Friday, 4 March 2016

Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas

We left Fort Lauderdale on Feb 27th, Steve's birthday!!  It was another beautiful Florida day as we head toward Palm Beach.  Although it was about 50 miles we decided to take 2 days to get there.  We are still in awe of the boats along the river and ICW.

The ICW toward Palm Beach was beautiful.  So much to see on every part of the canal.   

If you don't want to go in to a Marina for fuel you can call a fuel truck and they will deliver diesel right to your boat.  This boat was getting delivery right in the ICW.

Happy Birthday to this guy!! 
We arrived at our anchorage mid afternoon.  We were surrounded by beautiful homes.  There was a small piece of beach at the end of a dead end road across the ICW for Dexter.  It was perfect!
Let the birthday celebrations begin!! 
Up early heading to Palm Beach.  As we head further north the houses were getting even bigger and more beautiful. 

We passed these two homes under construction.  

We had just passed under a bridge when we heard our names being called on the vhf radio.  It was our friends that we met back on the Mississippi River.  We had drinks on their beautiful boat, "First Snow".  They have crossed their wake, which means they have completed the loop.  They must be heading south now for warmer temperatures.
Approaching Palm Beach now and the boats are HUGE!!!  These boats are fed lots and lots of diesel.  Some burn in excess of 200 gallons an hour, we burn 3.  So our fun costs us $7.05 an hour.  Their fun costs $470. an hour.  These boats also have full time crew of 4 or more people.  CHA CHING!$!

We anchored in Palm Beach, waiting for a weather window.  This beauty drove right past. 

Steve getting in some fishing.  All he was catching was cat fish.  Good eating but we didn't keep any.  He caught a few.

It was a beautiful evening as we watched a cruise ship exit the pass from Palm Beach to the Atlantic. 
We have a weather window to go to the Bahamas!!  There is quite a bit to do.  We found yesterday that we were missing a very important chip for our chart plotter....Bahamas.  We called Blue Charts in Fort Lauderdale and they have the chip we need.  They said they would ship it and since they were only 45 minutes away we would have it next day.  We also had to get Dexter to a vet within 48 hours of entering the Bahamas because he needs papers to enter that say he is a healthy dog.  Instead of risking shipping the chip and having a little more convenience to take Dexter to the vet we decided to rent a car. 

We always go with the best deal when renting a car.  This is the third time since we started this trip that we are renting.  We usually pay around $35 for a day.  As the Enterprise staff were looking for a car for us, I said...."what about the Mustang?"....the Manager looked at the girl that was looking after us and said "give her the Mustang"....whaaaaat!.....a convertible on a nice day in Florida!  Top down all the way.  Dexter was safe in his crate in the back seat, buckled in. 

The homes away from the coast were just as beautiful as those on the water. 

The hedges were pristinely trimmed.  I bet the owners don't have a hair out of place either.

The side streets are very narrow with not much room to pass another vehicle.
Before we stopped at the vet we also had to make a stop at a bank.  Bahamas like their cash and we only had just over $300 on hand.  Went to the bank to get some more cash and then off to the vet.
  Poor little guy, hates the vet.  Came out with a clean bill of health, should be good to go for entry to Bahamas.

Next morning we woke at 4:30 all set to go to the Bahamas.  We did one last check of the weather and noticed the wind direction had changed to a northern component.  When ever there is a northern wind direction in the gulf stream it's a no go.  This is a little confusing but when the wind blows north and the current is north, the wind and waves are actually moving in different directions.  The wind comes from the north and the waves go in the direction of the north.  The north wind blows over the 3 knot northern current which can increase the waves substantially making for a very uncomfortable and dangerous ride.  We decided to stay put but we were thinking we might lose our window. 
The next day looked promising and turned out to be good to cross.  We pulled anchor and prepared for our 56 mile cross to the Bahamas. 
A shot of Palm Beach as we are heading toward Bahamas.

We could tell not just by the speed of the boat but the water temperature that we had hit the gulf stream.  Water temperature according to Standard Horizon chart plotter is 85 degrees!!  Love to stop for a swim but that 3 knot current might sweep you away.

The crossing took a total of 9 hours.   Since there are no high rise buildings in the Bahamas you don't see land until you are almost on top of it.  As navigator, Steve would say to me, "don't let me miss this or we might end up in Africa.  When we saw land we were about 3 miles off shore. this shot was taken 1 mile off shore.  The last shot taken leaving Palm Beach we are about 10 miles off shore. This is West End, Grand Bahama Island!
When you first arrive in the Bahamas you must fly a yellow quarantine flag.  That flag tells that you have not cleared customs.  We came in flying the yellow flag. 
 Before we even hit the dock Steve was called off the boat and in to the Customs office.  We started to secure the boat but were told in a stern voice.  Passports!, boat registration please!  I guess the boat can wait.  Only the captain is allowed to leave the boat but I did get permission to let Dexter pee. 

After about 10 minutes Steve returned and we were good to go.  Even Dexter was permitted entry. 
 Grand Bahamas West End Customs office....conveniently located by the washrooms.
 Once we cleared customs we remove the yellow quarantine flag and replace it with the Bahama courtesy flag.  We removed our weather beaten US courtesy flag for now.  When we return to the States we will fly the yellow flag again until we clear customs State side.  
This adventure has always been a dream.  In our wildest dreams we never thought we would be here today.  Don't ever take health for granted.  Live life to it's fullest, always, life is short.   

The pink dots on the map below show exactly where we started and where we have come to date, with a few side trips to Nashville, Joe Wheeler Park and Bahamas.  From here we will play around the Bahama Islands for 3 or 4 weeks then head back to the US up the Eastern Coast......"One Bay at a Time."

1 comment:

  1. hapy birthday steve.cant whaite to be there next year.
    John& Kara