21 November, 2016
Wow! We’re finally off. Anticipating our Thursday departure, our Krogen pals, Lisa and Mark threw a “Bon Voyage” party for us at the Sunset Bay Marina. Being the partiers that they are, around thirty fellow Krogenites showed up for heavy apps and sips. We were touched by the gesture, realizing that we probably wouldn’t see this gang for a few years. Ever the sentimentalist, Randy quickly brought me back to Earth with the comment that having a party was the only way that they could get our “*sses off the dock”. True to form, we DIDN’T get off the dock on Thursday. Angel and his guys weren’t quite finished with the varnish (yes, we broke down and hired it out this year). It was a good thing, too. We discovered that one of our heads was leaking, which required breaking in to the inventory for some spare seals. That crappy job accomplished, I was under the galley sink looking for disinfectant, only to discover that the trap was dripping through a rusted-through elbow. A quick bike ride to Ace Hardware, and a few minutes of work had that problem cured. I have to admit that I was a bit shocked by a plumbing job that actually went smoothly. Somewhere during the course of the day, I got a text from Scottie, our ace mechanic, techie, friend, moral supporter asking if the parts had arrived. Parts? Oh yeah, those parts (spare alternator and starter for the generator that I had ordered a few weeks earlier and completely forgotten about (they didn’t make it on to my checklist, which was now empty)). We weren’t too overly concerned about not getting out quickly, as the weather looked very UNfavorable for a crossing to the Bahamas until the middle of the following week. Long story short, within a few hours UPS tracking said the parts would be here Friday by 10h30, we went out to dinner with our pals Larry and Deb, and the weather forecast changed. Surprise! It looked like we would have a very short window to cross the Gulf Stream on Saturday. So, this is boating, right? The goods were delivered, and we were off the dock by Noon, headed down the Intracoastal Waterway, planning to exit the Lake Worth Inlet off West Palm Beach.
Since we would be heading into unfamiliar territory this year, and aren’t real familiar with the weather patterns there, we decided to contract with a weather router for personalized reports. We made our first contact with Chris Parker, weather guru of the Caribbean, for his advice. He concurred, saying that a midnight departure should provide us with a good ride ahead of an approaching front, which would bring heavy winds with it. In fact, if we ran non-stop, we might even make it to Georgetown before it caught up with us two days hence. Sounded good to us. We pulled in to the anchorage near the turning basin in Lake Worth(Palm Beach) right at dusk, got the hook down, and were treated to the spectacle of a cruiseliner departing through the inlet. We hit the sack at 19h30, anticipating an 00h00 departure. Problem was, at 21h22, (but who’s counting?) up on the roof, there arose quite a clatter. No-it wasn’t Santa and his reindeer. Suzanne elbowed me awake, exclaiming that there was a boat next to us. I was in the total fog that envelopes us in the second hour after sleep, but I could totally look up out of our porthole, and see a boat with floodlights ablaze, looming above us. I pulled on my boxers and scrambled out on deck for a look. The guy on the boat 3 feet away from us is screaming at me that we were dragging anchor, and that I needed to “get the Hell away from his boat!” I wasn’t quite sure how we had dragged anchor, then drifted upwind in a 17 knot breeze, against a 3 knot incoming tide to hit him in the stern, but it was no time for debate. By this time, Suz had the main started, and I was hauling in the anchor, which was well-embedded in the bottom on a 5:1 scope. We moved about a quarter mile away from the anchoring expert on the 65 foot motoryacht with the rope rode and shiny (and probably seldom-used anchor). Yes, that was sarcasm. Two hours later, we woke up and motored out of the anchorage, past the aforementioned yacht, their deck lights fully lit, and someone on the foredeck fooling with the anchor. No harm, no foul. Coulda been worse.
The seas had laid down to 1’-3’, on 4 seconds, and it was a gorgeous, moonlit night. I took the first watch, because, as usual, I was too excited to sleep. As the night wore on, the seas continued to moderate, and by 09h00, when Suz got up, we had about a 1’ chop, with winds down to 10 knots. I got my beauty rest in, and we are on the Bahama Bank, cruising under fluffy cumulus clouds, temperature 73F. I anticipate that we’ll pass by the west end of New Providence Island (where Nassau is located) at around 01h00 Sunday morning, continuing southeast to the Family Islands of the Exuma chain.