Day 182, Year 10: Five Days in 24 Hours

Day 182, Year 10: Five Days in 24 Hours
Date: Friday, April 10, 2015
Weather: Sunny, Temp in the 80’s, Winds SE 2-4 knots AM, Going to 7-9
Latitude: 28 59.452 N
Longitude: 080 35.885 W
Location: ~12 Miles Off Florida’s East Coast, Just S of Daytona Beach
Miles Traveled: 143 nm

The good news is that we have traveled about five Intracoastal days in one 24-hour period. The bad news is that we are motor sailing, just as we would be in the Intracoastal. But we don’t have the traffic and the bridges, so I’d still say it’s a good deal to be out here. Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to continue on to Little River, South Carolina, in this one jump. We could be there by Monday, but the weather is just not cooperating. The weather guru, Chris Parker, said this morning that if you are traveling north along the coast, you should be in Charleston, South Carolina (90 miles south of Little River) by no later than tomorrow morning. Of course, there is no way we can make that. So we’ll take his advice and get in somewhere on the Georgia coast by tomorrow afternoon. His advice in this case is following the EURO weather model (European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts). NOAA’s weather follows the Global Forecast System (GFS) model and the two models don’t agree on exactly what is going to happen. Some people say the EURO model is better at predicting North American storms, but everyone agrees that there will be strong squalls and thunderstorms in this area late tomorrow into Sunday and strong wind coming from the NE for a period of time. So we’ll be prudent and duck in with the hope that we can continue offshore on Sunday afternoon or Monday. But the weather rules, so we will just have to wait for the Sunday forecast before deciding exactly what we will do. Tomorrow we will either come into Cumberland Island on the Florida-Georgia border or a tad further north in the Brunswick, Georgia, area where we would hide behind St. Simon’s Island. That can only happen if we get wind tonight to give us a little boost. But I dare not wish for wind because you sometimes get way more than you wish for. So we’ll just go along with whatever comes our way. Right now we are having a smooth ride. The winds overnight were 10-14 and the washing machine motion continued. But when the wind died down this morning, so did the seas. It really wasn’t what you call rough last night—just wishy washy. So merrily we roll along.

Day 181, Year 10: Headed North

Day 181, Year 10: Headed North
Date: Thursday, April 9, 2015
Weather: Sunny, Temp in the 80’s, Winds E 10-14
Latitude: 26 55.701 N
Longitude: 080 01.768 W
Location: Off Florida’s East Coast, Headed N in the Gulf Stream

When I wrote our destination in the Captain’s Log this afternoon I simply wrote, “North!!!” In the next few days we are headed to Little River, South Carolina, but we know we can’t make it in one offshore go. Weather is going to force us to come in sometime on Friday night or Saturday. At that point, we’ll decide whether to proceed in the Intracoastal Waterway in day hops or whether to continue offshore doing two more overnights. I guess the important thing is that we are on our way and we will adjust destinations as need be.

We were up and on our way to shore by 7:30 am this morning. We arrived at Holy Cross Hospital shortly after 8:30 am, but we didn’t leave there until 1:30 this afternoon. There was one delay after another and Mark’s infusion didn’t start until after 12 noon. We are so appreciative that Dr. Gomez adopted us to let Mark get his cancer treatments there this winter, but the hospital organization definitely needs some adjustments.

150409 Day 181a Florida, USA–Mark and Dr. Gomez

Steve stayed with Mark and I at the hospital and Mary Ellen and Lee went to visit with their son Bryon’s in-laws that live nearby. Thankfully they stayed around as they had to take us back to West Palm rather than having us take the train and trolley. With the hours of delay, we would never have made it out of the Lake Worth inlet this afternoon. Not only did we have a great time sharing a bit of our cruising lifestyle with them, but the timing of their visit was perfect for helping us with our shopping and taking us to and from the hospital. Thank you Mary Ellen, Lee, and Steve.

When we got back to West Palm we could see a very big megayacht aground in the ICW channel. There were all sorts of boats trying to pull it off, but the Lady Kathryn V was hard aground. As we left the anchorage and motored toward the bridge, we had to weave in and out of boats in the anchorage rather than use the channel. It was a big boat sitting sideways with lots of boats attached to it by lines trying to pull it. Sure hope the 200-foot Lady Kathryn V is free by now.

150409 Day 181b Florida, USA–Lady Kathryn V Stuck in the Waterway

But we made it passed her, through the bridge at the 3:15 pm opening, and then on out of the Lake Worth Inlet and into the Gulf Stream. It is a bit like being in a washing machine out here this evening, but we are getting a boost from the Gulf Stream current. We should have about 15 knots of wind overnight and in the morning, but then the wind goes away. So we will be motoring northward, hopefully with a little help from the current, getting as far north as possible before the cold front exits the coast and causes some ugly, squally weather with north winds out here.

Ed and Lynne of Constance called this afternoon to let us know that they made it to Cumberland Island t 2:30 pm last night. They left Eleuthera in the Bahamas on Sunday and had a good trip across. This morning they left Cumberland Island to head up the St. Mary’s River to the boat yard where the leave Constance. The funniest thing happened as they pulled out of the Cumberland Island anchorage. Sea Turtle passed right by them. It is really a small world.

Day 180, Year 10: Fun Boat Trip to Peanut Island

Day 180, Year 10: Fun Boat Trip to Peanut Island
Date: Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Weather: Beautiful Weather–Sunny, Temp in the 80’s, Winds E 10-15
Location: At Anchor in Palm Beach, Florida

Today was spent messing about on a boat. Early this morning we watched a Coast Guard boat install the Red 14 marker between our anchorage and the West Palm Beach city piers. It was interesting to watch and as soon as they were done, we pulled up the anchor in time to make the 10:15 am Flagler Memorial Bridge opening heading north. We motored the almost six miles to Peanut Island at the mouth of the Lake Worth Inlet. Evidently it was a dredging project in 1918 that created the island, the inlet, and the Port of Palm Beach. Peanuts were never grown on the island, but it was a planned peanut oil-shipping operation at the end of World War II. Thus the name. The peanut-oil project never worked out, but years later another event brought Peanut Island into the limelight. After the election of President John F. Kennedy, a bunker was built on the island to be used as a nuclear bomb shelter and control center if needed when the President spent time at his winter White House in nearby Palm Beach. Then in 2005, a $13 million renovation produced the current Peanut Island Park with camp sites, a pier, and even a manmade reef. We anchored Windbird off the east side of the island and took the dinghy into the pier. We walked all the way around the island on the very nice brick path but we didn’t get to tour the bunker as it is only open Thursday through Sunday. It was a beautiful day and great fun to be out and about in Windbird with Mark’s family. We all enjoyed the island and then returned to Palm Beach. We were in time for the 4:15 pm bridge opening, but quickly we learned that it doesn’t open at 4:15. We anchored and waited for the next opening. After anchoring we went to shore to have dinner at the Tin Fish and then took the trolley to City Place just to walk around and look at the sights. Mark and Mary Ellen ducked into a candy and ice cream parlor and had a bit of an after-dinner treat before we returned to Windbird. The Handley sweet tooth runs deep.

Tomorrow the gang will take us to Fort Lauderdale for Mark’s cancer treatment and then drop us off at the train station after his treatment for our return trip back to West Palm. Then Mark and I will up anchor and head out the Lake Worth inlet for destinations to the north. Depending on how much we are delayed by bad weather, we should be in Little River, South Carolina, no later than the end of next week . . . and hopefully sooner.

150408 Day 180 Florida, USA–Trip to Peanut Island

Day 179, Year 10: Happy Birthday, Ziggy

Day 179, Year 10: Happy Birthday, Ziggy
Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Weather: Beautiful Weather–Sunny, Temp in the 80’s, Winds E 10
Location: At Anchor in Palm Beach, Florida

Today our son’s first born turned six. Ziggy Milo was born as we were sailing from Thailand back down to Malaysia. Just before re-entering Malaysia, we stopped at Ko Lippe Island, bought a Chinese lantern, and sent it into the night sky to honor Ziggy’s birth. It looked just like a star as it rose in the sky and we have always thought of Ziggy as our little star since then. We got to sing Happy Birthday to him today via Skype video and it looked like he was having a great day. Happy Birthday, Ziggy!

And welcome to Mary Ellen, Lee, and Steve. Mark’s family arrived before noon and we spent a delightful day together. We had lunch on Windbird, drove over to The Society of the Four Arts to walk through the botanical and sculpture gardens, and then took off on a shopping trip. We bought a 20-pound propane tank so that we will have heat as we travel north, bought beer to replenish our dwindling supply, and made a stop at Costco to replace our dwindling food supply. We had dinner aboard Windbird and it is now way past time to go bed. We are so happy to have Mark’s family aboard and need to get a good night’s rest so we can continue the fun tomorrow.

150407 Day 179 Florida, USA–ME, Lee, and Steve Arrive in WPB

Day 178, Year 10: Fuel, Water, Food . . . and Weather

Day 178, Year 10: Fuel, Water, Food . . . and Weather
Date: Monday, April 6, 2015
Weather: No Change–Sunny, Temp in the 80’s, Winds SE 10
Location: At Anchor in Palm Beach, Florida

Fuel . . . Water . . . Food . . . Yep, we’re getting ready for our trek back to South Carolina and we spent today going to a fuel dock to get fuel and water and then coming back to our same anchoring spot. We then headed to shore and hopped on the free trolley to the only grocery store within walking or trolley distance. It is a Publix, the biggest supermarket chain down here, but this one calls itself a boutique shop. And small it is. Small would be fine, but the produce is never very good and the meat is really expensive. So after making the trip to buy ground beef to make meatloaf for the passage, we came home without it. It was going to cost more than $25 to make a meatloaf, so I decided we’ll eat something else. Mark’s sister, her husband, and Mark’s brother arrive tomorrow and they will have a car. Surely we can drive to a store that has a better selection and hopefully better prices!

Now for the weather part. It is just not cooperating. We thought we might have a four-day window that would allow us to get all the way to South Carolina, but it looks like that window is shutting. It is too early to be sure, but at this point, it looks like we might just get a 24-hour window outside which would get us to Cape Canaveral. So we will still leave here on Thursday afternoon and will arrive there Friday afternoon. Some ugly, squally, stormy weather is expected, so we would then travel on the inside in the Intracoastal doing day hops to the Florida-Georgia border. Another cold front is expected to exit the coast on Tuesday, bring more adverse weather. If we find ourselves near the Florida-Georgia border with bad weather, we will just wait there until another window opens allowing us to go outside to South Carolina. It is only two days from there, so hopefully sometime next week we will get there. It is really a shame that we couldn’t leave today. That would have allowed us to go all the way in one hop. But Mark needs to have a cancer treatment before we leave and changing an appointment at the Holy Cross Hospital seems to take an act of Congress. And even then, you can’t be sure the change has really been made as we found out when Mark flew back for his treatment from the Bahamas. So we didn’t dare call to ask for a change. We’ll just deal with whatever weather we get. For now, we just need to get ready to have fun with Mary Ellen and Lee and Steve. We’ll continue to get ready to go and worry about the weather later.

Day 177, Year 10: Easter Day in Boynton Beach

Day 177, Year 10: Easter Day in Boynton Beach
Date: Sunday, April 5, 2015
Weather: Sunny, Temp in the 80’s, Winds SE <10
Location: At Anchor in Palm Beach, Florida

Here’s hoping the Easter Bunny brought ‘hoppiness’ your way today. We had a lovely day in Boynton Beach with my sister-in-law Sue and her husband Brad. They have done so much for us while we have been in Florida this winter and today’s Easter dinner was delightful. One of Sue’s friends, Joanne (hope I spelled that right), was there, as well as Sue’s younger sister Ginny. Tuesday is Ginny’s birthday (the BIG 70) so we celebrated that as well. Thank you, Sue and Brad, for today and for all of the things you have done for us in the past three months. We really appreciate that you were here for us.

We took the train down to Boynton Beach which takes only16 minutes and costs $2.50 per person. Not a bad way to travel. When we got back to the West Palm station this evening, we walked the mile to the waterfront just for the exercise. That little rolling cart we bought the other day is coming in handy. I took sheets and towels to Sue’s to wash today and the bag was heavy. The cart made carrying the weight easy. We’ll probably be using it a lot this week as we prepare for the trek northward. But we will have a car for carting supplies come Tuesday. Mark’s sister, brother-in-law, and brother are coming over from the Gulf Coast to spend a couple of days with us. Since they will have a car, we will be able to provision more easily. After listening to the weather tomorrow morning, we will have a better idea of what our sail plan will be. Right now we are hoping to leave here Thursday afternoon and make a mad dash for Little River in South Carolina. But a strong cold front might prevent that from happening. So we will provision for the long haul and hope that we will use very little of the food in a four day trip.

150405 Day 177 Florida, USA–Easter Day in Boynton Beach