Final leg to Florida – day 4, WE MADE IT
Our position at 12.00 Sunday 30th April
We are anchored in Lake Worth, Florida. WE MADE IT TO AMERICA.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 158 miles giving an average of 6.5kts,
Once Bill got up yesterday we put a poled out genny with a reefed main up and were sailing well. The wind picked up, as forecast, and we were making a really good speed. By 6pm the wind had increased to F5 and Bill decided we needed another reef in the main. The procedure went well until as we were turning back on course Bill’s hat flew off the binnacle and landed in the water. As he didn’t want to lose it we used the occasion for man over board practise. We were coming back round for it when a shark appeared to have a sniff of it? It’s fin could be clearly seen but fortunately he decided not to eat it – lucky it wasn’t one of us!! After the third attempt I got it with the boat hook and lifted it back on board, the shark had disappeared. Maybe we need more practise.
During the night we passed Freeport in the Bahamas where there were about half a dozen ships just loitering. According to their AIS signal they were traveling between 1 and 2 kts but they didn’t appear to be moving. I came to the conclusion they were just drifting because it was too deep to anchor and maybe there wasn’t room in the harbour for them. It was unnerving sailing passed them knowing they were adrift. One of them was only a mile or so away. With a preventer on the main and a poled out genny we couldn’t change course, luckily none of them got in our way.
I went to bed late last night because I wanted to watch our trip log click over another 10,000 miles, which it did at 2am. We have now traveled 60,000 miles since leaving the UK.
This morning when I got up the seas were very lumpy. We were in the gulf stream with a 2 to 3kt current. To get into Palm beach we were ferry gliding. Our COG was 280 and our heading was 230 degrees that’s a whopping 50 degrees of set.
When Bill went back to bed after I got up I took the opportunity of finishing my book. Missing by Susan Lewis. Not sure if anyone has read it but I sobbed through the last dozen pages, what emotion, what an amazing and talented woman she is. I think it’s been made into a film but the book is incredibly well written. If you get the chance do read it but be careful you won’t be able to put it down and have the tissues ready.
The engine went on at 11.30 as we attempted to get into the channel. The current eased off as we got into shallow waters. We wound the genny in as we were approaching and once inside were able to turn back into the wind to drop the main. We had arrived with 25kts of wind from the south along with the current side swiping us. It was a tricky entrance. Luckily once inside everything calmed down and we continued to Lake Worth to anchor.
Meanwhile I was still trying to establish who I needed to contact to check in. I had called the US coastguard at 12 miles off shore but they weren’t interested and suggested calling the CBP and gave me a phone number. As it was a toll free number it wouldn’t work with the Sat phone. So Bill called them back and was given the same information ‘just go and anchor, you don’t have to worry about checking in until you dock’. The new number they gave us went onto answer phone. Once anchored we dropped the dinghy and motored a couple of miles to the nearest marina to ask them. Apparently CBP are closed on sundays and if we go alongside tomorrow we can use their phone to call customs and they will come down to the dock to check us in. Very kind of them although the marina was $2 a foot a night or we might have gone in this afternoon but not at that price. I tell you we’ve visited a lot of western counties as well as third world countries but haven’t experienced such difficulty getting someone to check us in before. If you’re a terrorist buy a yacht and arrive in the US on a Sunday, no one will be interested in you.
The 606 mile journey from South Caicos took us 4 days and 2 hours or 98 hours giving us an average of 6.1kts
We left from Simonstown at the beginning of the year and have traveled 7200 nautical miles in 15 weeks with a few stops on the way. All the doubting Thomas’s, (no one in particular) me included, who thought we wouldn’t do it, well we’re here. Although we have probably missed some places on the way we’ve got the next few years to spend exploring the area.
Once we’ve checked in tomorrow we’ll get sorted with phones and internet. Meanwhile we still have 45 miles to travel up the ICW to Harbortown marina, which can be done over the next day or two and I have a birthday on Tuesday. The first one I’ve spent on our own for years. No friends around this year. 😦 It will be different next year in the UK. 🙂
All well on board.
The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I look forward to catching up with them all when we get to the US. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps)