Blasting Off to Connecticut

The lefthand photo was our view of the launch. The righthand photo was the rocket’s view of us (well … if they had panned out a bit!).  This was the April 8 SpaceX rocket launch – the first all-private astronaut team ever launched to the International Space Station.

We had a quick 10-day turnaround in Vero Beach – a whirlwind of activity including 2 rental cars with dozens of errands, 6 grocery store trips, over 30 packages received, engine & generator repairs & I can’t even recall what else. We are planning a moderately quick trip of about 5 weeks back up to Connecticut.

Sunset at our first anchorage in the Mosquito Lagoon, just north of Cape Canaveral. An oddball anchorage with only a few spots deep enough to anchor.  Interestingly enough, we have never seen a mosquito there!

Before we left Vero Beach, it was our generator’s turn for a little TLC. A new thermostat, exhaust elbow & water pump.  Also pictured is one of our main engine’s exhaust elbows – also replaced.

By our 3rd day underway, we had already made it out of Florida into Georgia.  The change in temperatures has been shocking – we left Vero Beach in the high ’80’s with the A/C blasting to now mornings in the low ’50’s! It wasn’t just the distance traveled – there was a major cold front which really chilled things down.  I had to find my jeans – wearing them for the first time in 5 months – horror!

Back in the Good Olde U.S.A.

While most of this winter’s weather has been nicer than average (warm, hardly any rain, no squalls), the March winds have been a challenge.  Between our engine repairs & the winds, we have made only baby steps on our journey back to Florida. Once in the northern Abacos, we needed a 2-day low-wind window to make our last 175 miles to Florida.  Just as crossing over, the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic is the biggest challenge crossing back.  If there is or has recently been any northerly winds over 10 knots, the swells can build to 50% higher than the normal wind waves due to the Gulf Stream’s 3-knot northerly flow.  Waiting at Green Turtle Cay the Florida offshore forecast often read: NW winds 15 – 20, waves 3′ – 4′, with 4′ – 6′ in the gulfstream – occasional to 8′.

After a week at Green Turtle Cay, we were ready to go!  Packages  were waiting, dentist appointments scheduled & a supermarket! A 2-day window opened up, closed, then opened up again. A new complication this year is Bahamas Customs & Immigration – while you always have had to clear into the country, a new requirement is clearing out.  Not a hardship except there are very limited Customs offices (near the water – mostly at airports). We had been staying at the Green Turtle Club Marina mostly due to a temporary (after Hurricane Dorian) Customs office here, although limited hours & only Monday – Friday.  When I attempted to clear out on Friday for a Sunday departure, I was told that was not proper as the minute we cleared out, we could be subject to arrest if we were to even “step on land”.  Friday’s wind was too much to leave in or to anchor out nearby.

So … Monday AM we (& 2 other cruisers) patiently waited outside the Customs door, hoping & praying the Customs official arrived on the 9:00 ferry.  Yes!  In only a few minutes, we were cleared out & rushed to untie our lines & get underway.  Grrrr … one of the other cruisers told me that over 8 other boats had disregarded the laws, had cleared out on Friday, yet had a grand time walking around Green Turtle all weekend & were able to leave 2 hours before we were.  Are all immigration laws now optional??

Under the category “It’s always something”, we somehow managed to snag a tree with our anchor on our way to Green Turtle Cay

Up anchor at dawn, continuing onto Florida

All in all, our crossing back worked out fairly well & our record remains intact – “Never a bad crossing” (although parts of this one were on the cusp of bad)!  Whew!!

A proper welcome to Florida! This guy was one of a dozen who welcomed us!

We will be in Vero Beach for an extremely busy week or so, then onward north!