Return to US
31 March 2020
Cruise ships at anchor with nowhere to go.
When we got to Gun Cay and were able to get phone service we learned that the Bahamas was in total shutdown, closing its borders to all foreign boats. Boats already there could stay but needed to stay put and not move around and could only go to shore for essential services, food and fuel. Glad we are on the outer edge of the Bahamas.
We left Gun and crossed the gulf stream on 3/25 and made it all the way to Rodriguez Key for the night. Had another whale sighting while in the gulf stream. The pilot whales we saw before were small compared to these. We saw the water spouts first, they were shooting up pretty high. Then we could see 2 large humps when the whales backs broke the water directly in front of us. They were quite large, much larger that our boat. We altered course a bit to avoid them. Scary.
Had no problems clearing back into the US using the CBP Roam app. We were amazed at the number of boats anchored at Rodriguez. Guess its because marinas in Miami Dade are closed and the Keys have pretty much shut down to anyone not a full time resident. We made it down to Marathon on Thursday 3/26 and were able to get fuel at Marathon Marina. They just hand you the nozzle and you are not allowed to get off your boat. We went back outside the harbor and anchored since the City marina is not renting mooring balls to transients and no marinas are allowing dinghy dockage. We stayed overnight and left the next day heading north along with Bristol Cream.
We traveled overnight toward the west coast. Had originally planned to continue on toward the panhandle of Florida but weather got kinda windy so we anchored for the night at Longboat Key just south of Tampa. On Sunday we had calm weather again and made it to Apalachicola on Monday. When we passed by the Tampa Bay ship channel we saw several cruise ships anchored off. Guess they have nowhere to go.
We are now anchored off the town of Apalachicola. Weather today is windy and raining so we are staying put and having a R and R day. We have really been pushing it, traveling all the way from Farmers Cay Exuma to here in a little over a week with very long days and two overnighters. Haven't been off the boat the boat in 10 days. Practicing our social distancing. Both the boat and us are tired and are gonna need some TLC when we get home. From here it is about a week of intercoastal cruising to get back to Madisonville. Gonna take it slow since we will just be isolating at home too. Hope everyone back home is safe.
23 March 2020
Just off Chubb Cay near the Northwest channel we got into a pod of about 20 pilot whales. Must be mating season as they seemed to paired off into couples.