Back in the U.S. of A.
03 June 2012 | Harbour Isle Marina, Ft. Pierce, FL, USA
PHOTO ABOVE: Far Niente at Harbor Isle Marina after 8 weeks in the Bahamas
West End, Bahamas to Ft. Pierce, FL, USA, Harbour Isle Marina
Location:27 27.587'N:80 18.487'W
We backed out of the slip just after sunrise, headed out the turning basin and channel and set the course for 295 degrees to cross the Gulf Stream. Funny thing, though, as the waves were out of the SW and the winds were out of the W at 15-20 knots. This was NOT what weather was forecasted. With the wind out of the west carrying sail was frustrating. We plodded along for several hours but the wind did not clock to the SW or S at all. After we completed about 1/3rd of the leg, seas began to calm and the Gulf Stream boost became apparent. With motor on at 2600 rpm we do about 6.5 knots. As we headed toward Ft. Pierce, the Gulf Stream had us moving along at up to 8.9 knots at times, though the boost was to generally around 8 knots SOG. As we headed northwest winds died, still out of the west, and seas flattened. Thunderstorms were south of us at our midway point and appeared to be moving 90 degrees relative to our coarse. On board radar did not show any squalls as we headed for the Ft. Pierce inlet. It was a very grey day and the combination of flat seas with SOG running 8.0 - 8.6 knots was just a bit erie.
Fifteen miles from the Ft. Pierce inlet the wind started to pick up, as did the seas, and the Gulf Stream boost slowly fell off. We hit the inlet just after 5 pm and just after the predicted peak flood current of 3.2 knots. As we entered the jetty and the channel we got a real nice boost to 10.9 knots SOG. If this had been the ebb, well, whole other story. Turning north on the ICW, just south of Ft. Pierce, the wind began to howl to 25 knots. It is a pattern we see over and over; no wind when you want it and max wind as you prepare to enter a marina you are completely unfamiliar with. This time it was no big deal as we elected to stay at Harbour Isle Marina, where our buddy boat 'Crisitina' hangs out when she is not cruising.
Harbour Isle Marina maybe one of the most protected we have had the pleasure to stay in. The docks are in a completely protected basin with no current and no depth issues what so ever. The condominiums surrounding the basin block much of the wind. The facility is outstanding with 60' long concrete floating docks, a real rarity in most of Florida. We were tied off just before 6:00 pm and back in the USA. I placed my arrival call to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and received our arrival number. Friday AM we headed over to the St. Lucie County airport to appear in person and were in and out in 10 minutes.
We spent 8 weeks in the Bahamas this season. We had many, many wonderful days and those memories will bring us back. We understand why the Abacos are so popular.
We also had some real crappy weather and many periods of extended rain; all the veterans said the pattern this spring was 'unusual'. Well, yeah. Two named tropical storms in May.
We have reprovisioned Far Niente in preparation for travels north. Hoping to arrive in Beaufort, SC in the next 10-14 days. Going to take it nice and easy up the FL ICW until we get a weather window to head back out on the Atlantic and make for Port Royal Sound.