Day 173, Year 10: Floating About on a Sea of Green
Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Weather: Sunny, Winds VERY Light (0-3 knots) and Variable
Latitude: 25 44.054 N
Longitude: 078 38.211 W
Location: On Mackie Shoal Headed NW to Florida-97 miles to Lake Worth Inlet

Well, we have been on a sea of green all day in water so shallow you can see the bottom, but we are motoring forward, not just floating about. We have had basically no wind all day and silky smooth seas, so at least motoring was easy. It is now 5 pm and the wind has picked up to a whopping 3-5 knots and we are now getting a NW swell that is disrupting our flat seas. We hope to get a little more wind overnight and into tomorrow morning, but the forecast calls for nothing more than 10 knots. So motor, motor, motor it is. We feel lucky to have this opportunity to head back to Florida with benign weather, so I shan’t complain about the motoring. It is just not my favorite way to travel. So far we have come about one-third of the distance of our total passage. We will pass an area referred to as Hens and Chickens (some little rocky islets) sometime after midnight and head across the Florida Straits. It will not be until the early hours of morning that we reach the fastest Gulf Stream current and once we do, it should be with us almost all the way to the Lake Worth inlet. The weather guru, Chris Parker, said this morning that we will have 3-4 knots of current and then it will abruptly go down to zero. So tomorrow morning’s part of the trip should be a fun ride. The northerly winds have gone away so the air temperature is once again hot. Our outside thermometer is in the sun right now and it reads 115 degrees F. But, of course, that is not the case. It is probably in the low 80’s and is 87 inside the boat with the motor going. But I shan’t complain about the heat, either. I just hope it is still this warm when we get to Florida.

I asked Mark today where he would go if he could return to the Bahamas next winter and all he said is further south. Actually I don’t think we would return to the Bahamas and the reason has nothing to do with the Bahamas. It is just too difficult to match the weather with Mark’s cancer treatment schedule, and then too expensive to fly to and from Florida. At over $600 a trip, we couldn’t afford many of those round trips. So if we do have the opportunity to continue to sail next winter, one possibility would be to go offshore from Norfolk to the British Virgins and then on to Puerto Rico. Mark could get treatments in Puerto Rico and our US Medicare and supplemental insurance would be valid there. That’s all too far into the future to think about right now, but I know both of us are silently thinking that spending another winter up north on the boat would just not be fun. So we will seek some alternative that we can afford. I don’t think either one of us wants to return to south Florida in Windbird again. It is just too shallow and the anchoring possibilities are getting slimmer and slimmer as laws are passed to keep cruisers from anchoring. We did enjoy West Palm Beach and that is why we are returning there for this next week while we wait for Mark’s next treatment. It will be nice to have phone and internet service again, but with our ability to do email and post logs via the HAM radio, we didn’t miss instant communication as much as some people might. We chose not to buy any plans for phone use. Instead, we made Skype calls when we were in anchorages with internet availability. Those anchorages are few and far between in the Exumas, but Warderick Wells in the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park had internet you could purchase, as did the Yacht Club in Staniel Cay. And there was free internet in Black Point on Great Guana Cay which was greatly appreciated. Black Point also had a laundromat. For us, it had very little else to offer. But if you do want internet or need a laundromat or free drinking water, it is absolutely the go-to place in the Northern and Central Exumas. And it is a comfortable anchorage in anything but westerly winds. Lee and Lynda were there twice and spent more than a week there the second time. They really liked it. Two different boats, two different stories. It is that way with cruising, so when you ask people for advice, you need to know the details about their boat (draft and mast height) and their personal preferences. But I do think Lee and Lynda would agree that anyone coming to the Exumas needs a watermaker. They don’t have one and it was a constant worry about where the next water source might be. As we are motoring today, ye old watermaker is banging out its merry little tune. It is irritating to listen to until you realize that without it, you have no water. So we embrace the watermaker ‘music.’

As I am finishing up this log, we are passing just north of Mackie Shoals. This is one of the places that people sometimes just drop the hook and spend the night in settled weather. This means we are a about one-third of the way to West Palm Beach. If things go as expected, by this time tomorrow afternoon, we should be settled off the city docks in West Palm Beach-home for a week.

150401 Day 173 Bahamas–Sea of Green
Day 174, Year 10: The End of an Adventure
Day 172, Year 10: New Providence Island to Chub Cay