|These condos are all around the marina|
motored to the anchorage just south of the Lake Worth Inlet, behind Palm Beach. This is a very large anchorage and was very well lit along the shoreline when we left after dark.
To make it easy to talk, our two boats rafted off of each other....and then we were in for a surprise! We had a visitor arrive by dinghy!! Dick from 'sv/Willoway' spotted us as we both anchored. He was more attracted to Southern Belle because it's a Freedom 40 just like his. We actually dropped the anchor behind his boat! Imagine that.....He now is a solo sailor because his crew, Denise, left sometime before Thanksgiving. It was good to see and visit with him again.
Chuck and I decided we should try and nap before this huge undertaking. There are 4 crew members on Southern Belle and only 2 of us. Any way you look at it, whether we motor or sail, it's going to be very tiring in the dark! We still remember our overnight voyage from Sandy Hook, NJ to Cape May! That was 120 miles and this is only 53 miles across and another 43 to get to our anchorage. How bad can it be? Did either of us sleep? No...and then before we knew it, 9:00 pm was here...time to raise the anchor!
How was the weather? Not bad at the anchorage and it wasn't too bad exiting the Lake Worth Inlet. It could have been better. It could have been much better! Hey but we're Lake Erie sailors. We can handle the 4-5 footers and then the 6 footers. The winds were 15+ kts...steady from the SE. The skies were beautiful with a half moon, until it set. The temps were balmy. But it was dark, and when the waves came at the boat, it was impossible to see how big or what direction. Of course you could tell by the water over the bow and the slamming of the hull. Since it got so dark, there was nothing to focus on....and that's not good.
When we turned toward Memory Rock, we were taking the waves across our starboard side. We were almost to the cut when Lynn radioed to tell us he was turning around and heading for Freeport. The seas were bad enough that his mast was working lose from its base. He needed to find a marina that could lift his mast. I'm sure many of you do not know that Freedom sailboats do not have stays. Most sailboats have wires that lead from the mast to the bow of the boat, port and starboard sides of the boat, and stern to help support the mast. Freedom's have thicker masts and attach to a base that supports the structure. So, this was a major issue for them. I was afraid for them trying to even make it to Freeport.
We continued on our journey alone. After 53 miles and 10 hours like we had planned, we made it to Memory Rock at daylight. When we left Lake Worth Inlet and got to the flashing red/white light in the ocean, we steered a 115 degree course so when the Gulf Stream pushed us north at a rate of 3 mph, we would be aiming for Memory Rock. Once into the Bahama Banks, we leisurely motor/sailed....what a change from last night.....past Mangrove Cay, where if we chose we could anchor, and then on to Great Sale Cay. It took us nineteen hours to reach our destination. I'm tired!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If we had it to do again, would we cross at night. Probably if the conditions were more favorable. However, we've both talked about this passage and felt that leaving our anchorage at 4:30 am, checking in at the West End at 2:30 pm, and then spending the night there before venturing to Great Sale Cay would have been so much better! Live and learn....LOL!
We did have some other excitement for the evening... Lynn has radar on Southern Belle and said he would radio us if any ships or boats appeared on his screen within our general vicinity. About 2 hours into the ocean, he called to say there were 2, no 3 boats off both of our port sides....and they were running without lights. Of course we had 10 mile of visibility, and I responded as to why they would be running in the dark....da!! Then he radioed back and said they were now more to our port stern and looked to be traveling about 18 mph. The Coast Guard were monitoring the channels and it didn't take long for them to hail Southern Belle. The CG wanted to know these boats' positions, lat/long, course heading, his name, address, phone number. Good going Lynn! Now the drug runners are going to come after us!!
At the end of Tuesday, it felt good to be anchored and just relax. Right now I'm watching a squall pass just outside the banks and Papa Chuck is taking his traditional bath...this time in the pretty blue/green water of the Bahamas!!
Happy Birthday Mom!! Hope you had a great day. Love you.