Saturday, April 5, 2014

Leaving ORYC for the States

Last beach day for blue till next season
 Time on Kasidah is coming to an end this season. After a 3 day run from Grand Bahama we are sitting pretty at Indiantown  Marina almost ready to haul out on Monday.

Last party with our ORYC family
We left Ocean Reef Yacht Club (ORYC) on Saturday the 22nd on a rising tide about 10 am, Sunday was going to be the day for crossing the Gulfstream with very calm winds and seas, but we couldn’t leave and get out the channel in Grand Bahama to make it into West Palm before dark. So we left with 6 other boats a day early and headed to a spot near West End where ANOTHER unfinished canal system exists.
Last decision on which way around

Last canal to explore
Last perfect anchorage till next season
 The winds was to be from the East at 20-30 knts and the seas were to be about 4 to 7 ft, but we were all fine with that because for the most part it would be behind us for only a short while, then as we turned a little north the island would shelter the seas and a good beam reach for the last 3 hour ride up to the anchorage. The wind and the tide were coming into the channel so it wasn’t too difficult getting out and only a little confused till we got out past the reef and headed west with the wind behind us. The short trip to Freeport was fast as we where all watching each other come out the channel rising and falling in the swells and turning to the west. Approaching Freeport we could see all the tankers and container ships, some at anchor, some at the fuel dock stations and some adrift waiting their turn to get into port. All of our group made it past them all except the last two,….yeap we were one of them. We watched a pilot boat come out to one of the container ships headed in and leave dropping off his harbor pilot. We were both pretty close and I’d been watching him on my instruments and it was telling me he had no speed and I would pass in front of him,…Until the Harbor Pilot must have told him to “Go for it!” Well NOW I have a collision alarm as he’s now moving and in front of us, it was an easy decision to go around to the stern, the boat in front of us didn’t have AIS so I think he may have had to change his shorts. Once past Freeport our little turn to the north was followed by a change in the wind to the SW, so again the wind was RIGHT behind us. The waves had grown quite large and boats where disappearing as they fell into the swells. There were times when we settled into the swells and the swell in front of us was well over 10 ft. It was some of the biggest we’d been in and Kasidah was fine, I had the main up hoping for the beam reach that never came and I wasn’t going to take it down in these waves, yet…
Last great sail till next season

So it was tied off quite well and a little tricky for the next 2 hours into the secret anchorage. Once inside the well marked channel we found lots of water, 12-15 ft, there were also another six boats in there we set our anchor, dropped the dinghy and went for a ride to explore the anchorage. It was huge deep and a lot of somebody’s money was spent drudging, leveling all the spoils to raise the land by five ft or so, roads, electric and I assume sewer lines, street lights, and they’ve just stopped.  Had we not been happy with the anchorage we had planned to go into West End and Old Bahama Bay Marina for the night. This would cost about $100 but would be easy to walk Blue without having to lower the dingy, meaning a quick exit in the morning too. We later found out that the marina was Filled with boats for the crossing, and the spill over’s were anchored just around the corner on the bank. There the wind was ripping through the night and several boats dragged and one even lost an anchor some how. So at least we made the right choice for the night.
Last crossing of the season

Last swim along with our ocean friends 
We left the following morning for Florida with most of the other boats, the winds had died down as predicted and shifted, there were all sorts of predictions as to the wind direction, the consent was LIGHT, and it sure was. All day it was light West which was on the nose, of course. We heard it might shift through the day to the NW and even SW so all you could do was head to Florida. It was so light some of the boats took down all sails and motored the whole way. We started with the main and head sail, then the cutter and main, then just the main. Nothing got us above 6 knts, and we hadn’t hit the Gulfstream yet. I tried making as much south as I could in anticipation of the push north, but it slowed us down even more. So we sailed and motored to our best speed which would bring us a little north of the Palm Beach inlet, while hoping for an afternoon or evening wind shift to the north then we could switch to a starboard tack and sail fast to the south once out of the Gulf Stream. All day long I believe there was always another boat crossing to the west and within site. Several freighters and tankers were also part of the day but they were going north or south for the most part and with AIS there was never anything more than a 2 degree course change needed to give us miles of clearance. At one point we had a pod of Dolphins swimming in front of Kasidah, it was so calm both Arline and I rushed up on deck to watch and video them swimming off our bow, normally that is a big NO NO for us, we never go up without hooking in with a vest to the jack lines. The wind died even more the closer we got to Florida and a shift never really came. It was the longest, and for me the most frustration, crossing we ever had. We (I) couldn’t do anything to make some south happen with out our speed dropping to below 4, and even closer to 3. So we ended up maybe 3 or 5 miles north of the inlet. I thought the gulfstream was quite close to the coast judging from my instruments. My compass heading and boat was pointed at 270 but my COG was 300 and my Bearing to the inlet was climbing down past 270 till we got out of the stream and it was 250.

Last trip up the ICW till next season
We did make the inlet just at dark, 8:30 and had 3 or 5 miles to go to get to the anchorage in North Lake Worth. We had good tracks to follow from previous trips and there wasn’t much traffic. The anchor was set, dinghy dropped and Blue walked by 9:30 and a Grilled Cheese Sandwich, quick shower in the cockpit, small glass of rum and I was out for the night.

Mondays move to Stuart and Sunset Bay Anchorage started early with a way for blue, put the dinghy up on the davits and motor away. Glad it was a Monday because there was little traffic. No incidents’ with bridges, just a nice motor. Once on our mooring ball we saw all the others fill up fast as there was a big blow coming through for several days in a row. The marina was filled with people from all the years here, one set of boaters were leaving in a few days and needed to get their car to Indiantown, easily volunteering to do this, we fetched our car while dropping theirs off.

We made Indiantown after a week at Stuart we are pulling Kasidah apart, our haul out date is Monday the 7th, 10:00am.

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