Month: December 2015

Like Clockwork

It’s been fun cruising the Keys, but we’ve got unfinished business with the Bahamas. Chris Parker’s prediction has held true; tomorrow we’ll see 15-18 knots of wind coming from the southeast and 3-4 foot waves. It’s not an ideal direction for sailing, but we’ll manage a motor-sail without puking our brains out. Tomorrow we will cross the Gulf Stream. Like clockwork, as soon as we had our crossing window settled, stuff started breaking on the boat. First, the faucets in the galley and heads stopped working, even though the water tanks were full. Then, the port side winch (device that allows us to haul on the lines...

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Dear Santa, Please Bring 12-15 Knots of Wind from the West

Morale was low back in No Name Harbor. Facing up to the fact that the seas were too rough for passage to the Bahamas and that the next opportunity was possibly weeks away, we were getting… grumpy. Rather than driving each other mad, we hatched a plan. We decided to go sailing in Biscayne Bay for a Christmas cruise in the Keys. The sails we’ve taken between Keys have been spectacular – we haven’t had as nice since last spring, when we delivered our boat from Annapolis to New York City. We’ve anchored in Eliot Key, Pumpkin Key, and Key Largo...

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Know When to Fold ‘Em

We’ve been up before the sun each day, straining to catch the voice of Chris Parker (nautical weather guru), coming at us through our handheld SSB radio. We’ll rely on Mr. Parker and his broadcasts from here on out to give us the green light for sailing to and around the Bahamas and Caribbean. After long last, he indicated that a brief passage window “for salty sailors” (meaning, expect waves and wind on the face) was approaching. Being at least lightly salted by now, we decided to give it a shot. It was pretty exciting lying in bed thinking about the passage the morning would...

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When a Window Opens, Fly Through

Anchored just south of Peanut Island in West Palm Beach at daybreak, we felt like the last kids picked for dodgeball as we watched every boat around us raise anchor. A weather window for safe passage across the Gulf Stream had opened, and for these boats, the time was right for sailing to the Bahamas. Our hearts ached to join them, but our prep wasn’t quite complete. We headed south to Ft. Lauderdale instead, where a reservation for two nights at the Las Olas Marina awaited us. Missing that window made us get serious about knocking out final errands, as we’re determined not to let the next one pass us...

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The Choices We Make

Three maddening weeks spent in our worst anchorage yet had us chomping at the bit to haul anchor. The moment our weather window opened, we made tracks and cleared our most terrifying inlet so far, out into the blue ocean. Sayonara, St. Augustine. Our choice to “go outside” (meaning, sail in the ocean as opposed to heading down the ICW) was a weighty one. This trip coincided with news that 25 shipping containers had fallen off a cargo ship somewhere south of Florida a few days prior, and that debris had started washing up on shore. We grappled with the bone-chilling prospect of hitting...

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