Monday, December 21, 2009

Are We There Yet????

So our last post was over a week ago, out on the foredeck, in the sun, enjoying another remote and beautiful anchorage in North Florida.

Then it hit!


Trying to maintain 50 miles per day is pretty difficult when you can't leave an anchorage until 1100hrs because you can't see 100m. Our push South was slowing to a crawl. We arrived in Daytona Beach after a late start, stopped to get gas, then had a look over at the oceanfront condos. Fog!!!! The ICW disappeared into the stuff, so we had no choice but to drop the hook and end the day after only moving 21 miles.

As you will see in later pics, Mitchell decided not to get his hair cut. That means Mark gets to continue to live vicariously through his son's full head of hair (Ahhh, I can just barely remember the days when I had hair....).

So we gave into the fact we weren't going any further that day and found ways to stay entertained.

We got an early start the next day, the winds shifted out of the North. The upside is that fog would no longer be a problem. The downside is that it got grey, cold and wet! We had a couple of blustery days, passing by Cape Canaveral with about a 25kt tailwind.

For schoolwork, we had the kids do a little science study project. They were given a number of questions relating to Manatees and dolphins and had to give a presentation at the end of the day. So while we scooted along , they did their research on the internet and put together a presentation.

Along the way we met Chris, Jane and Ava on the 74' three-masted schooner "Liberte"

Chris and Jane had her built a few years ago and run day charters out of Annapolis. We all wound up in Vero Beach, Florida and got together for an evening (on their boat, just a "little" more roomy than "Charlotte-Ann). Ava was in dire need of some "kid time" and all 3 kids had a blast just acting like, well, kids!

Anyone that has travelled the ICW would take one look at Liberte and think, "That, on the ICW??". Drawing 7' and with a mast height that "most of the time" gets under bridges, getting this boat south on the inside and still having 3 masts at the end of the day is a real challenge and testament to the skill of the crew. In fact the day we met up in Vero Beach, Chris has driven the boat BACKWARDS under the bridge at Cocoa Beach (he was running with the wind and current and could maintain better steerage this way).He found they were 2" too tall to go under the bridge and as a result lost a masthead light!

Here you will notice Liberte listing to port. Chris and Jane were told that due to the recent winds, they might have a difficult time getting under the next bridge. No problem!! That's why they carry 30 large plastic garbage cans with them. Placing them all on the port side of the main deck, and starting to fill at 0400hrs, by 0800hrs they had enough of a list to lower their mast height by almost 2 feet!!

So we did the last of our provisioning in Vero Beach, as well as an afternoon off the boat. Lisa and Delaney went to see the movie "New Moon", while Mitchell and I went to see "Avatar 3D".

Yesterday we left Vero Beach and had a short 21 miles run to an old favourite of our's, Peck Lake. Here we met up with our old friends from our first trip, Terry, Kim, Brynne (and Syndee the dog) on "Clarity". Brynne flew in for 3 weeks from the U of G, so we are hoping to "buddy Boat" over to the Bahamas.

The winds were cool and from the Northwest which was actually a pretty good direction since the dunes offered protection on the beach. We had a fun afternoon of building sandcastles and shell hunting.
Mitchell spent about 3 hours fighting with a coconut, but after a little help from Terry he finally got the husk off and down to the nut.

Terry made a pasta dinner for us, so we all got together on Clarity for a great meal and discussions over the weather and if we were going to get to the Bahamas before Christmas. After checking the forecast this morning, we decided the conditions were not right for us to cross. Maybe with a bigger boat, or even if we had more experience, but we decided that as much as we would have loved to have made the crossing tonight, attempting it based on such a marginal forecast wouldn't be a good move.

Terry was still debating (they have done the crossing numerous times and have a boat that is a bit better suited to offshore work than our Gemini), but after checking the most recent forecast decided that even for him, the forecast wasn't favourable.

So it now looks as if we will be staying in Palm Beach until Thursday or Friday. The winds are forecasted to shift around to the South at the end of the week, so we have our fingers crossed that we will be crossing either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Until then, we'll just hang-out where we are. Thankfully tomorrow should be the last of the cooler temps, with things getting back up to the mid - high 20C's.