Monday, 12 January 2009

Crossing the Gulf Stream

Overhead cables cross the Intracoastal Waterway near Lake Worth 

We left Vero Beach on Friday to make our way to Ft. Pierce.  Saturday we moved south down the very hectic section of the Intracoastal Waterway to Lake Worth where we anchored out the evening before leaving the U.S. and crossing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas.  The ICW is so busy and narrow in this area that I decided no photograph could possibly capture the chaos of wakeboarders criss-crossing, powerboaters breaking water speed records up and down and general mayhem, and just let it be!

Looking back at Florida...why is a blimp flying off the coast?

Sunday.  The sun is shining and the temperature is somewhere in the 70s. Who cares exactly; once the barometer reaches 70, it’s all good after that. We’re already getting into that laid back, laissez-faire way of life. We’ve left behind the frantic pace of work and mortgage payments. We know we’re headed in the right direction to a more meaningful and less stressful life. It’s a big step. While we have a plan to head northeast, the Gulf Stream will try to carry us north.

In case you have ever wondered, this is what the Gulf Stream looks like.

We’ve heard that a line of clouds hover over the Gulf Stream and that’s exactly what we saw when we headed east out the Lake Worth Inlet in Southern Florida this morning.

The Western edge of the Bahamas is only about 50 miles off the coast of Florida. The Gulf Stream is about 14 miles offshore from Lake Worth. We initially headed east out of the inlet for a few miles, anticipating the northerly current of the Gulf Stream to carry us, rather than heading north east immediately and being carried too far north.

Are we there yet?

We’re motorsailing due to only a light breeze and making great time at around 7.5 knots per hour. The seas are calm, clear blue indigo ink. Flying fish are keeping our company. They look like elegant little birds flying so fast within a foot of the surface. We’ve been watching another sail boat north or us also headed to the Bahamas.  We are used to seeing cargo vessels and cruise ships in and around Baltimore on the Chesapeake Bay and we know we want to stay out of their way. 

Robert has set our course to Little Bahama Bank waypoint, just north of Memory Rock. From that point we’ll make our way to Little Sale Cay and Green Turtle Cay where we will check in. With our auto pilot doing the steering, at least one of us has to keep watch. We’re doing about 3 hours on, 3 hours off for the 30 hour trip.

The commercial vessel in the photo above is riding the Gulf Stream, getting a few knots’ assistance from the curent and pushing a wave big enough to surf down! I have to imagine that if anyone who works in ship building could only see these mighty ships ploughing through the seas as we see them out here, it would make their day. How satisfying, to have a part in building something so impressive and useful! When we see them we think of Robert’s Godfather, Uncle Rob, a Ship’s Engineer, who loved the sea and sadly, passed away last year. Where would we be without these huge commercial vessels and those who build and work on them?

The sun sets over the U.S.

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