Madcap Sailing

22 May 2017 | Whittaker Creek, Oriental, NC
15 May 2017 | Boat in Oriental, crew in New Orleans and Nova Scotia
26 April 2017 | Oriental, NC
26 April 2017 | Oriental, NC
20 April 2017 | Ocean Isle Marina, Ocean Beach, NC at Mile 335.6
17 April 2017 | Dewees Creek, near Charleston, NC
14 April 2017 | St Simons Island
12 April 2017 | Fernandina Beach, FL
11 April 2017 | St Augustine, FL
07 April 2017 | Vero Beach, Florida
03 April 2017 | Ft Pierce, FL
30 March 2017 | Ft Pierce, Florida
28 October 2016 | Madcap in Ft Pierce, Florida and crew in Halifax, Nova Scotia
06 April 2016 | Riverside Marina, Ft. Pierce, Florida
23 March 2016 | Riverside Marina, Ft. Pierce, Florida
20 March 2016 | Vero Beach, Florida
16 March 2016 | Vero Beach, Florida

Our Last Stretch of the ICW

05 December 2007 | Lake Worth, FL
Florida is a strange kind of a place. Mind you, this is a purely personal opinion based on one trip down the ICW. The northern part is interesting and mostly friendly; this last stretch has been interesting yes, but in a different way. There is not as much diversity in the rivers and land cuts, and the steering is mostly straight ahead, looking from marker to marker. We passed under far more bridges on Tuesday, including the PGA bridge right beside a lovely looking golf course - and right around the corner from where Tiger Woods reportedly keeps his boat.

We passed the 1000 statute mile point about 11:30 on Tuesday so we toasted the milestone and ate some chocolate!

We passed more estate style properties - but mostly without the property. Many filled almost the whole lot. Several had huge screened in portions of the yard. We are not talking screened in porch - we're talking screened in yard! To be fair, we also passed many lovely homes with beautiful landscaped gardens. In places, little canals ran off perpendicular to the ICW and they were lined with palm trees and houses and docks. Most of the land along this stretch of the waterway is highly developed - gone are the marshes and wild areas, although the wonderful assortment of birds is still present, and Jim spotted another alligator.

Most of the boats around seemed to be powerboats, and most with fishing apparatus, some of them very expensive, others simple runabouts. On the weekends, the fisherfolk roared past us in their fast boats, or sat in their little boats just off the channel.

The ICW is a narrow channel that runs down the centre of the rivers and is sometimes silted in. We bumped on a shoal going around a corner - at Jupiter Inlet. The buoys are frequently moved to indicate deepest water, but still there are sometimes shoals that run right across the channel. The good thing is that they are mostly sand so they are not damaging, and can often be backed off or plowed through. We even hit one in the dinghy as we crossed the Indian River in our futile effort to find a dock at Fort Pierce.

We have noticed that cruising powerboats almost always slow down to pass us, while local powerboats rarely do. Cars do not stop to allow pedestrians to cross, and people don't wave as often. Just as in Fort Pierce, here in Lake Worth we found a distinct lack of enthusiasm about making it convenient for anchorers to come ashore. We feel a bit like we are riffraff that they'd rather keep off their land. It is a strange approach for a town with expensive homes and cars and the kind of stores where we cruisers can spend a lot of money.

Soon after we arrived in the anchorage here, we dinghied over to the Old Port Cove Marina to visit Mary and Blair and find out where the dinghy dock was. They told us there wasn't one - the marina doesn't really encourage people to come ashore. Really! We asked about a dinghy dock close to a grocery store, and Mary gave us directions. We set off in the indicated direction, trying a channel or two before we found the right one, because of course it wasn't marked. There is no dock. The procedure is to run the dinghy up on a tiny sand beach beside a bridge. If there are lots of other boats, which there were when we got there, one must jump out and wade ashore. The dinghies must be locked to a wire running along a fence - because theft is apparently common here. Then one climbs the bank, crosses the highway and walks to the grocery store. I could not believe it. If we were in the Bahamas, I'd laugh and think it part of the charm. Here in this city where boats costing millions of dollars are moored, and where hundreds of cruisers set off to cross the Gulf Stream, it was annoying, ridiculous and beyond my understanding.

I made a call to the marina this morning to inquire how much they charge people at anchor to come ashore to do laundry and have showers, and where we should land our dinghy. The gentleman's reply was: "We don't allow that, ma'am." Their ad in the boating books says "providing spectacular service since 1972". When I said this did not seem like spectacular service to me, he said they offer services only to people who come into their slips. I tried one more question: "Would you please tell me where it IS possible for me to do laundry? I'm sure you would have that information since you must get lots of calls like this." The answer: "No ma'am. I have no idea and you are this only person this year who has asked that question." Amazing. We asked at the North Palm Beach Marina where we went for fuel and the answer was the same. No services offered and no idea where they might be offered. There were a couple of Laundromats one time but they closed.

Jim will tell you in another posing about his bizarre experience getting fuel.

Well - enough of the rant. The weather is hot and sunny. The anchorage is spacious. The lights on the buildings around sparkle and twinkle. Our SSB is working well enough to allow us to listen to Chris Parker give his morning weather report and answer questions of cruisers who sign on to his service. We got a call on the VHF radio this afternoon from David Allester - formerly of Little Gidding (a sister ship of Madcap). He is in Florida, playing about on his nephew's boat. David and Eileen (Quinn) are friends who have encouraged us since we met them in Belleville when they first returned from cruising, and it was great to hear his call. We picked up a load of needed (or would that be wanted?) items at the West Marine store. In fact we borrowed a little fold up box on wheels from Mary and then decided it might be practical to have one of our own. They were handy for toting jugs of engine oil and diesel, and that other liquid - the one we drink.

We did the last of the provisioning at the Publix store this morning. I'm happy to report that the people there were really helpful and friendly. The prices were reasonable enough and we are now fully loaded. We have tried to find a happy medium of having onboard what might be more difficult to find in the less developed Cays of the Abacos and Exumas, without getting caught up in a frenzy of carrying everything we could possibly need for the whole trip. The stores in Marsh Harbour apparently have everything we would find on the mainland. Jim and I love to experiment and eat what is available locally so we'll carry some staples and leave the rest open to possibility. We have our quarantine flag to hoist when we get inside Bahamian waters and before we have checked in. We have the Bahamian courtesy flag for after that, our passports, money to pay the entry fee, and enough food to make sure we don't starve. We may be wearing grubby clothes and be a little unkempt, but tomorrow we'll swim in crystal clear water, do the washing in a bucket and hang it on the rail.

The weather report for tonight is favourable for a sail across the Gulf Stream to the Abacos so our plan is to head out with Strathspey around 10 or 11 pm. A number of boats have left this anchorage to head out near the inlet so as to be ready for an easy trip out after dark, and we will do the same shortly. The wind will be up and there will be some waves but Chris Parker the weather guru says it will be a rare opportunity to sail across rather than motoring. We'll do it at night so we land during daylight. If the wind seems too strong when we get out there, we'll turn around and come back in. Otherwise we should be nicely tucked into Great Sale Cay by this time tomorrow afternoon.

I'll do a posting afterward to let you all know how it went. If you don't see anything here for a day or two, it just means that we have not yet found a wifi connection. Unfortunately the Winlink position report system is on the blink again so that's not reliable.

Vessel Name: Madcap
Vessel Make/Model: Bayfield 36
Hailing Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Crew: James D Bissell (Jim) and Elizabeth Lusby (Beth)
About: Beth and Jim have spent the last several winters sailing southern waters on s/v Madcap. They love Halifax in the summer, but plan to spend the winters exploring warmer places - currently the Guatemala, Belize, Honduras area.
The Madcap crew left Ottawa in 2007 to go sailing in the Bahamas. After a highly successful year, they returned to Canada, settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in the fall of 2009 they left to do it again! Journey #3 (2010/11) took them back to the Bahamas and then on to Cuba for several weeks [...]
Madcap's Photos - Mad Cap Sailing (Main)
19 Photos
Created 15 May 2017
20 Photos
Created 20 April 2017
62 Photos
Created 30 March 2017
11 Photos
Created 6 April 2016
13 Photos
Created 6 April 2016
5 Photos
Created 6 April 2016
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Created 9 March 2016
11 Photos
Created 9 March 2016
23 Photos
Created 25 February 2016
18 Photos
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20 Photos
Created 19 February 2016
7 Photos
Created 9 February 2016
51 Photos
Created 24 November 2015
12 Photos
Created 28 October 2015
16 Photos
Created 9 October 2015
24 Photos
Created 3 December 2013
our Oct/Nov 2013 trip to New Zealand
36 Photos
Created 22 November 2013
9 Photos
Created 20 January 2013
Guatemala pics starting Nov 22, 2012
43 Photos
Created 6 December 2012
54 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 8 November 2012
trip to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park (via Las Vegas)
23 Photos
Created 4 November 2012
20 Photos
Created 1 November 2012
18 Photos
Created 12 February 2012
43 Photos
Created 29 January 2012
62 Photos
Created 19 May 2011
21 Photos
Created 19 May 2011
76 Photos
Created 19 May 2011
8 Photos
Created 19 May 2011