04/21/2013, West Palm Beach
Sunday, April 21, 2013
On Saturday we took the dinghy to shore and strolled through the farmers market that is held every Saturday on the waterfront at Flagler Dr., West Palm Beach. We've always said we wanted to go (by car) and now we've gone and will definitely come back. The vendors sold fresh flowers, vegetables, baked goods (including to die for red velvet donuts) French pastries, pottery, etc. We bought some corn on the cob and some garlic chipotle spread that tasted pretty good. We also drank a terrific smoothie made of peaches, spinach, banana and ice - delish! After our purchases we went back to the boat to put them in the fridge.
Once done we went back into shore and walked up Clematis and caught one of the free busses that drive a couple of routes - one being to City Place. Again a place we had not been and it was fun walking around, going into various shops and just 'pooching'. It rained off and on but we were shielded by the covered walkways. We caught the bus again which took us back to the waterfront and back to our boat.
Around 1745 Kim - our neighbor on the Catalina 42 - Mickey Boone -came over and we had some cheese and crackers and conversation. We had the Castaways dinner at Bradley's (a restaurant right on the waterfront) at 1900 so Kim said his goodbyes - hoping to see us tomorrow.
We had a good time at the dinner- it was good to reacquaint with the members we hadn't seen since the New Years Eve raft up. Unfortunately they had one long table, but not long enough to accommodate all of us. Although we sat at a separate table we had great table mates with Elizabeth Anne and Peter Dalton. Great conversation and food (although we thought a little pricey for what you got). After dinner Jim and Judy came over along with George and we sat and chatted awhile longer. Left around 2200 and took the dinghy back to the boat.
Sunday was a very leisurely day. We had fruit and quiche (we bought at the market on Sat.) and then settled in reading, etc. The skies were threatening part of the day and we did get some sprinkles but the showers never really materialized.
I cleaned off the soot from the transom and polished the stainless on the back so the boat looks a lot better. We also plotted our course down the intracoastal to Ft. Lauderdale and Biscayne Bay.
We plan to leave around 0800 tomorrow morning and go all the way to Ft. Lauderdale - only 36 miles but 17 bridges to pass through which will add to our time. No problem, we are in no hurry and we've never been this route before so it should be a nice trip.
04/19/2013, Our mooring in Lake Worth, FL
Another leisurely day at anchor with beautiful blue skies, temps in the80's and a great breeze blowing through the boat - who could ask for anything more. Wednesday morning was spent with Tom working and making phone calls to work. Luckily he has an air card which allows him to connect to the internet. I tidied up the boat and then worked on my counted cross stitch piece - one that I bought at least 4 years ago and never really got into until last summer. I like to work on it while on the boat so it's finally taking shape and hopefully will be done within the next few months and ready to frame.
Late afternoon we took the dinghy for a 'spin' and explored the waterfront around the Port of Palm Beach. We saw a huge dredge which during the day is working offshore, a ship being loaded with containers for transit to the islands - it's interesting to see these fork lift trucks pick up the containers and then a big crane loads them onto the ship. Another ship was loading boats onto its deck for transport somewhere (probably across the ocean). There was one being loaded when we dinked by and another two - a sailboat and trawler floating just off the entrance waiting their turn.
On our way back to the boat we noticed a sailboat that had come in earlier and anchored near us. Tom thought he saw Buffalo, NY as the hailing port so we went by and sure enough that's what it read. We called to them and said we were also from Buffalo and they invited us on board - Dean and Susan on a CSY 44 - Autumn Borne - lived in East Aurora for 35 years and have been cruising for the past 6! We had a great chat with them, exchanged stories, etc. They were making their way north to Hop-O-Nose marina on the Hudson where they keep their boat during the summer. (This is the marina we stopped at to step our mast after traversing the Erie Barge Canal) They had spent time in the FL keys and were giving us some tips where to anchor in Ft. Lauderdale, etc. They were a wealth of knowledge and it was great to have met them. We hope to catch up with them next season.
On Thursday we motored back to our mooring ball in Lake Worth. After getting settled we dinked to our floating dock with our garbage and recyclables and walked back to our house. We needed to pick up the cruising guide of anchorages along the intra coastal and while there we also took a shower!! Before we left the boat we called Judy & Jim Bloom to invite them to our boat for cocktails, etc and they accepted.
Tom dinked me back and then went to pick up J&J who met them at our floating dock. We had a great early evening of conversation and food. Before they left Jim and Tom reviewed the charts and Jim circled some of the anchorages along the way. We will see them again on Saturday night when the Castaways (the sailing club we joined) are meeting for dinner at Bradleys in W. Palm Beach. We will motor our boat down there later today and anchor off of the city docks.
04/16/2013, Anchorage just south of Peanut Island
Monday afternoon, April 15, 2013
We enjoyed a nice day Monday at anchor Tom called the diver who scrapes our boat once a month and had him come out to replace the zinc on the propeller shaft. Tom went in to shore to pick him up in the dinghy and once the 'job' was done he took him back
About 1515 we started to hear the rumblings of thunder and the skies were getting darker and darker. (see pictures). About 1600 just as we finished pulling up the dinghy and securing it the skies let loose with torrential rains, lightning bolts all around and winds that clocked to 40 mph! I had closed some of the hatches in anticipation of rain but forgot the forward and aft head hatches (needless to say some things got wet). We had also lowered our side and back canvas which kept the cockpit relatively dry (ha ha). We stayed in the cockpit to ensure that our anchor held (it did) but we kept swinging around and around with the winds. Suddenly a loud crack of lightning was heard. Several minutes later we heard chatter on the VHF radio. The couple we were traveling with to the Bahama's - Jim & Judy on Valiant Lady took a direct lightning hit to the top of their mast. which destroyed all their instruments, auto-pilot, bilge pump, radio, etc. Thank God they were both OK.
They called their insurance company (Boat US) and they advised them not to start the engine. They were going to tow them back to the dock and haul out the boat that evening but decided to do it first thing in the morning. This of course this meant that they would not be making the trip!
Tom and I just sat bewildered that this had happened and contemplated what we were going to do. We both were so looking forward to going and especially with them - an experienced couple who knew their way around the Bahamas and who we knew we would learn so much from. On top of this weather storm we saw the news of the bombings in Boston - what a tragedy! Needless to say we were completely saddened and bummed out about both of these events.
After much thought we decided to abort on our crossing as well! However don't despair we're not heading back to the dock yet!
We decided to head down the intracoastal to Fort Lauderdale.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Jim called us about 0630 this morning and we told him we decided not to go. We again wondered if we made the right decision and then started to talk about all the things we could do right around us and realized we had!
After breakfast we watched as the tow boat latched onto Jim & Judy's boat and towed them away. We enjoyed a leisurely morning reading, etc. and then decided we would dink down to the docks at West Palm for lunch - about a 15 min. ride. As we pulled up to the dock 3 sailboats were tied up to the dock - 2 of which were Catalina 42's - what are the odds! We chatted with both of them for awhile and found out that one of the boats had just been down to Ft. Lauderdale and said it was terrific, some great restaurants and anchorages along the way - sounded good to us!
Went to one of our favorite restaurants - Grease - they serve awesome hamburgers and old fashioned milk shakes - we splurged and had both! Back to the boat around 1630 and enjoyed a beautiful evening on board.
P.S. check out the photo gallery on the right hand side of the narrative for pictures.
Sunday night - 4/14/13:
We were all set to leave the dock around 1630 and decided to radio Old Port Cove marina to see what there fuel dock hours were. We needed to fill our main tank with diesel, having already filled 4 gerry cans with diesel fuel for our trip. To our surprise they told us they shut down the fuel dock at 1630! On to plan B - we emptied 20 of the 22 gallons we had into the tank and then Tom drove to a gas station to refill the gerry cans - best laid plans! Once back we finally left the dock around 1815 and arrived at our overnight anchorage just south of Peanut Island around 1900. A few minutes later Jim and Dave dinked over to pick us up and go to Dave and Bev's boat Clover Leaf- a 60' steel trawler designed by Kroegen (18' wide) for a drink and to unwind. We talked about our plans for the morning and agreed to leave around 0600 and make our way across.
Back to our boat around 2015 for a skillet dinner (so glad I bought this easy to fix meal) a few minutes of relaxation and then to bed at 2230.
Our alarm went off at 0500 and we were up. I prepared our fresh fruit for breakfast and got the coffee pot ready for when we started the engine. Got out the harnesses and life jackets to wear on deck and then received a call from Jim saying he was ready to pull up his anchor in about 15 min. Tom went out on deck ready to do the same when we discovered our running lights were not working. Needless to say all of the lights were checked when we launched the boat in January. No problem, we have some portable ones we use for the dingy so we got those out and mounted them. Anchor up by 0600 and we headed for the Palm Beach inlet. At 0630 Chris Parker (the weather guy) broadcasts on single side band channel 4045. Our buddy boat listened on his single side band and heard there was a band of squalls and based on our speed we would probably hit them and be in them for a few hours. We conferred with Jim and Dave (who hadn't left yet) and decided to abort, go back to where we had anchored and try again tomorrow.
On our way back it rained slightly and produced a half rainbow right over Singer Island - beautiful! Once back on the hook Tom fixed the running lights problem (some oxidation on the connections) and we are good to go. We now have some down time to get settled into our routines, recheck the charts and be ready for an early morning departure tomorrow.
Thanks to those who have acknowledged our trip. It's great hearing from all of you. I do want to remind you that you can post comments on the blog (if you want too) just click at the bottom of the page on Comments.
After much planning we are set to leave our dock at Twelve Oaks sometime today and make our way to just south of Peanut Island and the Lake Worth inlet where we will anchor and hopefully set off for the Bahama's in the early morning hours on Monday - weather permitting.
Tom has been working non-stop in making sure all systems are go on the boat, stocking it with spare parts, charting our course, etc. It has been hectic to say the least but we are as ready as we are going to be. I too have been busy planning the menu and buying the necessary food stuffs to sustain us for our 3 to 4 week trip.
We will be traveling across with our friends Judy and Jim Bloom, who will be on their own boat - a 42' catamaran - Valiant Lady. J/J have traveled there many times and are seasoned as to where to go, etc. so we are taking their lead to the best day/time to cross.
We have also subscribed to Chris Parker - a person who reviews the weather systems and emails you with his 'best guess' as to when it is best to cross. So praying all things are in alignment we should be in the Bahama's mid week.
We are truly looking forward to this trip having thought about it since we brought our boat down from Buffalo in 2009. I hope to write in this blog on a daily basis, and based on our connectivity with the internet will post it as often or soon thereafter.
It is Sunday morning and we are still at anchor! We awakened this a.m. and yesterday a.m. to clear blue skies, light breezes and warm temperatures. It has given Tom and I a chance to sit back and reflect on our journey from Buffalo, NY to N. Palm Beach, FL. Here are some statistics:
Miles Traveled: 1934 nautical miles
Travel Days: 51
Layover Days: 14 (10 intentional - 4 due to weather)
Average nm per hour: 6.33
Engine Hours: 305.8
When the boat was moving (41 days) we averaged 47.186 nm per day.
This journey was everything and more that Tom and I dreamed it would be. The sights, the challenges, the friends we made all added to the richness of our experience. We certainly live in a beautiful part of the country and to see it from the waterway truly gives you a different perspective!
Around 1330 we decided that it was time to make our way to our dock so we lifted the anchor and made our way in. We had gone in the day before to rig some lines so that we had something to grab onto and boy did that make it easy. Tom eased it into the slip and it's as if it was meant to be.
After securing all the lines, we began the task of off loading all the stuff we had on board - food, clothes, computers, etc. We had asked our friends Bill and Eleanor, who live in our cul de sac, if we could borrow their car to transport everything from the boat to our house. It certainly made this task alot easier and we thank them for being so generous.
We are now settling into our home here in Twelve Oaks and look forward to spending several of our days here sailing Synergy II. We look forward to these day sails as well as some more nights on anchor. How great it is to have this in our own back yard.
I would be remiss not to thank the countless other friends that helped us along the way, so without further ado here goes:
• First and foremost I thank my husband Tom - his tenaciousness to install the necessary equipment on this boat over the last several years to make the boat not only functional but very livable certainly paid off in spades! He is an experienced sailor and capable in every aspect and every discipline. Never did I fear or worry that if something went wrong that Tom wouldn't be able to make it right! He is my best friend and life long companion.
• John and Doris Hill - before we began our journey, John was there for Tom and helped him with the building of the mast cradle. They traveled with us through the Erie Barge Canal - their friendship and helpful hands made the journey through the canal fun and effortless.
• John Welch - who met us in NYC and helped us with the overnight ocean passage and stayed on board to Annapolis. It was certainly great to have another strong man on board to winch in the jib on the ocean. John and his wife Julie have encouraged us along the way with emails and Skype calls and we are truly blessed to have such friends
• Charlie and Stella Jones - had it not been for the two nor'easters that hit the coast in mid October which kept us at the Fishing Bay Yacht club for 4 days we would have never met. Looking back, it was another highlight of the trip. Charlie's experience on traversing the ICW from Deltaville to Hilton Head made it an easy run for us - following their beautiful red boat "Nugget". We have made new friends and look forward to cruising with them in the future.
• Greg and Judy on Magic II and Sonny and Jake on Finally who we met while in Bellville are other people who made our trip enjoyable
• Bill and Jackie Zajac who opened their hearts and home to us when we arrived in Melbourne. We had such a great time catching up on each others lives and just enjoying being together. With them only 2 hours away I'm sure we will be seeing more of them in the future.
• Gary and Sharon Simmer who showed us their town of Ft. Pierce and Vero Beach and who we were glad to reconnect.
• Thanks to all of you who have been reading our blog and a special thanks to those who commented on our blog. Your support through your comments and personal emails was encouraging and something that we looked forward to reading each day. It really made a difference knowing so many were reading about our journey and were along on the ride.
Although we have ended this phase of fulfilling our dream it is truly the beginning of many more years (we hope) of cruising with our boat around Florida and the Bahamas. We have plans to reinstate the blog when we begin the next phase. We will send you an email to let you know when the next segment will begin.
Until then, we again thank each and every one of you who have followed us on this part of our journey. God Bless all of you.
Cynthia and Tom Leising