Great Sail to Powell Cay
Sunny, Wind E 8 knots
12/06/2013, Great Sail
Another traveling day was needed to get closer to the center of the Abacos. Again we started at 7:15 a.m. We rounded Great Sail heading west, north and finally east. The weather forecast for the day was a high pressure system giving us fresh breezes in the NW Bahamas. There was also a Small Craft Advisory out, but that was mostly for the US East Coast and Gulf Stream. We feel blessed that we had such a great crossing window. It is amazing that we started on December 1st and were on the Bank of the Bahamas by December 4th. Three days! Many boats had been waiting weeks in West Palm for the same weather window we took. It pays to watch the weather and to be extra vigilant. This year the cold fronts were much closer together and more frequent in December. They occurred almost twice a week.
So our winds were mostly E and SE today. They average around 10 knots. The seas were 1-2 feet. Of course, we had to motor all the way as we were heading directly into the wind. Not many boats traveled today. Other boats left before us. We only saw two other boats, both power boats.
Heading down to Powell Cay, we passed the Center of the World Rock. It is a well known landmark. We also saw several "fish muds" on the Little Bahama Bank. The fish tend to stir up the water as they feed off of the bottom and make it look like it is a shallow spot. But it really isn't. I can remember our first trip to the Bahamas (over 25 years ago) it spooked us a bit. Now we trust our charts and our depth sounder. As we approached Angel fish Point we saw that a sailboat had dragged up on the rocks from Allens/Pensacola. It looked like it had been there a long time.
After eight hours we were ready to pull into one of favorite spots, Powell Cay. It was inviting for us as we have many family memories of great times here. There were only two boats here today, one Canadian sailboat and us. A very quiet anchorage--It's great to be in the Bahamas.
We are looking forward to our radio contact with Rich and Linda at 6:30 p.m. on 4009.
Then a restful night is ahead. The winds have slowed down and wave action is minimal.
Mangrove to Great Sail
Partly Sunny; Winds E 8 knots, Air Temp. 73 degrees; Water Temp. 73 degrees
12/05/2013, Mangrove Cay
After a great night sleep in a very calm anchorage, the winds were about 8 knots. Mangrove offered enough protection and off the beaten track. We departed at 8:15 a.m. We noticed that two other boats had also anchored there for the night.
In the morning I checked in with the Cruiseheimer's Net to give our Boat Under Way info and I sent an email to our children via Winlink to let them know we safely arrived in the Bahamas.
I also wanted to note that the pole at Mangrove was no longer there. I can't remember if it was there two years ago. But definitely it was not visible this trip.
Today is 73 degrees in the morning and sunny. We put on our shirts and shorts, and tucked our cold weather clothes/ weather gear away. We are ready to head to Great Sail. We traveled about 5.6 knots and on and easterly heading. The Wind was E 11-12 knots.
We arrived at Great Sail at 12:30. We were the first boat to arrive. We were joined by 7 other boats, First Light being one of them.
Sunny, SSW switching to SSE 12 knots
12/04/2013, Lake Worth, Florida
All our systems are a "go" and the weather window looks good! It's 6:15 a.m. and Steve says " Let's go!" I quickly washed the breakfast dishes and stowed away all loose articles. We departed our anchorage and were on our way clear of the inlet by 7:00 a.m. Sunrise was at 6:53 so we had the advantage of visibility. The temperature was 65 degrees and sunny. Forecast was for 7 to 11 knots SSE with 2 to 3' waves. Excellent conditions for making the Gulf Stream crossing.
There was another boat also leaving at the same time. I gave them a quick call and they were John and Barbara on First Light from Vero Beach. They were headed to West End. We were headed to a point 2 nm south Mangrove Cay, our destination for the day.
To our delight we had SW winds 10 to 14 kn off the coast in the vicinity of the gulf stream where they backed to the SSE as forecasted. The seas were about 2-3 feet with occasional 4 foot wave. Who could ask for anything better! Our first position was at 26 45/70W:079 30.77 W traveling at 7.5 knots (Great for us!) The SOG was 8.3 and the COG was 97 M.
Everything was going pretty well. About 11:00 we saw a huge ship heading our way. We stayed our course until it approached a little to close for comfort. We slowed down and altered our course in order to pass the Ship Val Verde, Trieste behind his stern. We never argue with a big ship and always pass to their stern. By 11:28 we were back on course 94 M, 7.6 knots. 026 47.58N: 079 25.91W 19 miles to go.
Time for lunch! I made left turkey sandwiches and had Patty's pumpkin square for dessert. They were delicious! Can't believe we are more than half way across. This trip is looking like our fastest we have made.
Six miles to go at 1:20 p.m! 26 52.75N: 079 12.18W The COG 84M and traveling at 8 knots.
We are on the bank at 2:09 p.m. The change in the water color is remarkable! 26 54.55 N: 079 05.52W It turns from deep purplish blue to bright teal green, crystal clear.
Only four more hours to go! We arrived at Mangrove Cay at 6:15 p.m. Just in time to make our radio contact with our friends Rich and Linda, s/v Side by Side.
Great to be in the Bahamas!
My new sleep system is comprised of two king sized comforters cut to the size of the berth. I actually cut them a little larger so that it would allow room for two bodies to lie inside. I used one all year comforter and the other a little lighter weight because we plan to cruise in the tropics.
In order to fasten them together I sewed in two sleeping bag zippers one on each side and another parka zipper for the bottom. My comforter is used in a V-berth. So depending on what size your berth is you will need to adjust the zipper length.
Next, the sheets are also cut to the shape of the berth. I made two sets of sheets using two king sets of sheets. I did have to remove the elastic on the bottom sheets. I also sewed Velcro at the bottom of the sheets and inside the comforters. This will keep the sheets from moving up.
Getting into them you can unzip the sides part way down and then once inside you zip them up. If you get two warm just open the sides a little.
I also made a bag that you can use to roll up the comforter inside so it leaves your berth very neat in appearance. It is like a sleeping bag cover.
Depending on the outside temperature you can sleep on the heavier and use the lighter on top in warm temperatures. Then switch them around for cooler temperatures.
Arrival in Lake Worth
Partly cloudy turning to sunny later in the day; Winds light and variable
12/03/2013, Lake Worth
Filled with a little anxiety of seven bridge openings we started our day once again at first light. We had approximately 30 miles to get to Lake Worth. There were seven bridges some opening on demand others opening on the hour and half hour. These bridges are challenging because some of them you need to deal with inlets which have currents and tides, time restrictions, not to mention boat traffic going North and South.
We opted to take the ICW route because we didn't want to leave Ft. Pierce at 3 in the morning and deal with slack tide and a night ride down the coast.
We used to do it all the time, but now we prefer day crossings out of Lake Worth.
So back to the bridges we checked our timing arriving at Hobe Sound at 9:30 we made it through the three Jupiter bridges without any problems. They are the ones where you deal with tides and current.
The next three we progressed on schedule making all their restricted openings.
Feeling relieved as we passed through the last one Parker Bridge we decided to top off our fuel and water in preparation for the crossing.
Steve did an excellent job of handling Kristali !
We made this leg in approximately six hours.
We are now anchored South of Peanut Island with several other boats. We checked out our watermaker - works great!
We secured the dinghy. Checked the weather! Looks pretty good!
So we just may be on our way tomorrow! 😎😎
Making our way to Lake Worth
Cloudy, Wind NW 14
12/02/2013, Jensen Beach
Bright and early start for Kristali this morning at 7:00 a. m. We slept pretty good using the new sleep system. We were warm and cozy. I like it because in the morning it just rolls up and slips easily into its bag.
So we listened to Chris Parker, a weather guru for cruisers. However, he was not easily heard today. Lots of static and noise on the 4045 band.
We also pick up weather on the NOAA site for Mariners and our local VHF. When we are not able to use our cell phone we will use Winlink via the SSB.
We rolled out the jib early on to give us a boost. We easily made 6+ knots with the help of our engine. We bypassed Vero Beach City Marina, one of our usual stops, because we wanted to proceed to Fort Pierce or better yet Jensen Beach. As we passed Sebastian Inlet the tide pushed us an extra knot. Then when we came to Fort Pierce we also got a boost. It registered 8.2 knots with the current there.
As we were approaching Jensen Beach and we came upon our newly made friends Judy and Steve on Bentana. As we passed them with a quick hello and short conversation, they decided to anchor with us at Jensen Beach. They too are also heading for Lake Worth.