We finally left Stuart yesterday after 10 days. This is the longest we’ve stayed anywhere since leaving home. What have we been doing? Getting ready to go to the Bahamas!
I went grocery shopping at both Walmart and Publix and bought the mother-lode of food. I have never bought so much food at one time! It was very time-consuming. I studied all of the date labels on food items to try and get things that would last a while. I unloaded all of our storage boxes in our ‘garage’, re-packed everything and re-did my inventory list. A sound piece of advise was to keep an inventory list of where items are stored. This proved to be very useful because rooting through all of the boxes and lockers is not fun. I did all of this over the weekend when it was blowing really hard here out of the east. The marina is not very protected from the east so it was very bouncy while I was heads down in the storage areas–definitely not fun!
We had ordered a stand-alone freezer (gray box in photo) that runs on a 12V plug because our icebox was not keeping food frozen. The freezer is great! It’s stuffed with meat, fish and poultry. I even had room for some frozen waffles. Unfortunately, there was not enough room for ice cream:-(
We were invited over to John and Carolyn’s for cocktails on Sunday and afterwards, we went out to dinner to celebrate their anniversary and Carolyn’s birthday. We went to a delicious Italian restaurant in Stuart and had a great time talking over dinner and a nice carafe of Chianti.
On Monday, we got flu shots and took Bailey to the vet to obtain a health certificate that is required for entry in the Bahamas. They require a certificate dated within 48 hours of arrival which is very difficult to do because the crossing is dependent on getting a good weather window. We asked the vet if he could put the month/year on the certificate and leave the day blank so we could comply with the requirement but he refused and was kindof a jerk about it. Although Bailey checked out fine, it was not a good experience because now we had a certificate that was only good until Wednesday. Since we don’t want to run into any problems with Customs, wehad to figure out another plan.
Joe (from Onward) arrived at the marina on Monday and we started discussing the departure plans for the Bahamas. We were also in touch with Mike and Angie on Lady of Lorien. They had tried to join us in the St. Lucie river but couldn’t get into the entrance–too shallow. Joe thought we might be able to leave on Wednesday but after listening to the weather reports, we all decided that Saturday looked better.
As we tried to do all of the last minute chores, I decided that we needed to get haircuts. After 2 months we were starting to look shaggy. We went to the mall nearby and got pretty decent haircuts at one of the walk-in places (sorry Eddie!)
On Tuesday, we got together with Joe on his boat at 6:30 am to listen to the Chris Parker weather on his single sideband (SSB) radio. We have an SSB receiver but have yet to tune into the weather reports. Chris confirmed that the weather looked better for the weekend. We even heard Mike from Lady of Lorien ask Chris about the passage weather possibilities. So, the current plan is to head down to Lake Worth tomorrow and anchor out. I also called a vet near Palm Beach who said that they would be more than happy to see Bailey and provide another health certificate. She said that they provide them undated all the time since the 48 hour limit is not reasonable when considering all of the factors in making an ocean passage. I’ll file this away in the ‘live and learn’ category!
We met Joe for happy hour at the marina bar. Afterwards, we took him to the mall so he could get shorn too!
We returned the car on Wednesday morning and left Stuart around 10 am to make the shallow entry to the St. Lucie river during high tide. It was quite an adventure getting through the shallow spot because a tug and large barge were hard aground right between the channel markers. We weren’t sure exactly where the deep water was but managed to get past. Joe said he bumped a few times going through. The trip to Lake Worth included 5 bridges, some of which opened on a schedule and we had to either slow down or speed up to make an opening. It’s always ‘fun’ to wait for a bridge to open. Some boats insist on crowding the closer boats when there is very little room with wind and current to account for. Sometimes I just go below because it makes me too nervous to watch (Skip likes it when I go below since he knows how to handle the boat in these situations:)
Arriving at Lake Worth, we found a large anchorage in the north lake with over 50 boats anchored. We found Lady of Lorien and anchored nearby. When we took Bailey to shore, we were dismayed to find the dinghy landing to be a scrappy patch of sand near a bridge with very little room to lock the dinghy. All of the cruising guides say that this place is notorious for theft opportunities. We need to get a longer cable so we can lock up the dinghy here. I felt like a vagabond creeping ashore next to the bridge to walk Bailey (I guess that’s what I am now;-)
Joe held happy hour on his boat and we talked about preparing for the crossing. Now I’m getting really nervous! We will leave before dawn on Saturday to make West End by early afternoon. The weather predictions for the gulf stream are very good so I’m hoping that we’ll have an easy crossing. I probably won’t sleep until then…