We're Baaaaaaaack!

Valt & Sandy
Mon 14 Jan 2013 17:16

We are leaving our anchorage at Stuart, FL after 6 days. It was a fun and productive stop. We were able to visit several friends. We were also able to refill our Ship's Stores. Fat and sassy, we are ready to move towards Miami and get staged to cross the Gulf Stream and get to the Bahamas.

The trip to Miami is about 110 miles. There are also many, many bridges. Most are too low for us to pass without a bridge opening. To avoid bridge road traffic delays, most only open at specific times, usually offset from each other. Big delays! If we stay inside on the ICW (Intra- Coastal Waterway) route, it will take us 3 days to get there. We prefer to run outside in the Atlantic Ocean, but the next few days promise to be windy and wavy out there.

The waterway is narrow in places, and requires close attention to stay in the channel. Off channel the depths are often 2-3'. We really enjoy the wide open spaces of the ocean.

We have come 1326 nautical miles and actually run 27 days. This does not count the numerous stop overs since leaving Ft. Loudon Marina, near Knoxville TN on Nov. 30. So in the 27 travel days we have averaged about 50 nautical miles each day. Of course, some were much longer when there were no stops available. We ran 72 miles one day at the end of the Tombigbee Waterway. And ran 151 nm to cross from the Florida Panhandle to Clearwater FL. This is our biggest crossing and took 21 hours on an overnight schedule. We took turns sleeping and piloting through the night. I know it sounds grim, but on a calm night it is really spectacular. And this crossing was a very pleasant one.

The shortest run was 22 nm from the top of Mobile Bay diagonally across to Fairhope AL, one of our favorite stops. This year it was even more fun as we met up with dear friends who left Ft. Loudon Marina ten days ahead of us. We spent nearly a week there.

Looking ahead at the weather forecasts, we may need to hold up in Miami a few days awaiting a good Gulf Stream crossing window. While only about 50 nm across to the Bahamas, the Gulf Stream can really kick up, making a very rough trip. So we wait.

I expect these entries will be less frequent for now. They really are better in the Bahamas!