Across Once Again

Hello everyone,

We have safely made our fourteenth crossing of the Gulf Stream. At just before 9 AM on the 6th of April, we hauled our anchor at Great Sale Cay, Abaco and headed for White Sand Ridge, an opening to the sea. It was approximately 50 miles to this waypoint and we motorsailed the whole distance.

The last 5 to 10 miles on the shallow banks were very exciting as Murray caught 5 fish! Three were edible cero mackerel and 2 were barracuda. He cleaned them in the cockpit as I made myself scarce. With the stress of a coming crossing already affecting my stomach, I did not need the added scent of fish guts! Once the fish were safely in the freezer, I started to feel better again.

The ocean was relatively calm with swells catching us on the beam. Once we hit the Gulf Stream, the waves became rather erratic and we had the washing machine effect. The main sail steadied us somewhat, even though there was not enough wind to fill it often. The full moon rose soon after sunset and gave us enough light that we could see our shadows on the deck.

The night was fairly uneventful, with only one close crossing with a freighter. We took turns below decks, trying to sleep. But that was almost impossible with the sail slatting back and forth and every can in the lockers adding their clank and roll to the cacophony. Step Three, with Nancy June and Peter aboard, dogged our heels the whole way across as they did not have radar and had never entered Canaveral before. It was very nice to know that another vessel was close by and we maintained radio contact all night long.

Just before daybreak, we neared the Florida coast and the lights of Canaveral. Using the radar and computer charting, we entered the harbour before dawn and docked at Cape Marina to re-fuel before 7 AM. Once we had walked to Customs and completed our paperwork, we cast off again and headed to the ICW and north to Titusville.

Step Three went into the marina the next day and prepared to haul and store in Florida for the first time. They prevailed on us to stay and assist them with their preparations. Also, the long Easter weekend was approaching and we do not like to travel on weekends due to the increased boat traffic. Titusville is a good place to wait. We did laundry, got a few supplies along with fresh oj and helped Step Three as much as we could ( including eating the steaks and lobster in their freezer ).

Monday morning dawned stormy with high winds and rain. So, we waited until things seemed to clear and hauled anchor at 11 AM, headed for Daytona Beach.

Another nasty sky greeted us this morning, but we headed out anyhow. Winds are gusty and we are motorsailing northward, taking advantage of the wind and saving fuel.

Tonight we will anchor just off the ICW in a cove ( Pine Island ) past St Augustine. From there, we are one long day from Green Cove Springs Marina. Once there, our work will start. There are no big jobs on the list this spring, other than the cracked water tank that must be removed and repaired somehow. I have some sail and canvas repairs to make as well as other sewing. Then, clean and prepare the boat for summer storage.

Our winter was not great with high winds, many fronts and my health problems. But, we were together mostly and there was no snow! How can we complain too much.

Many hugs and we look forward to seeing you all soon, Heather & Murray