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17 April 2017

Sailing In The Dark With Awesome Cookies | Bahamas Crossing

On our way back down the Okeechobee Waterway and heading to the Bahamas

“Come on, my little porcupine, it’s time to wake up,” Scott said. “Today’s the big day. We’re headed to the Bahamas!”

I rubbed my eyes and glared at him. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to glare at someone when you haven’t had any coffee yet. Especially when it’s only 3:30 AM. After a cup of coffee, I’m much more pleasant to be around. Fortunately, Scott knows how these things work and had a cup of coffee at the ready.

“Time to check the weather,” he said as he fired up the computer.

“The weather can wait,” I said after taking a sip of coffee. “First things first. If we’re going to head out across the Gulf Stream in the dark, we need cookies for the passage. Lots and lots of cookies. Now, where did I put them?”

Scott ignored me as he pulled up the weather files. “Hmm. The different weather forecasts contradict each other. This one says the wind is going to come from the northeast today. These others say it’s going to be all easterly.”

“Winds from the north?! We could die!” I said. “You’re never supposed to cross the Gulf Stream when there’s any north winds!” I gulped down some more coffee, burning my tongue in the process. I hate it when that happens.

“Whoa, calm down there, my little lump of sugar. We’re not going to die. At least not today. You look like you could use a cookie. They’re stashed in the microwave.”

I grabbed out one of my oatmeal cranberry cookies from Aldi’s. “Aren’t these the best cookies ever?”
“They are good,” Scott said. “But you know what would make them even better? If you were eating them while we’re sailing to the Bahamas.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Let’s fire up the engine and get out of here,” I said as I grabbed another cookie out of the bag.

****

Yeah, that’s not exactly how it went. First of all, I don’t glare at Scott in the morning. Okay, maybe he’d tell you a different story, but who are you going to believe – him or me? Second, I knew exactly where the cookies were. Honestly, do you think I’d ever lose track of where I stored the cookies? Third, we spent a lot more time reviewing the weather forecasts and making a decision about whether to cross or not that day.

What is true is that crossing the Gulf Stream isn’t something to take lightly. It can be a very dangerous stretch of water if the conditions aren’t right. We did decide to cross that day and the conditions were very benign.

{For those of you into the whole sailing thing, we looked at the National Weather Service forecast (which predicted light northeast winds, turning easterly at night) and at the GFS and NAM GRIB files on Passage Weather (no winds from the north predicted). We had our best passage ever. Light winds from the east, waves two to three feet, ten seconds apart. Sunny skies. Very smooth sailing. Well, not so much sailing as motoring. And we saw a whale!}

The other thing that’s true is that having cookies on hand for night sailing is a must have for me. I kind of get freaked out sailing in the dark. Eating lots of cookies helps. So does closing my eyes and pretending it’s all a bad dream. Unfortunately, closing your eyes when you’re in charge of steering the boat is kind of frowned upon. Go figure. {You can read more about my other experiences sailing in the dark with cookies here, here and here.}

We left at 5:00 AM and it was a new moon, so no help there. There were a number of fishing boats outside of the inlet. Of course, you don’t really know that they’re fishing boats because all you see are a bunch of lights (it’s dark remember) but you hope their fishing boats and not giant flashlights that horrible sea monsters are shining in front of them in search of sailboats with Aldi cookies on them. They’ve been known to smash sailboats to smithereens to get at the cookies.

After a couple of scary hours, clutching my cookies closely and keeping an eye out for sea monsters, the sun came up, we motored slowly across the Gulf Stream and crossed into the beautiful, clear blue Bahamian waters that afternoon.

So, so nice to have finally made it across, especially after we called off our last crossing. And even nicer to have made it across and still have some cookies leftover. I wonder how long they’ll last?

Our slip at Indiantown Marina. Look closely at the end - do you see something on the shore?

Yep, that's a gator sunning himself on the bank right across from our slip. Just a little reminder of why we needed to get out of Florida. There aren't any alligators in the Bahamas, are there?

Horses frolicking in the St. Lucie Canal as we motored past them. I wonder what they think of the alligators?
A sea monster that we saw on our Gulf Stream crossing. Could it be a whale? I think if an alligator saw this sea monster coming, it'd get out of the way fast.

****

Cruising Log – Saturday, 25 March – Tuesday, 28 March 2017

25 MARCH
Did laundry, bit of cleaning and topped up water tanks. Left Indiantown Maria at 11:55 AM. Anchor down St Lucie Lock at 2:30 PM. Nautical Miles = 12.2. Engine = 2 hrs 35 mins. Spending = $37 (slip & ebook)

26 MARCH
Anchor up at 7:10 AM. In lock at 7:15 AM. Anchor down at Peck Lake at 11:35 AM. Took three times before happy with anchor. Dragged first time, didn’t like how situated second time. Got very crowded. Wonder if all these boats are heading south for weather window to Bahamas. Nautical Miles = 16.7. Engine = 4 hrs 20 mins. Spending = Nil.

27 MARCH
Anchor up 8:00 AM. Tried to get diesel before anchored, but fuel dock full. Crazy boat traffic in Lake Worth. Probably boats heading out after Palm Beach boat show. Anchor down in Lake Worth 2:00 PM. Anchor up again at 3:10 PM. Got diesel at Riviera Beach Marina. Dock hand funny – thought we were going to kidnap him and take him with us to the Bahamas. Anchor back down at 4:55 PM. Got boat ready to head to the Bahamas. Nautical Miles = 29.7. Engine = 7 hrs 45 mins. Spending = $58.12 (21.3 gallons diesel).

28 MARCH
Anchor up 5:00 AM. Reached Memory Rock at 4:30 PM. Anchor down 5:45 PM on the Little Bahama Bank. The passage cookies were delicious. The other passage food I made, not so much. I need to up my passage cooking game. Other boats anchored on the bank. Think they’re staging to head over to Florida the next day. Our autohelm performed admirably on the crossing. So much nicer not to have to hand steer. Had a quick dip in the water – not exactly warm. Nautical Miles = 60.4. Engine = 12 hrs 45 mins. Spending = Nil.

When you're nervous about something, what do you turn to for comfort? Cookies or something else? 

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24 comments:

  1. Can't imagine why closing your eyes while steering the boat is frowned upon.
    Glad you made it across and didn't forget where you stashed your cookies.
    Are there alligators in the Bahamas?

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    1. I sure hope there aren't any gators here :-)

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  2. Glad to hear that you're in the Bahamas .. and that you had a great crossing! I'm sure the cookies helped. I hate to cook, so I think I'll learn from you & just bring a lotta cookies for our crossing! Who could forget where the cookies are?!

    Congratulations and enjoy!

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    Replies
    1. Definitely make sure you leave plenty of room for cookies when you head over :-)

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  3. So glad you guys made it! So sad we missed you. So happy you have cookies!

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    Replies
    1. Sorry we missed you to :-( Maybe next season.

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  4. Cookies make everything better. :)

    I bet that alligator is waiting for mating season - it'll be starting soon....

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    Replies
    1. I certainly wouldn't want to get in the way of any alligators during mating season.

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  5. Oh, a dolphin!

    Sailing in the dark would put me on edge. I'd need a whole package of Red Vines for that.

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    Replies
    1. Red vines - yum! We should have brought some of those with us.

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  6. We listen to the weather forecasts too before we leave our slip. I've been out in water we shouldn't have been in and most of us only do that once. We learn to take the weather seriously.

    What do I turn to when I'm nervous? Not cookies. Food isn't on my radar when I'm nervous. I just worry. I pace. Then I worry some more.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    Replies
    1. There's not a lot of room to pace on a boat - you must have to go in a lot of circles :-)

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  7. I am a bit of a cookie monster myself, hehe I saw a horse stomping an alligator once perhaps it was an alpha male or a stallion. The poor creature crawled away and everyone was yelling leave him alone at the horse!

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    Replies
    1. Wow - that's sounds crazy! I can't imagine a horse getting into with an alligator.

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  8. Sounds like a great crossing! We would so love to see a whale! Potato chips are my problem and comfort.

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    Replies
    1. We've been lucky - 3 for 3 with good Gulf Stream crossing so far. Potato chips can be a real problem for me too, but I prefer cookies.

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  9. Unaccountably I now want a cookie. Strange.

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  10. We don't do night passages up here (logs in the water) but when we leave early, our ritual is that I greet David (who isn't a morning person at all) with a hot cup of tea to help get him out of bed and we make Pillsbury orange rolls to eat on the way -- YUM!

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

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  11. It is important to have lots of tasty snacks at hand when doing a night crossing. They make the long shifts more bearable! And, calm seas, of course.

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  12. How brave you are! Color me impressed, and hungry, don't forget hungry.

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    Replies
    1. You might be confusing bravery with foolhardiness :-)

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