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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Coca and ICW

Our trip from MOW Cay to Fort Pierce was mostly uneventful. It was no 'Shari Sailing' for sure, and we have not had many of those days this season. We were banking on the forecast for winds moving quickly to the NE, right about the time we were to round the corner at Crab Cay. But no joy on that, which is why we anchored at Coopers Town and waited out the westerlies. Once the winds went NW, we pulled up anchor and carried on. We had to slog into wind and seas for just over three hours until we could turn further south at Fox Town and put up the main sail. Slog is my technical term for running the boat straight into the wind and seas and doing an unimpressive 3.5 to 4 knots. With that behind us, we strategized on the next required change of winds to the northeast. Myron re-worked our route to use Great Sale Cay as a bailout if we needed to wait yet again for a wind change. The Lord answered our prayers and just at the bottom of Great Sale Cay, the winds went east of north and we could change our heading to about 290 degrees and even put the jib on the outside as we headed toward the exit of the banks called 'Little Bahama Bank.' The winds continued to clock eastward and lighten. We were supposed to have 3 to 4 foot seas with a 7 second interval in the Gulf Stream, with an occasional 5 foot seas. What we saw was regular 4 to 5 foot seas with about 5 second interval, more than occasional 7 foot seas, and once we had a set of waves that must have been over 9 feet. I estimated the height based upon my view of the crest of the wave being blocked by the hard top as I sat in the center cockpit. I watched in awe and partly wondering whether it would break on Hold Fast. I should have called out to Myron as the force of the waves through him into a bulk head. One of the sail slides separated from the sail at the second to the top batten before we could get another reef in the main. More stuff to fix. Things improved as they always do when we exit the Gulf Stream, and soon enough we were in at Fort Pierce and it was all over. We got our fuel, checked in over the phone, ate, showered and slept great. We had a hiccup in the internet part of the phone service, which entailed several phone calls with customer service, but, happy day, it is working as of Sunday.

We had an interesting sight while we were still on the banks. At first we thought it was an airliner making a jet trail. Looking more closely we realized it was a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. (Yes, I still call it Canaveral. Old school.) We had a good view of the separation of the stages. I asked Myron if those things falling off the rocket were going to land on or near us. It had me worried, I asked more than once. I wondered if they thought the northern Bahama banks were uninhabited enough to let stuff fall from the sky. At first they looked like stars in the twilight. Once one of them fell beyond the rays of the sun, it was glowing red. One boater made a radio call that he thought he saw a red flare and wanted to know if a boater was in distress.

Today we slogged against north winds on the intercoastal waterway. At least we can keep up our speed on the ICW and we can keep moving toward our destination. We have not been on this ICW for a while and we enjoy some of the sights and all the variety of sea and bird life. It is nice to anchor every night for a good night's rest. We had several sea gulls and one tern drafting behind the boat and picking goodies out of our wake. Not sure what they were eating, but they did it for hours. As long as we and Hold Fast can handle it, we will keep this quick pace to get to Jacksonville. See many of you soon.

We just listened to a USCG urgent marine weather warning for strong NE winds tonight and very big seas both near shore and in the Gulf Stream. It is good to be at anchor!

Love to all,

{GMST}28°20.99'N|080°43.04'W|3/6/2016|6:18 PM{GEND}

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