April 6, 2007


Remember that up-beat, positive message sent earlier? That was before we identified the strange, rattling noise coming from our engine room. It was the transmission. We got through two bridges in Daytona before we were forced to sail off to the side of the ICW and anchor. Luckily, I was able to connect to someone’s wireless and made a dozen calls on Skype. The part has been ordered, paid for and will arrive here at a nearby marina tomorrow, Sat.

Meanwhile, Murray is buried in the engine room, disassembling the transmission housing to remove the damper plate that is causing the problems. I am sitting here, making phone calls with Skype and catching up on e-mails. It could have been much worse, if this problem had occurred in the Gulf Stream or the Bahamas. Here we were able to resolve the issue fairly easily.

So, that is the news of the minute.

Hugs to all, Heather & Murray

Crossing #20

Hello all,

As our brief message stated, we safely crossed the Gulf Stream yet again. Now for the rest of the story.

On Tuesday, March 27th we bade farewell to our friends ashore and departed from Spanish Wells. It was a very short journey that day, just out to Meek’s Patch about 1 mile away. Once we anchored and did a few boat jobs, we went ashore for some exercise. In walking on the “iron shore” ( the nasty, holey limestone rock ), my foot slipped and my ankle crashed into a dried up tree. A bunch of the branches penetrated the skin and gave me an ugly gash. Murray washed it with peroxide and we bandaged it well with sterile, waterproof dressings.

The next day, both of us were busy getting things together for our planned passage. I baked a cake, two dozen muffins and made macaroni and cheese casserole. Murray strung the flat line that we use to clip our harnesses to while underway and checked over the engine. He went on a final fishing trip and came back with three fish for the larder. Then, the dinghy was hauled and secured on deck. The weather was checked and re-checked. All was in readiness. Two other boats came out to anchor as well but planned to leave at midnight with a different destination and route. We would be traveling alone.

Before dawn, we were up and moving. The New Providence Channel was lumpy and ugly with waves from all directions. The wind was on our stern quarter so we had the main tied down on one side and the jib attached to the spinnaker pole on the other side. Our course the whole time was 305M. That course took us just above Great Stirrup Cay, Berry Islands where we had planned to stay the night and continue on the next morning. But the weather window appeared to be closing on us, so we opted to go straight through. We passed Great Stirrup by nightfall and dawn found us off of West End, Grand Bahama. Neither of us had slept more than brief periods, so we decided to head for Ft Pierce rather than Cape Canaveral.

Ft Pierce was 225 nautical miles from our start while Cape Canaveral was 285 or another overnight. The boat sailed between the piers at Ft Pierce by 3:30 on March 30th. Our maximum speed had been 9.7 knots and average speed was 7.5 knots. This is the read-out from the knot-log and does not account for the push of the Gulf Stream, which added a knot or two for the last third of the voyage. The motor had been used for brief periods and we had to use the portable generator to keep the batteries up due to the draw from running lights, computer, radar etc at night. The engine was used for a total of 10 hours of our 33 hr trip and most of that was just to keep our speed up.

On we went, northward to Vero Beach where we rafted with friends on Brass Tacks. They drove us back to Ft Pierce to check in with customs the next morning.

Monday morning found me at the local walk-in clinic having my ankle seen by the doctor. It had become very swollen and the diagnosis was cellulitis. He took a culture and prescribed antibiotics, both oral and by injection. As he wanted to check it again on Wednesday, we stayed at the mooring. It was tough – spending time with friends, sharing visits with their granddaughter ( Jillian is three ), shopping for groceries in stores with amazing amounts of fresh stuff and eating too much good food.

But, with a clean bill of health, we pulled ourselves away on Wed at noon and heading on north up the ICW.

Plans, you ask? Well, we should arrive at the marina on Sat sometime. Then, wash the boat and tidy her up for the summer. All of the things that I ordered from Sailrite should be there, ready for the big sewing project. We will work on that until time to haul out, likely Friday April 27th. That means we will arrive in Ontario by the 29th or 30th.

See you soon!!! Hugs, Heather & Murray

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