Just a brief note to update you on our progress.
We spent a day in Lake Worth and sent e-mail, as you know. We met a couple on another boat interested in crossing to the Bahamas but it looked like no window existed. So, Thursday morning, we rose early and prepared for an offshore run to Ft Lauderdale. As we left, the other boat called and said the window looked good for tonight. We loaded on fuel and water and anchored near the outlet to the sea in preparation. Everything loose below decks was carefully stowed. Pulses quickened and, even though we tried to nap, sleep wouldn’t come. Just before we were to leave, we checked with the weather guru, Herb, and he indicated wind switching to the north west at midnight. No go ! If the wind is from the north at all, the gulf stream is not a good place to be. When we arose in the am, it looked as though the wind had stayed SW to SE, although that was inshore. Who knows what is going on out there.
But we did go out on the great blue ocean anyway. We traveled offshore to Ft Lauderdale, motor-sailing as the winds died. We were in water that was up to 200 ft deep. The fishing line, that trailed behind, did not catch anything for dinner. Oh well, I thawed some chicken. A large cruise ship chased us into the inlet at Lauderdale. But he didn’t go under the bridge! We motored a little way up the ICW and found an anchorage in Lake Sylvia. We are surrounded by very expensive homes and large hotels. A 24 hr limit is placed on anchoring here. But tomorrow we will move on to Miami, just 20 miles on the outside.
Feb 14th. We spent Valentine’s Day on the ocean being bounced around. The wind was from the NW and so far astern that we could not make our course but had to tack down wind. The seas were very lumpy and confused. But, we hadn’t seen anything yet! The entrance channel to Miami harbour was wild! Waves crashed into our boat from all sides and a small fishing boat tried to go between us a large ship. The fishing boat was tossed like a cork and almost crashed into us. Eventually we got inside the breakwater and into calmer water. At least it should be calmer! There was so much traffic of cigarette boats, cruisers, jet skis, ferries etc etc that the channel was extremely rough. Eventually, we found our way to a very calm, protected anchorage at Marine Stadium. Before Hurricane Andrew water shows were held here but the facility was very damaged in the storm and not re-built. Here we found some boats that we had met previously and had invitations to cocktails on one boat and dinner on another within an hour of anchoring! This seems like a great place!
Most of the boats here are awaiting a weather window to cross to the Bahamas. From here it is only about an eight hour sail to Gun Cay or Bimini. Just a short hop! If the weather is good! For the next several days, it sounds like it will be very bad, so I am glad we have a secure anchorage in which to wait. The soonest we may cross is Thursday. Now we have to re-stock with fresh vegetables and bread and get the laundry bucket out. The toilet plunger and bucket laundry does quite a good job. There also is a beach nearby where we can swim if it gets warm enough. In fact the anchorage looks very clean and inviting but just a little cold today.
I am not aware of anywhere to send this e-mail from, but I will be looking. Friends, Charlie and Nancy Stevens, are staying nearby and we will try to connect with them on Sunday.
All the best to everyone.
Heather & Murray Rand
aboard Windswept IV
Ham Radio VE3 ZUA