Hello everyone,

Well, we have braved rain and fought bugs, deserted friends and met some new ones. But we have reached West Palm Beach and are anchored near the inlet from the sea. Chris Parker, the weather guru, seems to be giving a green light for a crossing later this week.

We left Vero Beach on Dec 12th and headed to Peck Lake to anchor for a few days. Peck Lake is just a wide area on the ICW but gives us a safe place to stay and watch the weather. The first few days were very windy but, friends who live nearby loaned us a car and we made final preparations for the winter. George & Nancy, who live on a canal off of Hobe Sound, are some of our oldest cruising friends as we met them in 1997 in Atlantic Highlands, NY. They still cruise but will not leave home until after Christmas. Once they set out, they travel long distances and will meet up with us again in the Jumentos or Ragged Islands.

Today, after a night of visitation by the dreaded no-seeums, we departed Peck Lake and headed on south. There was some light rain and seven lift bridges to contend with in the scant 24 mile trip. Along the ICW, many of the mansions sport For Sale signs as do some of the boats tied in front. But the size of these “houses” is amazing. They seem more like hotels than someone’s home or vacation home. To have that much money…..

Murray is making a last run for fuel, using the dinghy. We seldom take the big boat to a fuel dock as all fuel going into our tanks is filtered through a Baja filter, which will separate any dirt or water. This keeps our tanks and fuel clean and prevents other problems, such as clogged fuel filters.

Tomorrow we will try to arrange to meet some more friends for lunch and then will haul the dinghy and store it on deck for the crossing. I will do some meal preparation and some baking so that we can have easy meals underway. Just in case.

The crossing will not be too long as we plan to head to Lucaya, Grand Bahama Island to check in. That trip will take approx 18 hours and we will depart here at 4 pm to arrive there in daylight hours. Once we check in , we will sleep a while and head out again in the early morning hours for the Berry Islands.

So, that is the plans for the next few days. We will not likely have a wireless connection, so most messages should be sent to our winlink address. Remember not to send photos or jokes to that address.

We will write again when we are across. Meanwhile, have a wonderful time getting all ready for Christmas. Maybe after the crossing, I can even put my decorations up……

Heather & Murray