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Published: December 2nd 2007
Dolphins were swimming off our stern wave.
We are currently at a dock in Port Lucaya, Bahamas after crossing the Gulf Stream from West Palm Beach Florida, Thursday night November 29th. It was a very easy crossing, with little wind and very flat seas.
In our last blog, we had just arrived in Vero Beach Florida, and were going to stay there “a couple of days”. Well, a couple of days turned into 10 days, staying in Vero for American Thanksgiving there, before heading for West Palm Beach. Vero Beach is a popular spot for boaters to stop on their way south, as it offers a nice safe mooring ball anchorage, with great facilities , excellent shopping, free transportation and a close nice beach. It’s so popular, they put 2, and sometimes 3 boats on each mooring ball. We met lots of other boats going to the Bahamas, and as in most places we have been there are lots of Canadians here. On American Thansgiving there was a big dinner for all the boaters, and there were well over 100 of us for the dinner. In the US , Thanksgiving almost seems like a bigger holiday than Christmas. We certainly enjoyed helping them celebrate! Also in Vero
View from our mooring in Vero Beach.
there are lots of canals with some beautiful homes on them, so we got to explore up and down the canals in our dinghy. Each morning a group of dolphins would swim around our boat as if to say their good morning, and they would put on a bit of a show for us. They call in Velcro Vero, as people have a hard time leaving. You are allowed to stay 6 months , and some cruisers spend the whole winter there.
Finally, the day after Thanksgiving we left, and went down the Waterway to West Palm Beach. Actually we stayed in Riviera Beach, which is part of the Palm Beach area. Our daughter and our new granddaughter Ella flew down to spend a few days here, so we took a dock at the Rivierra Beach Marina while they were here. Riviera Beach is a surprisingly poor place, (a surprise for the area), and the Marina was a bit of disappointment, as it was run down, and not in the best area of town. It was really nice to spend time with Dawn and Ella, and see how she’s grown already! Ella is less than 2 months old, and
we were not sure how she was going to travel, but she was super good on the flight down and back. I think she was a little fussy with the movement of the boat, but for a 2 month old she really did well. We were able to go to a couple of beaches, and went on a picnic to Peanut Island. We had a car while Dawn was here, so I went out each evening getting provisions for our winter in the Bahamas.
While Dawn was here, he weather turned very warm and nice, with light southerly winds every day. This is perfect for crossing to the Bahamas. This time of year they get lots of cold fronts with strong northerly winds, and this makes crossing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas difficult. So when the wind blows from the south, it’s time to cross. Dawn left Thursday morning, and looking ahead, the weather looked like it might change, so we very quickly decided to cross to the Bahamas Thursday night. That meant we had about 6 hours to finish provisioning, take the car rental back, and complete all the things on the boat in preparation to cross
We went touring by dinghy among the mangroves.
the Gulf Stream. It was a real rush but we did it, thanks to Sharon doing the provisioning very fast. We threw all the groceries and stuff in the front cabin , and left the dock and West Palm beach at sunset Thursday evening. We were fortunate that another boat “Eleanor M” was crossing at the same time. They have 20 years experience crossing the Gulf Stream so we thought if it was good enough for them, it was good enough for us.
We headed South very close to the Florida shoreline 22 miles to Delray Beach then 90 degrees towards West End Bahamas. The biggest issue with the Gulf Stream is the very strong northerly current, so you have to allow for a fair drift north on your crossing. We came in fairly close to West End and followed the coast up to Port Lucaya, where we needed to clear customs and get a Bahamas cruising permit. The permit costs $300.00 per boat for the Bahamas, and lots of cruisers are upset with how expensive it is. To us it doesn’t seem too bad, considering it allows us to live, anchor out and fish for 1 year.
Yesterday we were pretty tired so we did some things to clean up the boat and went to bed very early. A couple other boats from Canada asked us to go to dinner, but we just were too tired. It’s really nice to finally be here in the Bahamas, the air is so fresh, the water so clean, and blue. Today Sharon is putting away all the groceries and stuff, and I have been cleaning and doing boat maintenance. The Marina here is spectacular, especially for the Bahamas, so hopefully we can enjoy the facilities, the pool, and maybe go for a walk before leaving tomorrow.
Tomorrow we are going to head for the Berry Islands, then work our way to Nassau, then the Exumas. We are slightly ahead of schedule, so we now will probably spend Christmas in Georgetown. Our son Steven, and Sharon’s sister Patty are joining us for Christmas, so it would be nice to be in Georgetown for that. However we’ll have to see how the weather between now and Christmas.
We’re thinking that it will be harder to get Wifi now that we are in the Bahamas, so it may be harder to
send the blogs. We will try to send another one before Christmas, but in case we don’t have a very happy holiday.
Enjoy the snow!
Sharon and Doug Sandercott
Aboard SV About Time
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