I had been closely watching the weather. Closer than normal, watching each update of the forecast on about three different apps all reporting the same thing, a ‘moderate to mile’ crossing opportunity appeared to exist. I sent a couple of emails to Chris Parker to get his opinion of this apparent weather window. He said Tuesday looked great and to keep going because the weather will deteriorate after Wednesday and will remain very blustery for an extended period.
I had made the decision to go and thought I should let ML know. She seemed OK with the idea and it would be a surprise to the Mangos who thought we were staying until the next window. Mangos weren’t ready and mentioned to Soul Serenade that we were contemplating going. We had met the crew of Soul Serenade for a minute or two the day previous. Soul Serenade as previously mentioned is populated with Jimmie and Sue. Soul Serenade is an Irwin 38 and could be a good match speed-wise. Jimmie and I compared speed and even though all sailors lie the lies seemed to match up.
We would be off without our best buddy boat, loan shark and of late bartering buddies. They will remain in Marathon and hopefully they are there long enough to get my light bulbs and solar panel brackets if Jeff Bezos gets off his ass and delivers. We look forward to meeting up with Fracas’ cruising partner soon.
Preparations had to be completed quickly if we were to be ready for the morning. We decided to leave the mooring field stop for fuel, water and ice at Burdines. Burdines is a cool restaurant, marina and service dock on the entrance channel at Marathon. Even though they have a couple of boats sunken in their marina they have recovered from the storm. There were two marina attendants who handed us hoses. The older guy, I’ll call him… ‘the older guy’ went on and on about how Monday was his Friday and he couldn’t wait for his shift to end. I told him I would work as hard and fast as I could so he could sit at home instead of here at work.
We got away from the dock here and went out about a mile or two and sat with 8 other boats anchored because the moorings were all full. Ours was open but we were holding it in reserve in case the weather soured.
In the meantime, Soul Serenade was scurrying about trying to get ready and collect all the stuff required to leave the USA for the Bahamas. Just before 5:00 I heard SS on the radio calling Burdines… They passed him the water hose but told him they were closing and would not sell him fuel… They went on to the next marina where they got their fuel and proceeded out to anchor near us. Both boats full up with stuff and eager crews trying to sleep ahead of our voyage.
Jimmie and Sue had signed up for our destination which was the Berrys. We missed a chance to visit here in the past and seized on this opportunity. Typically crossing boats will stop and clear at Bimini, our plan, to go another 70 nautical miles. The plan would mean 27 to 30 hours at sea. Shouldn’t be a problem. I typically go to bed at 8pm. I was struggling to come up with a plan to squeeze in 30 hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tuesday morning arrived and we waited until the sun was nearly up and we could see those friggin’ hell pots (small markers marking fish traps). Both boats jumped off their anchors and our trip was on. The roughest part of the trip sea wise, was the first 30 miles in Hawks channel. Once we cut out (at Jimmie’s suggestion) and into deeper water it got much smoother. Almost immediately we started to pick up some help from the Gulf Stream.
Fracas was under Jigger and Genoa and we motor sailed towards North Rock. The crossing was certainly the friendliest we have had yet. The weather was as advertised and forecast by Chris Parker. As we approached Bimini the wind collapsed and the motor run to the Berrys was a pussy cat. By 10:00 we were into the entrance channel at Great Harbour Cay. The marina staff were very friendly and helpful and we made our mooring without incident.
Shortly thereafter ML who is always vigilant related to what might be under, in or around our ship noticed a small shark:
more later… pictures to follow