The Dreaded Crossing
28 March 2011
In previous posts I’ve tried to describe the perils and challenges of the crossing of the Gulf Stream from Bahamas to Florida. There is much planning involved including careful and incessant monitoring of the anticipate weather conditions, boat preparations, safety conditions, etc, There is a lot of hype (justifiably) about this sixty or so miles of sea but it’s a force to be reckoned with. Recall that the Gulf Stream is a river of warm water which meanders along the coast of the US, most closely to Florida. It moves north at three or more knots and with an opposing wind creates violent and dangerous seas. Weather is unpredictable and once you’re committed there is often no turning around.
We believe we have a good “window” for our crossing and head out early from Bimini with anticipation but trepidations. It’s a bit lumpy but the winds are light. As we work our way over to the US, the seas build but there remains almost no wind which is strange. We maintain radio contact with Audacious but also with other boats which we have either met or heard on the radio. As we get closer to the US, the seas get lumpier and there are more and more vessels out here including larger freighters plying their way up and down the US coast. We’ve done plenty of coastal cruising and with our instruments including careful monitoring of vessels on our radar, can track where we are relative to these behemoths which seem to be virtually stationary but in reality are moving three times our speed.
Despite the lumpiness, the transit is uneventful and we approach Lake Worth (West Palm Beach) around 5:00 pm and work our way into this busy harbour and find a good place to anchor and chill out.
But, a Captain’s day is never done and once the boat is at anchor and settled in I have to settle up with US Immigration and Customs and Border Patrol. But that’ll be another story.
We’re relived to be back across but already miss the tranquility and beauty of the Bahamas……