Lake Worth and Palm Beach
16 April 2009
After our eventful entry back to the US we have the formality of another entry, the dreaded checking in with Immigration and Customs and Border Patrol. Before we came in yesterday and before the dreaded storm, we had put up our Quarantine Flag (a yellow flag which signifies that you have not cleared customs) and I tried to call the famous 1-800 number to report in. After we got sorted away, I called several times but did not get through so gave up, intending to call next morning, then actually go ashore to the office.
After a good night sleep (the storm was over fairly quickly) we organize ourselves to go ashore to check in. Before doing so, I figure we should try the phone pre-check in again. I do get an officer and when I tell him that we got in last afternoon but are only checking in this next morning, he gives me heck. I tell him we tried to phone, that we were tired and that we had just survived a challenging entry, but there's no sympathy and he tells me that checking in is the most important thing to do.... Anyway, we lets up, takes the perfunctory information and gives me a clearance number.
We head to shore to the offices and here they could not have been more efficient and polite. It is clear that there are many cruisers who had crossed yesterday as we meet them coming and going with their ships papers in hand to and from the Customs House. It is not hard to distinguish between cruisers, tourists and locals. Cruisers are deeply tanned, shabby, usually fit (if not gaunt) and wear a similar wardrobe of faded t-shirt, baggy shorts, crocs or sandals, in need of haircuts and shaves and, generally, after a crossing look tired but content. We chat with a few and exchange our harrowing stories of the squall we encountered.
We do our business with the two offices we have to visit and are issued a fresh cruising permit for another year!
On our way back to our dinghy I see a familiar figure crouched over his dinghy at the dinghy dock filling his water containers; sure enough it's Mike Flood from Fredericton who with his partner Sandra and their boat can Socrates, have been sailing Florida and Bahamas aboard their Bayfield 30, Mole End for a number of years. It's good to see him and we invite him and Sandra for dinner aboard Sea Sharp tonight.
We decide to leave this anchorage to head the six or so miles to Lake Worth north where we can provision and prepare to host our guests. We have also invited folks we met in Georgetown, Dave and Jan from Ontario aboard Siggy's Dancer, a proper C&C 30 which they can really make fly (they always fare very well in the Georgetown Regatta races).
We up anchor and head the short motor to the next anchorage. Fortunately on this mid-week day, there's not nearly as much boat traffic as there was on that chaotic Sunday, January 4 when we came here to stage for our crossing over to Bahamas. But winds are piping up as we re-anchor. Many boats are in this anchorage and the winds are now blowing 25 knots and more and it's getting bouncy. We choose a spot in about 7 feet of water and drop anchor. There's a foot and a half or so of tidal range here, so I'm worried about water depth but we're well hooked. I go ashore to get some fresh salmon for our dinner guests; Judy stays on the boat to watch over her in these winds.
Our intended dinner guests Mike and Sandra and Dave and Jan come over around 4:00 and we have a nice time. Sandra tells us their long time pet and companion Socrates (the cat) is failing and she's obviously worried. I feel a thud and realize that the combination of falling tide and chop is causing us to rise up then fall with our keel and rudder hitting bottom. We have to move, and quickly. Our guests decide it's better to leave and we quickly up anchor and move to another spot. We're getting real good and comfortable at anchoring and pretty soon we're settled again. We call up Mike and Sandra to re-invite them for supper. Mike accept but tells us that Sandra is feeling a bit low and worried about Socrates - we find out later that he passed away the next day. And we of all people know the kinship you develop with your pet so we extend them our sympathy.
Anyway we have a nice dinner with Mike and the wind abates enough that we have a comfortable sleep.