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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Saturday, February 14, 2009 Valentine’s Day Part II
(49.7 miles to travel) with a S wind 5-10mph & West Wall of the Gulf Stream ~8 nmiles E of Port Everglades
02/14/2009, Miami Beach, FL N25*47.570 W80*08.759 to Bimini

I had a problem sleeping last night - jitters maybe or noise around the area? Around 2:30 in the morning I was just laying in bed listening to all the happy drunks coming home or leaving the bars along the pier until I heard the alarm go off at 3am. Then it was time to get up and put on the coffee to start our day. After flipping on the weather and checking out the wind, wave, and pressure charts, we secured the remaining items and listened to the Coastguard to verify whether we'd be able to transit Government Cut or not. It was a "not". There were 4 cruise ships in port so we had to use the next channel around Dodge Island to get out. You're only allowed to transit Government Cut if there are one or less cruise ships in port. There was a dead calm in the Bay as we headed out and with the water flat the indication was that the Gulf Stream would friendly towards us. By the time we got under the West Venetian Causeway Bridge and around Dodge Island in the dark, it wasn't until 5:30 that we exited the channel. The approximate location of the Gulf Stream is 8 nautical miles from Port Everglades and we have about 24 miles of a current pushing us northward. I'm told it's normal to be apprehensive to cross the Gulf Stream because it can really churn, but we've picked our window very well from what I've read and heard. Exiting the channel in the dark was a little nerve-wracking. I could see a cruise ship coming in from the Atlantic and as we passed it in the narrow channel I felt like an "ant" next to it. We're so small and as we pass it I realize the trouble we could be in if we don't stay vigilant for freighters and cruise ships. It was huge! I could see people up top and disco type lights in a large area on an upper floor.

Around 6 am as we'd exited the channel and entered the Atlantic, I heard Surprise (the Island Packet near us at the Venetian Causeway anchorage) come on the radio asking for info on the Government Cut Channel - whether they could transit it or not (no). So they were also still leaving this morning. I hailed them on the radio and we chatted briefly. It sounds like they may anchor off Bimini the first night, then along the Bank somewhere before heading over to Chub Cay and Nassau. We'll look for them along the way. I called Wendell (thought he'd be up going to work) and Penelope between 6:30 and 7:00 as we left shore and left a message with them then tried to call Nathanial back too (he left a message last night). Once we leave the coast behind, our cell phones won't work anymore.

7:00am Position: N 25*46.051 W080*08.759 - Beautiful Sunrise this morning - I love sunrise. I've never seen water this color before. It's like a deep royal blue-purple and seems unreal like somebody dumped a purple and blue color pallet into the ocean and dyed it this strange and wonderful color. It's hard to describe the color - a deep indigo? The winds are stil nil - so to speak with waves of 1 ft or less on long period swells. Wayne's stomach was getting a little queasy so he took some Dramamine and I gave him some oatmeal cookies and cracker jacks. I've always found that something sweet or tomato juice helps my stomach and I don't think tomato juice helps his so we'll try the sweet route.

8:00am Position: N 25*46.583 W079*57.940 - not much has changed out here - I watch Miami, Miami Beach, Hollywood and Ft. Lauderdale shrinking along the horizon and can see one or two keys further south. The water is still strangely indigo blue/purple. I'm not sure why but I wonder what color the water on Mars would look like if it had oceans open to the air...

8:30am. Our speed has dropped off from 6.1 knots to 4.2/3.9 knots. I'd say we're definitely in the current of the Gulf Stream! Miami is getting smaller to the west each time I look for it. Wayne went below to make sure our pump out is working. If it's not - we'd have to head back for a pump out and a quick fix since there are no pump outs to be found in the Bahamas.

8:45am. Alls well, Wayne's napping. I was looking at the water and saw something shiny and transparent floating towards us. I thought - oh oh, somebody lost a plastic pop or water bottle and figured, as it got closer that if I could snag it I'd get it out of the water. As it got closer it looked more like an inflated shiny transparent balloon with spines or fins outlined on it. It took a minute or two for me to figure out that it was a Man O War jellyfish out sailing on the breeze and I had to laugh! It reminded me of the old blow up balloons we used to make as kids - where you put a wad of plastic on the end of a straw and blow it up, then wrap it on the end to seal in the air. This guy was shiny transparent on top and a heavier bluish black towards the bottom where he was floating on the water.

9:00am Position: N 25*45.882 W079*52.375 The waves are a little larger but no big deal. The Man O War's keep sailing by - some the size of grapefruits and some of them are wee small quarter sized - all blowing along the ocean skimming along looking for their meals. I can still see Miami but it's getting difficult to pick out my familiar buildings.

10:00am Position: N 25*45.164 W079*47.559 somewhere between 10 and 10:30 I was looking around I couldn't see any land. Miami has disappeared - it's now just an imprinted memory in my mind. There's nothing on the horizon in any direction. It's hazy with cumulus clouds building in the sky. Big puffy white cotton balls on a turquoise sky with satiny gentle waves a deep royal blue in color.

11:00am Position: N 25*44.178 W079*42.687
12:00pm Position: N 25*43.073 W079*38.026

01:00pm Position: N 25*42.723 W079*32.460 The water is now a beautiful sapphire blue. This was a beautiful day to cross the Gulf Stream. I can barely see trees on the horizon. They look like little blobs along the horizon. Our depth here, according to the charts, is 2693 meters at 1:30pm.

2:00pm Position: N 25*42.705 W079*26.636 High tide in Bimini was 11:25am (2.3 ft) and low tide is at 5:37pm (-0.2 ft)


Bounding into Bimini
82* Sunny
02/14/2009, Bimini, Bahamas

Okay It's almost 5:30 and we are now tied up at Bimini Docks. The crossing was wonderful. Waves were less than 2 feet, swells had a long period. I didn't see dolphins today but did see quite a few Man O Wars floating on the water catching the wind to sail across the water. They reminded me of the old bubble plastic ballons that we used to make as kids (you put a glob on the end of a straw and blow then seal). They were very shiny like a bubble on top and heavy on the color towards the bottom where they ride in the water. I also saw quite a few flying fish as they scurried out of our way. They actually flap their wing/fins and fly through the air. They reminded me of little streamlined hummingbirds.

I ran aground trying to get into the channel to enter into Bimini but it was sand and not coral so not bad. A guy came out to help show where the deeper water was.

My phone doesn't work at all, but in checking in the dockmaste told us that I could use the internet so... Just to let everyone know - WE MADE IT!!! We are officially in the Bahamas after customs clears us in. They're not here now (we were told they'd be here until 6pm but they must have left before 5 when we got there) Wayne will have to clear us in tomorrow.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Nathaniel - I tried calling you back before we left this morning. My phone won't work here so email me. Big hug to you, Allie, Tiffany, Tom, etc.... A.

02/18/2009 | Stephanie
So excited you finally made it! Have a cold tropical drink for me! Love you both....

Erma
It looks Good - We're up and ready
winds wnw 8, Temp 68
02/14/2009, Miami Fl

Okay at 3 am it still looks pretty good here - we're heading out at 4 am. The approximate location of the Gulf Stream is 8 nautical miles from Port Everglades;

Happy Valentines Day to everyone - Sending love...
The First Mate and Capt'n

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