Sea Fever Gulf 32

Sea Fever Gulf 32

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Green Turtle Cay to Ft. Pierce- the long trek back!

Well, today, 5/16/12, Sea Fever, Compass Rose and Mindfulness sit at anchor in Ft. Pierce FL- back in the USA after our Bahamian adventure.  The decision to head home came unexpectedly fast.  We were in Green Turtle Cay, after moving from anchor in White Sound to Black Sound moorings on Thurs. 5/10- after the storms went through- causing at least 6 boats to drag (including Sea Fever and Mindfulness), and including sightings of 3 water spouts. After the first wave of storms hit- Mindfulness pulled anchor and headed across the Sea of Abaco for westerly protection- they were out there when the water spouts hit- and the were hit by funnel- and got video- warning us that they were coming.  Anyway, after the next wave came through and we all survived the water spouts, Sea Fever and Compass Rose moved to mooring in Black Sound.  We spent Thurs and Friday there, refilled diesel, and after listening to the weather decided to start slowly moving toward Great Sale Cay to stage for a crossing.  By the time we got going- winds were favorable- we kept going and going- passing several of the 'options' we had to spend the night.  We wound up at Crab Cay, where we were able to reach Mindfulness by VHF- they were in Allan-Pensicola- just north of us.  We all decided to head for Great Sale in the morning and stage to cross.
 Compass Rose on the way from Green Turtle to Crab Cay 5.12.12
 Final Bahama's sunset for this trip- Great Sale Cay 5.13.12
Sunday morning we had more favorable winds and started our way to Great Sale, a 40 nm run- which we made in 8 hours. Dropped anchor and prepared for the next leg.  Mindfulness had tried to anchor outside but it was too rough, so they decided to head on to Mangrove Cay- another 25 miles! (I was too beat for that.)
Improvising- light winds from the East on the way from Crab Cay to Great Sale- boat hook used to hold out Genny.
Shoals to starboard on the way to Great Sale
 Why they recommend NOT traveling at night and to use your Chartplotter- Sale Rocks, and other rocky areas are all over this part of the Bahama Banks!

When we got up Monday morning, the plan was to go about 51 nm to the edge of Little Bahama Bank, drop the anchor and rest for about 5 hours before we'd head across the Gulf Stream to Ft Pierce.  We had  light winds from the east so had to motor sail again, and as we were crossing the bank there were thunderstorms all around us.  Luckily, we were not in their paths- but some were closer than we'd like.
Compass Rose crossing Little Bahama bank  under full sail
Water spouts trying to form as we crossed the bank- luckily they never formed!

Well, underway we heard from Mindfulness- they had heard a weather forecast saying that the Gulf Stream was calm and though winds would be light over night, storms were predicted for Monday... they were going straight across.  What should we do?  Stop as planned at the edge and rest for a few hours, or try to keep ahead of the storms and cross without stopping.... of course. intrepid souls that we are... let's sail on!  hmmm.. no sleep for 24 plus hours?  well- better than rocking and rolling in the middle of thunder-lightening and sideways rain- right? So, we went into idle speed as we hit the edge, Compass Rose added fuel, Sea Fever got out the crackers, peanut butter, and 4 bottles of water, and into gear we go... no stop!
Sunset over the Bahama Bank as we 'go over the edge' and into the open Atlantic- 'crossing the stream'.

Well- no more pictures now, until the sun comes up.  We were in very light winds and gentle rollers- Sea Fever opted to motor across- no way I wanted to be out on the deck trying to fix a wrapped line and fall over with no one knowing it!.  Compass rose got out their genny part of the trip.  Then.. we were surrounded by darkness.  We both had plugged in the line to Ft Pierce so could get 'there from here', but we wanted to be sure to stay together, so Sea fever fell in line behind Compass Rose and kept an eye on the bright "back porch light' and the mast head light- that was about all I saw for the next 10 hours- except, of course the 2 huge cruise ships that crossed our paths in the middle of the night.  The mast light seemed to be swinging from water to water- though I know it wasn't that far! Then we were facing the most fantastic light show- lightening cracking all over- lighting up the sky all around us- luckily it stayed in front of us and we made it to daybreak!
Compass Rose fighting the Gulf Stream at dawn

We made it to the shelf, headed to Ft Pierce and the long trip 9we thought we were home, but it took about 5 more hours to reach the Ft Pierce inlet)... and... Sea Fever was stopped and boarded by Customs and Border Patrol... why did they pick me???  Anyway, very professional and courteous agent came abord, looked at my ids, and vessel documents, did a quick search of the boat and then sent me on the way to catch up with Compass Rose as we entered the inlet.
According to my GPS- it was supposed to be dead low tide, with water just starting to push us in through the inlet...NOT!!! as you can see- we were fighting a STRONG outgoing tide- and the rollers... way worse than the Gulf Stream (of course, it was dark out there so maybe they were bigger than we thought, but..) I thought this one was going to fill Compass Rose's cockpit!  It took another 45 minutes to make it thru the inlet to the anchorage just north on the iCW- (28 hours with no sleep.. please let us get to the anchorage soon!)  Made it.  Dropped th anchors, tried to get a little sleep- then hit the tiki bar at Harbortown Marina!

First sunrise on returning the good ole' US of A!

Go to my spot adventure site to follow the 'pings' as we made the trek from Green Turtle to Ft Pierce!
Spot pings from Green turtle to USA

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