Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Final Passage

Today's arrival in Florida marks the end of our final passage at sea. We left Staniel Cay 2.5 days ago in the early morning. We needed to leave as early as we could as the tide was falling and we were at risk of hitting bottom in our attempt to cross the bank. However, we had to wait until the light was good too so that we could read the water depth. Turned out that 8am was the magic time and we managed to slip out of Staniel Cay without even a bump (though it was close in spots). The rest of the day was spent trying not too get too much sun as we followed wayponts along the old DECCA channel to the Tongue of the Ocean. It was definately a great experience travelling all day with no morn than 15 feet of water under our hull and often less than 8 feet.

While crossing the bank we took a little time for Austin and I to jump into the dinghy (we were towing it at this point) and zip around the boat getting some nice shots in the lime great water and bright blue skies. There was just enough wind to get the boat really sailing but not so much that the seas were too rough. Other than that our crossing of the DECCA channel was uneventful. We could see however, that you really needed fairly benign conditions to try this crossing. The wind was 10 - 12 knots out of the SE and we were traveling W. I doubt that it would have been as much fun if the wind was out of the NW and it seems like it would get really nasty out there if a strong front passed through. In short, if you need a quick way to get from the Exumas to Florida, the Abecos, or Nassau and don't mind an overnight sail and, most importantly, the weather is in your favor then by all means, this is a great route to take.

After a pleasant yet a bit rolly night sail up the Tongue we crossed back onto the western part of the Great Bahama Bank. This we used as a shortcut to the western end of New Providance Channel (between the Great Bahama Bank and Grand Bahama Island) which would take us west to the Florida Strait and then the Gulf Stream. Nothing really out of the ordinary happened in all of this. We're getting quite comfortable with multi-day passages though for some reason we weren't sleeping as well on this one. In the end we made all our wayponts, out speed was just about right (could have been a touch faster) and we had a calm crossing of the Stream and made it to the Florida coast before 5pm.

Once inside the inlet to Lake Worth things weren't so easy. We like big open spaces (like ocean sailing) and in this crowded harbor there are numerous channels - few of them deep enough for our boat. So of course we picked the wrong one and drove up onto a sand bar. Luckily it was muddy sand and we were able to easily back our selves off. We did eventually find the right channel and anchored easily in 12ft of water. Flordia welcomed us with a major thunderstorm, which thankfully waited until were all settled to arrive.

We're all glad to have this portion of the trip behind us. The past month or so has been hard to really enjoy with all the travel and not much play and relaxation time. Everyone is now looking forward to our big road trip home and visiting friends and family along the way. It will be a bit of a whirlwind tour but keep posted to discover what adventures we get up to in-land.

1 comment:

  1. Cheers to the captain and crew of the Singing Frog on their voyage to FL!!
    To my novice ears, it sounds like you have all become quite proficient sailors, especially on these final days of navigation. Please let us know what's next :-))