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Day 8

Monday, January 21, 2008

Location: Riviera Beach, Florida

Log: 3005

Distance Traveled Today: 46 Nautical Miles

Total Trip Distance: 366 Nautical Miles

I was going to write today about how I accidentally set a valve wrong while “polishing” fuel and overfilled the day tank, dumping fuel into the marina at Ft. Pierce, and becoming responsible (although insured) for a costly cleanup. But surely readers are not interested in more of my stupid moves. And besides, that happened the day before yesterday, and it’s old news now.

Instead, I will write how I found myself suddenly alone today. Stuck in Ft. Pierce in bad weather, I decided to move south today in the waterway. I am being joined here tomorrow afternoon by my good friend Captain John Fortenberry and his wife Judy. We have one “iffy” day to try to cross to the Bahamas on Wednesday, followed by several days when it will surely be impossible. I was assuming that Pete Sloss and the crew of Snowhawk would try to get here tomorrow so that we could cross over together Wednesday.

Instead, as I was casting off this morning, Pete informed me that he had a change of plans. He will move his boat down to Stuart to a boatyard for a few repairs and leave it there while he returns to Birmingham for a social engagement around February 1. I politely called him chicken and did all I could to encourage him on. But he would not be swayed. So with Bryan Duck gone home and Snowhawk dropping out of the race, I found myself moving down the waterway alone for the day. I will miss the good company of the Snowhawk crew during the remainder of the trip. Here’s hoping they will join me later in the Exumas.

The winds were wicked all day from the east, blowing at 20 to 25 knots. The day was fairly uneventful until I tried to dock in a difficult spot alone in the raging wind. To top it all off, the bow thruster quit working in the middle of my docking maneuver, forcing me to lean hard on the wood pilings to get the boat into the slip. It was not a pretty sight, but I’m here safe and sound with no damage done. I’m in a boatyard just north of Lake Worth Inlet Palm Beach. I’m hoping the yard can have someone look at the bow thruster tomorrow since it will be a difficult trip without it.

The forecast Wednesday calls for light north winds of five to 10 knots with seas of two to four feet. Normally, it is not good to cross the Gulf Stream in northerly winds because the current flowing north against the winds causes seas to stand up and be much steeper. However, the winds are only shifting to the north during the day and are very light. We’ve decided to poke our nose out and see how it feels if the forecast stays the same. If we can’t go Wednesday, the weather begins to deteriorate and it would probably next week before we could try it again.

Wish us luck. I’m hoping my next post will be from some internet cafe in the Bahamas, but I may be back here again Wednesday night. I will not have any internet access from the boat once I get to the Bahamas, but I’ll try to keep everyone up to date as often as possible. 

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