Thursday, January 16, 2014


Daytona Beach ‒ North Palm Beach
December 9 ‒ January 16

Christmas at home was wonderful, celebrating and enjoying time with people we love. Now we’re back on the boat and officially in full-on preparation mode. Our crossing-readiness plan looks something like this:
Indian River sunrise by NASA causeway
Step 1: Move farther south to a good jumping-off point. We are behind the bulk of boats crossing to The Bahamas. Maybe that’s why we were able to anchor all by ourselves on three consecutive nights. We love the silence and solitude of unshared anchorages.

One of those spots was south of Titusville right by the huge NASA facility and the causeway that takes workers to the Kennedy Space Center. We were in a manatee zone, and as the light fell, fifty feet behind the boat three different groups of manatees returned from their daytime feeding grounds. They traveled in a line with just a small part of their bodies exposed and, as the Waterway Guide says, resembled floating coconuts.

On Monday, January 13, we arrived at our launch point: Palm Beach (Lake Worth Inlet).

Lighthouse at St. Lucie Inlet
Step 2: Order last-minute supplies. A second pole spear and cedar plugs should help Keith land a few super-fresh seafood dinners. (Watch out, lobsters and mahi-mahi! Or, on second thought, Never mind!)

Step 3: Top off all tanks. It’s no surprise that fuel is more expensive in The Bahamas. However, it was a little culture shock on our first trip to learn that water (reverse-osmosis), being such a precious commodity, most often sells for $0.50/gallon. We don’t have a water-maker as quite a few cruisers do, so we economize by washing and rinsing a sinkful of dishes in two cups of water and showering with what feels like the same amount.

Step 4: Provision with perishables. Just before we go, we’ll pack the refrigerator/freezer with produce, meat, and fresh dairy items. Basic staples can be found in any settlement, not to mention fish, lobster, and conch. Even certain luxury items like fresh Irish butter are available for very low prices. But paper goods and more specialized groceries are very expensive. Make the list and check it twice. (Non-perishable foods are already crammed into every available cranny.)
A portion of our non-perishables

Step 5: Make passage foods. Who wants to slice and dice as the cutting board—the entire galley—pitches and rolls? A couple comfort-food meals will be on standby for a quick warm-up.

Step 6: Study charts and entry points. Decide on a course and destination (we’re thinking Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands). Then study some more and keep the options open, depending on Step 7, below.

Step 7: Wait for a weather window. A “weather window” means no strong northerly winds opposing the Stream’s north-flowing current, building big seas and making the passage uncomfortable, even dangerous. We just missed one crossing opportunity because we weren’t yet ready. Now cold fronts are stacking up, arriving every couple days. It looks like at least next week before a window that allows us to cross the Gulf Stream.

Of course, no matter how prepared we may try to be, so much is outside of our control. And so we try to wait patiently, watching for what God may bring our way today, right where we are. Ready…set…wait!

Patience is…not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control.
Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment,
to taste the here and now, to be where we are.
When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are.
We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else.
Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.
Henri J. M. Nouwen


  1. You guys look to be having a great time! Be safe and enjoy the warmth.


  2. I enjoyed reading your steps to preparedness. Oh, my – you are quite the adventurers. I feel much more comfortable reading about your travels in my little cottage, feet firmly planted on the ground, but want to wish you smooth sailing. May you have perfect breezes and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.