Friday, December 19, 2014

Vero Beach to Green Turtle

We sat in Vero Beach for 4 days while watching it rain on and off for most of it, and listening to Chris Parker. Between all of our Passage Weather, Wind Finder and NOAA we listen to Chris. He always is cautious with the weather and seems to be able to let you know when its safe to make a passage. Saturday as we sat drinking coffee listening to Chris he mentioned a weather window he had not mentioned before. There was suppose to be a very short one on Sunday but we felt it was to small of one for a sailboat. Perhaps a powerboat but not us. This window was suppose to be good all day Saturday. We hardly make quick decisions but we did today. We got dressed and headed into the marina to pay and try to catch the first bus to Publix for last minute stuff. Once we get to the marina we realize its Saturday and the earliest bus would not be till 9:10. So we paid for our stay and figured we would just buy what we needed here. We would pay more but thats okay. We hurried back to the boat, lifted the dinghy and dropped the mooring making our way south to the Ft. Pierce. It would be about a two hour trip down the ICW which gave Dirk enough time to run jack lines and tidy the deck up and me enough time to go below and whip up some pasta salad and chicken salad for the crossing. With that done we turned east and headed out the inlet. It was pretty rough as the tide was still outgoing with east winds blowing which made for a very uncomfortable first few minutes. Butters let us know his displeasure by his three p's pee, poop, and puke, one right after the other. I knew it would happen yet didnt pick up the mat I keep in the cockpit. Oh well, shame on me. Glad we have a cockpit shower and was able to hose it all down.

Butters, hanging in the cockpit.
 Once he finally was drained and was down for the count we insured he was safely tucked away in his corner and set out to cross the Stream. Seas were not bad, 3 to 5 feet but a good time between them. It was very do able. About 2pm we started to feel the pull of the Gulf Stream and Dirk threw out some lines. Soon he had a Mahi on the line. You can always tell because they make that leap out of the water. Unfortunately for us the swivel on the tackle broke and Mr. Mahi along with our lure were never to be seen from again. As the sun set behind us the moon rose in front of us. What great luck for us. Soon we were cruising along with the almost full moon above us lighting our way. We finally emerged onto the Bahama Banks around 10pm which was great but we still had many more hours ahead of us. We took our turns napping and keeping watch. Butters finally decided he had his sea legs and once again accepted a tiny bit of food and water. By 5:30 am the horizon began to show signs of sunrise and we could see the land begin to take shape.

Dirk hoisting the Q flag
 The banks were now almost glass with just a few ripples. Great Sale is an unihabitated island with a great anchorage to tuck into. Especially for winds north and east. We slipped into the anchorage and there were only two other sailboats and three powerboats. Not too many people took advantage of the window although we were in radio contact with a few that were going all the way to Green Turtle.

As we were anchoring, the sun was rising and the moon was still in the sky

First Bahama sunrise of the season
Just as we were anchoring, everyone else that had gotten there the night before was picking up anchor and heading out. We had the whole place to ourselves. Never seen it like that. We both had showers and made our way to bed only to find we were restless. Who can sleep when the sun is shining and you have just arrived into a new country. We both managed cat naps and before I knew it Dirk was up saying he was ready to go. Wait, we only got here three hours ago. He said I could stay in bed as he started to pick up anchor. Well Im not gonna sleep so I might as well get up and make some coffee. I made coffee and we set our sights on Crab Cay where we would anchor for the night. As Dirk navigated I stashed some champagne into the fridge to chill for this evening. We always celebrate our crossings with champagne. We made it to the anchorage shortly before sunset which these days is still early. Dirk got the dinghy into the water and made tracks to go retrieve some coconuts like we always score each time we stop here.

Coconut found
Coconut husked
Back to the boat where I made us a home made pizza and we popped the champagne toasting a great
crossing. The following morning we picked up anchor and headed to Green Turtle to check into customs and get a mooring ball inside White Sound as the holding isnt that great and the winds were suppose to howl. As we traveled we saw the squalls from behind trying to catch up with us but they never did.
Squalls trying to catch us
The winds provided some nice sailing for us though. Finally pulling into the Green Turtle anchorage outside of the government dock, we set the anchor and Dirk gathered the appropriate paperwork and passports then headed off. I spent the time tidying up. Soon he was back and we lowered the quarantine flag and hoisted the Bahamian courtesy flag.
Courtesy flag hoisted
 We were now legal and ready to roam.

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