Saturday, February 2, 2008

Lake Worth, FL to Man O War Key, Abacos, Bahamas

The Trip Begins - Leaving Lake Worth
Tuesday, January 29th
We welcomed John and Marny of Interlude to the Lake Worth anchorage. Barry dropped the dinghy quickly and we sped right over to anxiously greet them. Back in December while at the Ortega Yacht Club Marina, John and Marny agreed to meet us in Lake Worth and make 'the crossing' to the Bahamas together. John and Marny had made the crossing many times before and we were grateful for their expertise.

We napped after dinner and woke to an alarm at 11 pm. Just as we were ready to pull the anchor around midnight, John and Barry did one last weather check, discussed the conditions and agreed to leave. The forecast was 3-5 foot waves out of the south, with a 2-3 foot swell from the northeast. The wind was forecast for 10-15 knots out of the south. We almost delayed the trip because of possible higher than expected seas, but we were able to determine that those conditions were north us near Cape Canaveral. At 12:15 am we were underway. Barry was on deck with a spotlight helping to identify the markers and Barb was at the helm. Fortunately there were no large ships in the harbor channel during our exit!

While underway we watched a large tug boat pushing a large barge pass in front of us. We were glad to have radar, which helped us determine the path and speed of the vessel. It was hard to determine speed and actual direction the vessel was traveling during the night with a half moon and clouds overhead.

We experienced 2-4 foot waves from the south with a 2 foot swell from the northeast. The winds were 8-12 knots out of the southwest. These conditions made for a rolly ride with the seas coming from two different directions. As we approached the Little Bahamas Bank, about 8 miles out, we experienced current from a third direction and the seas were very confused. So, now we really rocked and rolled but it was not unpleasant. During this portion of the trip we hand steered and turned off the auto pilot. We did have to motor-sail the entire trip and were not able to simply sail any portion of the trip. At dawn we were on the eastern and last part of the Gulf Stream.

Memory Rock
Wednesday, January 30th
Once past Memory Rock and fully on the bank, the seas laid down and we had a most pleasant ride the rest of the day. It was interesting to head out of Lake Worth with a heading of 95 degrees to make Memory Rock, Bahamas with a bearing of 81 degrees. The Gulf Stream pushed us north as we crossed the Gulf Stream, and we passed Memory Rock at 10:30 am. Well, here we expected quite a beautiful rock simply because of the name. It certainly was a memory only because the rock was a small bump on the horizon! A few more hours to go and we can sleep!

Great Sale Cay to Green Turtle Cay
At 5:15 pm we dropped the anchor at Great Sale Cay! Yeah, only 17 hours to make it here. John and Marny had arrived about 3 hours before we did. Interlude is a slightly faster trawler. Once again, we dropped the dinghy into the water and sped over to Interlude for a celebration! But, seeing as we were all tired we headed back early to get a good night's sleep.

Up at the crack of dawn, Thursday, January 31st, to leave for Green Turtle Cay. Another long day and time for us to clear customs. But, Beach Cruiser was moving slowly against the wind and current most of the way. So, we all decided to stop at Spanish Cay to clear customs and take on some fuel. The customs officer was so nice and it was painless to clear customs here. The stop was short, less than an hour, and we were out in the channel heading for Green Turtle Cay, our destination for the day. We made it; however, we anchored instead of going into a marina because the sun was setting as we set the anchor.

Green Turtle Cay to Man O War Cay
Next day, Friday, February 1st, we all slept in. Mid morning all four of us loaded in our dinghy and headed to Green Turtle Cay to stretch our legs and check out the New Plymouth settlement. We found the people so very delightful, the island beautiful (note the colorful houses in the picture), and the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Sea of Abaco absolutely beautiful with multiple shades of blue. By 11 am we were headed back to our boats to make way to Man O War Cay.

The weather was good so we wanted to make the passage around Whale Cay, which involved going out into the Atlantic Ocean and back into the Sea of Abaco by Great Guana Cay. We made the passage without any problems and arrived at Man O War Cay by mid-afternoon.

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