Family Visits and Preparing to “Cross”

I haven’t posted any photos or news in the past week. There haven’t been many sunsets or dawns, dolphins or other nature to photograph; and I got lazy while also feeling very busy. Thank you to the friends who emailed to ask if everything was ok with us since there had been no posts.

While in Florida we took the opportunity to visit some of Al’s family who live here. While we were in Vero Beach, we rented a car and drove to Spring Hill to spend a couple days with Al’s mother. We enjoyed our visit with mom and her friends at Timber Pines. The bonus was our stay in a hotel – let the water run while we shower, watch tv, use the air conditioning, and provision for the next phase of the trip using a car instead of the bus and dinghy.

al and mom
Al with his mother, Dorothy, working on technology so that she can see our blog posts.

 On our way back to Vero Beach, we stopped in Orlando at the Customs and Immigration Office for our interview. The US Customs and Border Protection has implemented the SVRS (Small Vessel Reporting System). SVRS is a web-based automated on-line reporting system created to allow  boaters to quickly and easily report their arrivals from foreign waters. This will allow us to “phone in” our return to the US instead of travel to a customs office, which requires a taxi or renting a car. We completed the necessary online forms and brought our boat documentation and passports with us. I expected this to be a formal and thorough process and interview, but it was actually very easy and low key.

Orlando Customs Office

We said goodbye to Cutting Class who left Vero a few days before us. They crossed over to the Abacos earlier this week and are already enjoying the Bahamian sights, sounds, and weather.

Goodbye and Good Luck!
Goodbye and Good Luck!

Our next stop was Stuart, where Al’s brother, Bill and his wife, Barbara live. Bill is the owner of Stuart Yacht Sales and arranged a free dock for us near his office in Port Salerno. We enjoyed our days visiting with them and truly appreciated their gracious hospitality.

Stuart Yacht Sales – i wish I had remembered to take a picture of Bill and Barbara!!
Our free dock
Looking out at the ocean from Hutchinson Island

And we did more provisioning…… again. We bought meats as well as assorted other items. It took me 3 hours to pack it away and vacuum seal the meats in smaller packages. Lately, it seems as though all we do is “provision.” Shop, lug it all onto the boat, unpack, reseal, organize, stow away. Since I have never done this before I really have no idea if we have the right amounts or even the right foods. 15 weeks/ 3months is a long time.  I have read and spoken with other cruisers and everyone has a different style and their own suggestions. We tried to really stock the things that are expensive or hard to find in the Bahamas.  Experienced people told us that beer and wine are both expensive, but rum is cheap.

Bags of wine and cases of Yeungling!
Bags of wine and cases of Yeungling!

I expanded  my herb garden by adding another pot with more basil, oregano and cilantro. I like looking at the greenery and using the fresh herbs in cooking. After loosing the first herbs early on the trip (sorry, Trudy!) I was determined to try again.

My fresh herb garden
My fresh herb garden

We decided to go outside for the run from Stuart (St Lucie Inlet)  to the Lake Worth Inlet. The winds and waves looked good. The morning began well – I took the helm to get us out of our snug little slip and I took the boat away from gas dock after fueling. I don’t usually do this so it was a big step. The current was against us as we went out St Lucie Inlet —

Current against the green can
Current against the green can
Current against the red nun
Current against the red nun

On our outside run from St. Lucie Inlet (leaving Stuart) to Lake Worth Inlet (the Palm Beaches) we encountered higher seas than expected. Nothing really awful, just a lot of water over the bow.

We had quite a ride - higher seas than expected and lots of water over the bow!
We had quite a ride – higher seas than expected and lots of water over the bow!

That would have been no big deal except that the hatch over the forward head was not secure. Good news – heads are meant to get wet. Bad news – Al hangs his shirts in there. Totally soaked in salt water. Now we needed to find a laundry, again. There are no reasonable moorings or docks here in Lake Worth so we are anchored, but there are no public dinghy docks. We paid $10 a day to bring our dinghy to the Riviera Beach Marina. We also rented a car (Enterprise $10/day weekend deal, but that is another story) to take care of other last minute tasks.

Another laundramat - Mega dryers this time.
Another laundramat – Mega dryers this time.
Florida's version of a snowman inside of the Dunkin Donuts.
Waiting for the clothes to wash and dry – Florida’s version of a snowman, inside of the Dunkin Donuts.

Using our rental car, we drove to Pompano Beach with our three CNG tanks to have them filled before we go to the Bahamas.  Funny thing about the CNG. In Connecticut, it cost us $218 to fill the three tanks. With WiseGas, in Pompano Beach, FL, Scott charged us only $40. Even with a $40 car rental, it is much cheaper!!

Getting our CNG tanks filled by WiseGas
Getting our CNG tanks filled by WiseGas

While down in Pompano Beach on Saturday, we drove along the Fort Lauderdale beaches. Oh my goodness!! Monster cruise ships everywhere. And people everywhere!!

Fort Lauderdale beaches
Fort Lauderdale beaches

We stopped at West Marine for a “couple things.” Yeah, right. 🙂 What boater/cruiser only picks up a few items?? (Actually, we usually only do that.) This West Marine is the mega/flagship one, largest West Marine anywhere. We bought some additional sun and snorkel shirts, and I replaced my good sunglasses which had been crushed.

The Mega Flagship West Marine Store - biggest one anywhere!
The Mega Flagship West Marine Store – biggest one anywhere!

While staying on the free dock outside the now closed restaurant in Port Salerno, we acquired a stowaway – a mouse who loves cilantro. He ate all the leaves. Once that was gone he tried the chex mix and peanut butter crackers over a period of four days. Every night we have tried a new trapping system. The mouse hasn’t left any evidence the past two nights, but he hasn’t been caught either. All of our food is now secured in heavy plastic tubs so he can’t get at it – can you picture this on a boat? For an easy-going, sweet guy, Al has become quite aggressive and totally obsessed with eliminating our stowaway. He keeps muttering, “I have to think like a mouse.”  We just have to get rid of this little guy before we leave for the Bahamas – he has no passport!!

So here we are in West Palm Beach, getting ready to make the crossing over to the Bahamas. It feels like we have spent most of the last two weeks getting ready to make this crossing. You can only get ready for so long. Sooner or later, you just have to go because you will never be 100% ready.  We are now waiting for our “weather window.”  Tuesday is looking promising.

  1. Ed

    Another great post. Thank you so much for taking the time to post of your travels and adventures. I always learn something new. 9 1/2 years before I head that way with my own boat. I have lots to learn.

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