had the steaks and shrooms for dinner.

Time for a little reading before lights out... Tomorrow we head for Miami.

Home is where the birds play or the boat lays
72, cloudy, winds ENE 20mph
02/07/2009, Ft Lauderdale, FL

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Coffee, juice, French toast and sausage for breakfast and then we caught the trolley into Ft. Lauderdale to the Publix store. I made a lemon chicken last night for dinner using lemon jello. It turned out really well so I decided that I'd better get some more so that I can make it again in the future! We picked up a pot roast for me to experiment with for dinner tonight using the pressure cooker. I wasn't to sure about this - all I could think of were my mom's pot roasts on Sunday's. She used to use a pressure cooker and the meat never had a taste to it. I was pleased with the results though - so will try other pressure cooker recipes in the future too. From what I've read, the pressure cooker is a great help in the nautical environment and with an alcohol stove and heading into a warmer (???) clime; I'll take the help!

There was a couple on the beach today feeding the pigeons and gulls. It reminded me of when I used to run out to the store to buy loaves of bread to feed the birds - only you could tell the woman did this a lot. The birds would line up on her arms taking the bread from her hands. I thought it was pretty cool until I started thinking about all the birds that surrounded her. That was a lot of poop and a possible gift of lice from the birds (in her hair, clothes, etc.). I figured I'd just take pictures this time and not join in on feeding the birds. That's all I need - bring lice into the boat.

Later, I was sitting in the cockpit (strange name - wonder who first came up with that) watching another sailboat come in at sundown. While the man was picking up the mooring, the woman was at the wheel nervously looking all around her - at the depth sounder, the neighboring boats and her general position in the mooring field. As I continued to watch her, I could see myself in her and read her thoughts - she was nervous as far as depth and position; I could visualize the thoughts running through her head - the same or similar to mine: It looks really tight in here... are we going to swing into the other boats? When the tide goes out, do we have enough water under us, or, are we going to accidentally careen the boat (lay it on it's side)? I could see all these thoughts going through her head, and as nervous as she seemed, I was comforted in the thought that I'm not the only one that goes through all the thoughts and emotions when coming into a new harbor that's unfamiliar. We've done a lot of that this year. Each place is new, with new bottom contours and compositions. Each anchoring dance, even though I have the same partner, feels like a new dance and I never seem to lose the apprehensions "will the anchor hold? Do we have the right set? Is there enough scope? Are we going to snag something and not be able to retrieve the anchor?" "Is that other boat going to drag into us?" I wonder if the apprehensions will ever leave me? How long before I feel totally at home. Home... At home, in our homeport, I never really thought about most of those things. We always came into the same territories, and you pretty much knew what to expect. Here I find that the charts aren't always right, and anchorages aren't always readily available or if they are, they aren't always accessible. While the anchorage on the chart shows 8-15 ft available for you to anchor in, it doesn't show the shoaling or tell you that the depth to get into the anchorage is only 4 ft - bump, oops, sorry hon - didn't see that shallow area on the chart... wait - there is no shallow area on the chart... sigh... The good news is, that the bumps here are relatively soft - mud, sand, etc... As we head into the coral areas though I can see where Wayne might become more apprehensive too. Coral heads can do a great deal of damage to the boat... The good news is - I hear the water is crystal clear so we should be able to see where the coral is?

It's looking like the trough that swung down with the jet stream bringing all the cold weather with it, is going to be pushed back up north and the winds are supposed to lose their northerly component by early to midweek. Once they swing to the east, we'll watch for them to start to turn from the south and we'll head out from Miami to Bimini (Alice town). We keep watching the weather patterns. If we head out into the east winds we'll be fighting them, so a southerly component will give us a boost with the wind as well as the current from the Gulf Stream. I'm a little apprehensive in crossing the Gulf Stream. It'll be interesting to see if we can hit our destination. A little vector analysis is needed - point the boat further south than the destination we want and let the Gulf Stream move us (or crab us) northerly again across our rhumbline. Speed, distance, time, current, tides, winds...sigh 60 D ST

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