Well, we had a good time in the Berry Islands, hunting conch, fishing and shelling. We made some new friends and spent some time with old ones. The plan had been to cross the stream during the full moon, to take advantage of the additional light. That was to be near the middle of April.
But Chris, the weather guru, was saying that the next front was going to give us high northeast winds for many days. Then it would take quite a few days for the ocean to calm down somewhat. We weighed the options of crossing earlier in a good weather window that would be a motorboat ride versus waiting for more moon and maybe some wind to sail. The decision was made to take the earlier crossing. Both of us started to work.
I baked muffins, hardboiled eggs and made salmon and egg sandwich toppings. A big pot of chilli was made up and cooled for easy dinners underway. Murray put all of the fuel into the tanks, tied down all gear on deck and readied the boat for rough seas.
At dawn on Thursday April 6th, we hauled anchor and motored out of the cut at Devil’s-Hoffman Cay. A tall ship from The Netherlands was anchored outside and she made a pretty picture in the hazy morning light. We turned our bow north once clear of the reefs off-shore and settled in for a long haul.
The trip was a total of 258 nautical miles and, with the assistance of the Gulf Stream, took us 33 hours total. It was basically uneventful. The ships that we saw were mostly far enough away to keep me happy. In fact, there was very little traffic until we neared Cape Canaveral.
We traveled alone. But, we were in Ham radio contact with people in transit from Abaco to the US and with people on-shore. Plus, you all knew that we were out there.
The wind came up in the morning and we were enjoying a nice sail, when friends radioed with custom’s info. The custom’s office closed at 5 pm. For the weekend. Unless we wanted to stay at anchor until Monday when we could check in, we had best hustle. With engine assist, we made it to the dock by 3:30. But, the cab was delayed while we paced the pavement. Finally, we made it at 4:30! Forms filled out and we are all set for another year of cruising.
Back to the boat, re-fuel ( only used 16 gallons of diesel! ), and motor through the lock at Cape Canaveral to drop the hook in the Banana River. Time for a shower, a rum , dinner and bed.
The next day we moved north to Titusville and anchored. During the evening a very strong cold front with lightning and rain etc blew through, leaving strong northeast winds. We decided to push northward anyway and to play the tides at the shallow inlets that we needed to transit. The next few days were spent birdwatching ( golden eagle, roseate spoonbills, white pelicans etc ), house watching ( huge homes in Daytona area ) and keeping track of our position in the waterway.
On Wed afternoon, we arrived at Green Cove Springs. Now the work begins. Mur will change the oils ( in the engine, dinghy motor and generator ), put in a different heat exchanger to get rid of the overheating problem that continues to plague us and remove the wind generator for repairs. His list is very long but those are some highlights. I have a few sewing projects ( a duvet, blanket and two sets of sheets for the vee berth ), laundry and packing. Probably the next two weeks will fly past quickly.
By early May, we should be on the road again. This time in the trusty Volvo. But, we will keep you informed. See you soon.
Hugs, Heather & Murray