Friday, July 8, 2022

March 14-19, 2022 Vero Beach, FL and crossing to the Bahamas

 3-14 Finally left St Augustine.  We motored all day along the ICW and anchored off of the New Smyrna Inlet
3-15 Continued on the ICW today.  We saw Zydeco again, friends from GA.  We anchored at the Merritt Island bridge.  Zydeco took a picture of us on the ICW

3-16 We motored to Vero Beach and decided to get a mooring ball at the city marina.  We needed to do our last preparations before leaving for the Bahamas.  The dock hand, Kevin, was very personable and we all thought we had met before.  He and his wife were at Brunswick Landing Marina in the past.  After he gave me the dates and what dock he was on, I asked if his wife was Karen.  Yes it was.  We were walking partners in 2020 during the early months of the Covid pandemic.  I still had her phone number, so made plans to connect.
We were assigned a mooring ball that already had a boat on it.  That was a first for us.  We didn’t really talk through the best procedure for tying to the ball without hitting the other boat.  We didn’t hit their boat, but I lost an $80 boat hook in the process.  Lessen learned.  Luckily the people weren’t on their boat to add any more drama to the situation.  It was 84º and finally felt like Florida.
We took the dinghy to the Riverside restaurant nearby (which was just ok).  While we were there, there was a heavy downpour.  We mad it back to the boat during a break in the rain.  
3-17. During the night, we had an infestation of biting gnats, even with screens on our hatches.  Obviously we didn’t sleep well.  We made corned beef and cabbage using our Wonder Bag.  Once everything is heated, you put the pan inside the bag and sealed it closed.  Then it works like a crockpot with no power.



Dave continued with boat preparation.  I contacted Karen and she offered to take me shopping using their car.  What a blessing. 
First we stopped at West Marine to buy a new boat hook.  It was in a small strip mall.  One of the other businesses was sponsoring a St Patrick’s Day celebration.  I so wanted to sit down and have a beer and sing along to the music.  Lot’s of memories of our son, Pete, singing in an Irish band.  But I didn’t want to abuse Karen’s generosity of her time.  

this was part of an advertisement for Pete's music at a bar in GA

 Next was Publix grocery store.  We always need to replenish the fresh produce.  Plus I usually see something else that I think we can’t live without.  By now, we have a pretty good idea of what you can buy in the Bahamas and pack lighter than we did the first year we sailed there.  
After stowing the groceries and collecting all the garbage that it creates, I took the garbage and our laundry to shore for one last wash in a machine for months to come.  
We enjoyed our corned beef dinner about 6:00pm.  The Wonder Bag continued to cook the food like a crock pot and kept it warm.  We passed on celebrating the day with a couple Irish beers since we had a couple big days ahead of us.  


3-18. The plan was to get up early, get our Covid test to enter the Bahamas, and be off the mooring ball by 10:00 check out time.  WELL, we had another gnat attack last night.  This time we dug out different netting for our hatches that can bock the gnats.  We ended up shutting off the alarm and called the office to add another day on the mooring ball.  
At 1:00pm we took an Uber to the MedExpress Urgent Care clinic for our Covid test.  The Bahamas requires you to have a negative test result within 3 days of arriving there.  That’s easier said than done.  You have to figure out where you can be tested (preferably without an appointment since you are just moving through) and get to the clinic without a car.  And hope that you have the weather window to make it to the Bahamas and check in within the 3 days.  We were able to wait for our results, which was handy.  The test results had to be uploaded to the Click2Clear app to enter the Bahamas, along with our shot records.  We had lunch and had Uber take us back to the marina.  We weren’t back until 5:00, so we wouldn’t have made it back by 10:00 this morning anyway.  Good thing we added a day.  

We untied for the mooring ball and headed for the Bahamas.  We anchored at Ft Pierce from 7:00 to 9:30.  We finished preparing a couple things on the boat, like setting up a bed in the salon area to sleep on during the passage.  Our bed in the bow is too rough with the motion of the boat.  I put together a tuna casserole to eat underway.  We started the Click2 Clear online check in while we had good wifi.  And we had a nice chat with our son Pete before leaving.  
After clearing the inlet, we had dinner about 10:00pm.  You don’t have a normal eating routine when you are making a passage.  There was a beautiful full moon to keep Dave company as we crossed to the Bahamas.  I went to bed about 11:00 and slept kind of slept until 3:00am

3-19 At 3:00am, Dave briefed me on the crossing so far.  He had only seen one ship.  He headed inside to sleep at 3:30am.  We were in the gulf stream, which moves us in a northward direction.  Our boat heading was at 142 degrees but we were moving towards 100-110 degrees at 4.5 knots.  Around 6:00, our speed picked up to 5.5 knots.  We were no longer fighting the gulf stream and were able to correct out heading to stay on course.  Sunrise was at 7:25am.  I love this part of the day.  But Dave says it just puts him to sleep.  So we have figured out a schedule that works for us when we sail overnight.
Dave was up by 8:30 and we were in beautiful blue Bahamian water by 9:00.  We had breakfast together, then I crashed until about 2:00pm.  Dave just napped outside in the cockpit for awhile after my nap.  At 2:30 I saw my first turtle of the season.  It”s shell had to be about 3 feet in diameter.  At 6:00pm, we anchored at Great Sale Cay.  The crossing was a little more rough than we have had in the past.  We discussed all the things we thought about on the way that could have been a problem, like our reattached windows that could have leaked or come off altogether.  We had a great night’s sleep back in our own bed.  And we were able to open the hatch over our v-berth to let in a great breeze while we slept.  

good morning sunshine in the Bahamas
this was in a book I was reading at the time

putting up the quarantine flag until we check in with customs

first sunset

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