The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Hi everyone,

We have arrived back in the US, at Port Canaveral. In fact, we arrived here at 7:45 am yesterday. The title above refers to the trip, not our location!

The trip started out bad as the water cooling for the engine did not function. So, we sailed off the anchor, had breakfast and Murray replaced the water pump from his store of spare parts. Both speed readout and autopilot worked initially, but failed as we progressed.

There were good parts to the trip, some were even incredible. First, Murray caught 1 and 3/4 fish. Total edible weight of 8 lbs. The 3/4 fish was landed with severe damage to the side and tail area. The spacing of the teeth marks and their size seemed to indicate a shark, rather than a barracuda. But, we got most of it.

Two different times, we had visitations by groups of dolphins. The second group was about fifteen in total and they played around our bow for ages. At one point, there were six abreast in our bow wave. They would drop back, then zoom forward, roll over and look at us, then disappear under the bow and allow another to take his place. They are amazing creatures.

Just as we left the shallow banks on our 160 mile trip, a tropicbird soared overhead and circled us several times. They are a white tern-shaped bird with an extremely long tail. It was lovely to see it and an appropriate goodbye to our tropic islands.

The Gulf Stream crossing was uneventful. It was lumpy as usual, but mostly 4 to 5 ft waves with occasional 6 to 8 footers to add to the mix. We saw a few ships but none that came close enough to make us sweat.

The autopilot worked most of the night, but broke at about 4 am. That was the bad. Now, we had to take turns on the helm, with the other person trying to catch a nap on the cockpit seat.

The ugly started shortly thereafter. First it was just a gentle rain. Murray was below, checking the computer. I figured that it would be the usual Bahamian style brief shower. Wrong again! The gentle rain rapidly changed into a downpour. Soon, we could hardly see the bow of the boat. The wind changed direction and intensity. We grabbed rain gear and tried to keep dry. That was a lost cause as it continued to rain until long after we entered the harbour. The computer and chart program led us right to the entry buoys. Due to the heavy rain, the radar was unable to pick out the markers, so I was very glad to have the computer and charts running.

We passed through the port and the small lock into the Banana River. Six or seven manatees shared our lock and swam ahead of us as we exited. The anchor went down shortly thereafter. Then, a little hot cereal was in order just to warm up. When the rain stopped at eleven, we headed off to officially enter the country.

So, we have crossed the Gulf Stream once again. This makes it 10 times. Now we will slowly cruise up to Green Cove Springs, do some work on the boat and then head back to Canada.

Hope to see you all soon. Love,

Heather & Murray