The Window is Closed

Monday March 11, 2013

image

The anchorage we chose in Lake Worth is at the northern most end of the lake, about two miles north of the inlet.  Although we’d need to travel a little ways to get out when we’re ready, the spot we chose is within walking distance of a Publix and a West Marine, so it was an easy choice for us as where to stay.  The weather window we were looking at is for Tuesday, tomorrow, and we thought we’d just stop over for a day, finish our last little errands, like getting the proper wire to make our anemometer read again since something happened during repairs to the keel and we haven’t been able to tell wind speed at all since we’ve been on our way again.  Then stock up on pop at Publix and we’d be all set.  Eventually finding our way to the dinghy landing, which was hidden up a creek behind some apartment buildings, we pulled up to see a man working on a shabby and run down wooden dinghy.

  We exchanged pleasantries and asked if he needed help with anything, which he declined.  He only mentioned that the dinghy he had now was purchased off eBay for a mere $100 because his much nicer inflatable dinghy had been stolen a few days earlier.  Although he had been locking the dinghy each time he went to shore, since he had been in the area for awhile and was on a bit of a schedule of when he went to shore and then back to his boat, he thinks that he was cased out by some local fisherman that knew when he’d be away from his dinghy and for how long, giving them the opportunity to go in and cut the cable from where it was locked and take it away by water.  It was very sad and unfortunate, and our hearts went out to him.  We did find out that luckily he lived in town so he wasn’t stranded from his boat/home, which is what happens to many people if their dinghy is stolen while out cruising.

Talking to him for a few minutes more, we told him about our trip down the ICW from St. Augustine, and how we were looking to make our crossing as soon as possible because our accident put us way behind schedule.  While telling him a little bit more about ourselves he stopped us and goes, “Wait…I know you two!!”.  Thinking it might be like another case of how Tango heard about us through forums or other cruisers I just smiled and nodded until he continued.  “I met you just after your accident, in the laundry room of the municipal marina.”  Sure enough, the man standing in front of us was a guy we had met earlier.  Kim happened to be in St. Augustine right when we crashed and got to hear our sob story while we were doing laundry while still moored out, before going to the marine center and finding out all the damage.  He asked how things went, and said he was glad that we were back on our way again.  What a small world.  I’m still not sure who walked away from that conversation feeling worse for the other though.  Us for him and the theft of his dinghy, or him for us and the accident of our boat.

Out on the streets we found out that everything we needed was within a mile walking distance, except the McDonald’s offering wifi, which was about a two mile walk down the main road.  While sitting there and eating lunch, we pulled up passage weather to see what lay ahead of us.  Our plan now was to The Window Is Closed          Monday March 11, 2013

The anchorage we chose in Lake Worth is at the northern most end of the lake, about two miles north of the inlet.  Although we’d need to travel a little ways to get out when we’re ready, the spot we chose is within walking distance of a Publix and a West Marine, so it was an easy choice for us as where to stay.  The weather window we were looking at is for Tuesday, tomorrow, and we thought we’d just stop over for a day, finish our last little errands, like getting the proper wire to make our anemometer read again since something happened during repairs to the keel and we haven’t been able to tell wind speed at all since we’ve been on our way again.  Then stock up on pop at Publix and we’d be all set.  Eventually finding our way to the dinghy landing, which was hidden up a creek behind some apartment buildings, we pulled up to see a man working on a shabby and run down wooden dinghy.

  We exchanged pleasantries and asked if he needed help with anything, which he declined.  He only mentioned that the dinghy he had now was purchased off eBay for a mere $100 because his much nicer inflatable dinghy had been stolen a few days earlier.  Although he had been locking the dinghy each time he went to shore, since he had been in the area for awhile and was on a bit of a schedule of when he went to shore and then back to his boat, he thinks that he was cased out by some local fisherman that knew when he’d be away from his dinghy and for how long, giving them the opportunity to go in and cut the cable from where it was locked and take it away by water.  It was very sad and unfortunate, and our hearts went out to him.  We did find out that luckily he lived in town so he wasn’t stranded from his boat/home, which is what happens to many people if their dinghy is stolen while out cruising.

Talking to him for a few minutes more, we told him about our trip down the ICW from St. Augustine, and how we were looking to make our crossing as soon as possible because our accident put us way behind schedule.  While telling him a little bit more about ourselves he stopped us and goes, “Wait…I know you two!!”.  Thinking it might be like another case of how Tango heard about us through forums or other cruisers I just smiled and nodded until he continued.  “I met you just after your accident, in the laundry room of the municipal marina.”  Sure enough, the man standing in front of us was a guy we had met earlier.  Kim happened to be in St. Augustine right when we crashed and got to hear our sob story while we were doing laundry while still moored out, before going to the marine center and finding out all the damage.  He asked how things went, and said he was glad that we were back on our way again.  What a small world.  I’m still not sure who walked away from that conversation feeling worse for the other though.  Us for him and the theft of his dinghy, or him for us and the accident of our boat.

Out on the streets we found out that everything we needed was within a mile walking distance, except the McDonald’s offering wifi, which was about a two mile walk down the main road.  While sitting there and eating lunch, we pulled up passage weather to see what lay ahead of us.  Our plan now was to go straight from Lake Worth to Nassau, about 200 nautical miles.  Originally thinking it would only be a day and a half trip, I had made the assumption that we’d be leaving just after midnight and making landfall in mid-day, since on most of our recent passages outside we had been covering about 125 miles a day.  What I wasn’t thinking about was fighting the current of the Gulf Stream, so Matt suggested we leave first thing in the morning and giving ourselves 48 hours for the trip, which sounded fine to me.  Having to navigate the channel and inlet in the middle of the night was not my idea of fun since we’d just gotten back on the water, and now knowing that we’d do it in the light helped to ease a bit of the anxiety that was eating me up.  So sitting at a back booth with a fillet of fish in hand, I went to check the forecast for the next 2-3 days.  What I found did not look very good.  Tuesday, which originally had been showing winds of 5-10 knots had now jumped up to 20, and they only grew from there.  Tuesday night was showing 25 and Wednesday was climbing to 30.  A northerly front looked to be moving in, so Thursday and Friday were showing close to the same high winds but with no option to cross the stream.  It didn’t look like we were going to have any calm days for awhile.

This left us with a big discussion.  The winds were constantly coming from the south, which is good for crossing the stream, and would send us flying on a beam reach.  Was I nervous about 20-30 knot winds?  Yes.  But we had been in them before, and much worse. We were still contemplating it, but while scrolling through the hours and days we found out that after we crossed the stream the wind would shift to be right on our nose.  Which meant that we’d have to motor into it, and with wind that high you’re not going to be getting far, or constantly tack back and forth adding hours and hours to your journey.  None of this sounded appealing to either of us, and as eager as we were to get across and finally get to the Bahamas, we had to put a hold on it.  We were both disappointed, but there does look to be another window coming up Saturday, so at least we’d only be 4 more days behind schedule.

Foregoing our Publix run for the day since, hey, we’re going to have plenty of time this week now anyway, we went back to the boat for the evening.  Depressed and eager to meet up with our friends who would all be in Georgetown, Exumas, in the next few days, I was trying to figure out any solution. I kept thinking to myself, ‘What if we don’t go all the way to Nassau?  What if we just focus on getting ourselves across the stream?’.  Suggesting to Matt that we still make the crossing with Tuesday’s weather window, we only go the 60 miles to West End, Grand Bahama Island, and wait out the front there.  At least that way we’d be across the Gulf Stream and wouldn’t have to worry about the north winds in the forecast because they’d actually be to our advantage then.  He considered it, but after finding out that there were no spots to anchor in West End or Freeport that would give us protection from the southerly winds that we’d be getting for a few days, we’d have to hole up in a marina.  And with our draining pocketbook after repairs, we didn’t want to be spending $70-$100/night for up to four nights while we waited out the front.  I begged him that if I could find a marina for $1/ft or under, that he would consider making the crossing.  Probably sure I’d come up empty handed, he agreed.

Flipping through all the pages of my Waterway Guide and Googling marinas in the area, I was also sure I’d come up empty handed.  But just as I was about to lose hope, I found one marina in Freeport that was $1/ft, and actually gave discounts to Waterway Guide members.  Bouncing out of my seat to show Matt, he looked a little shocked, but he had given me his word and we were both pretty sure that we could part with an extra $150 just to get ourselves over there.  Making the crossing though still meant that we’d want to arrive in daylight, and since we assumed we could do the 60 miles in 12-14 hours, that meant leaving that night!  Even thought I was still a little skeptical of the winds, I figured 12 hours in them wouldn’t be as sufferable as 48.  The next big question for me, which I hadn’t considered yet was wave height.  If they were to be 1 meter or under I could probably handle it fine, but anything larger than that and I was going to get nervous with it being our first time outside again, plus the fact that I was pretty sure I’d get seasick.  Scrolling down on Passage Weather once again I checked the wave height to find out they were forecast to be in the 3-4 meter range.  10-14 feet?  Coupled with 20-30 knot winds?  All that anxiety hit me once again with force.  I wanted to make the crossing so badly, but I wasn’t feeling comfortable about it any more.  The feeling that was saying ‘don’t go’ was in the pit of my stomach once more, and I remembered what happened the last time I didn’t listen.  As far as I was concerned, the window was now closed.  It looks like Saturday is our new window, and by then I’m sure I’ll be ready to make it come hell or high water. straight from Lake Worth to Nassau, about 200 nautical miles.  Originally thinking it would only be a day and a half trip, I had made the assumption that we’d be leaving just after midnight and making landfall in mid-day, since on most of our recent passages outside we had been covering about 125 miles a day.  What I wasn’t thinking about was fighting the current of the Gulf Stream, so Matt suggested we leave first thing in the morning and giving ourselves 48 hours for the trip, which sounded fine to me.  Having to navigate the channel and inlet in the middle of the night was not my idea of fun since we’d just gotten back on the water, and now knowing that we’d do it in the light helped to ease a bit of the anxiety that was eating me up.  So sitting at a back booth with a fillet of fish in hand, I went to check the forecast for the next 2-3 days.  What I found did not look very good.  Tuesday, which originally had been showing winds of 5-10 knots had now jumped up to 20, and they only grew from there.  Tuesday night was showing 25 and Wednesday was climbing to 30.  A northerly front looked to be moving in, so Thursday and Friday were showing close to the same high winds but with no option to cross the stream.  It didn’t look like we were going to have any calm days for awhile.

This left us with a big discussion.  The winds were constantly coming from the south, which is good for crossing the stream, and would send us flying on a beam reach.  Was I nervous about 20-30 knot winds?  Yes.  But we had been in them before, and much worse. We were still contemplating it, but while scrolling through the hours and days we found out that after we crossed the stream the wind would shift to be right on our nose.  Which meant that we’d have to motor into it, and with wind that high you’re not going to be getting far, or constantly tack back and forth adding hours and hours to your journey.  None of this sounded appealing to either of us, and as eager as we were to get across and finally get to the Bahamas, we had to put a hold on it.  We were both disappointed, but there does look to be another window coming up Saturday, so at least we’d only be 4 more days behind schedule.

Foregoing our Publix run for the day since, hey, we’re going to have plenty of time this week now anyway, we went back to the boat for the evening.  Depressed and eager to meet up with our friends who would all be in Georgetown, Exumas, in the next few days, I was trying to figure out any solution. I kept thinking to myself, ‘What if we don’t go all the way to Nassau?  What if we just focus on getting ourselves across the stream?’.  Suggesting to Matt that we still make the crossing with Tuesday’s weather window, we only go the 60 miles to West End, Grand Bahama Island, and wait out the front there.  At least that way we’d be across the Gulf Stream and wouldn’t have to worry about the north winds in the forecast because they’d actually be to our advantage then.  He considered it, but after finding out that there were no spots to anchor in West End or Freeport that would give us protection from the southerly winds that we’d be getting for a few days, we’d have to hole up in a marina.  And with our draining pocketbook after repairs, we didn’t want to be spending $70-$100/night for up to four nights while we waited out the front.  I begged him that if I could find a marina for $1/ft or under, that he would consider making the crossing.  Probably sure I’d come up empty handed, he agreed.

Flipping through all the pages of my Waterway Guide and Googling marinas in the area, I was also sure I’d come up empty handed.  But just as I was about to lose hope, I found one marina in Freeport that was $1/ft, and actually gave discounts to Waterway Guide members.  Bouncing out of my seat to show Matt, he looked a little shocked, but he had given me his word and we were both pretty sure that we could part with an extra $150 just to get ourselves over there.  Making the crossing though still meant that we’d want to arrive in daylight, and since we assumed we could do the 60 miles in 12-14 hours, that meant leaving that night!  Even thought I was still a little skeptical of the winds, I figured 12 hours in them wouldn’t be as sufferable as 48.  The next big question for me, which I hadn’t considered yet was wave height.  If they were to be 1 meter or under I could probably handle it fine, but anything larger than that and I was going to get nervous with it being our first time outside again, plus the fact that I was pretty sure I’d get seasick.  Scrolling down on Passage Weather once again I checked the wave height to find out they were forecast to be in the 3-4 meter range.  10-14 feet?  Coupled with 20-30 knot winds?  All that anxiety hit me once again with force.  I wanted to make the crossing so badly, but I wasn’t feeling comfortable about it any more.  The feeling that was saying ‘don’t go’ was in the pit of my stomach once more, and I remembered what happened the last time I didn’t listen.  As far as I was concerned, the window was now closed.  It looks like Saturday is our new window, and by then I’m sure I’ll be ready to make it come hell or high water.

image

image

You Might Also Like:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge