Monday, December 15, 2014

Miami to the Turks & Caicos

I decided to break from my past routine and go into a bit more detail, we are both retired now, gotta do something with all that free time!

Ceviche 101
Well, it was not planned to be a 72 hour direct crossing but man did it work out great! Let's back up a bit here; we are waiting in Miami for a good opportunity to cross the Gulf Stream and carry on to perhaps the Exumas, or maybe Long Island and wait there for a good window to move south to the Turks & Caicos Islands. We are using NOAA,  XM, PassageWeather, WeatherBuoy and Chris Parker in addition to a trusted advisor (you'll know who you are) who  has done the trip many times (thanks!). Some of you may remember that week, as Chris put it, the models were not in good agreement. After a great lunch with our friends Ron &Nicole in South Beach at Ceviche 101, we pick up a few last minute supplies and head to the boat, planning on leaving early the next morning. We give CP a call just to confirm. Yep, the Gulf Stream crossing might not be ideal but "doable" and the weather moving in behind is favorable for a run to Calabash Bay, Long Island. A South Beach mega party starts up in our anchorage, loud, loud, loud. If it was Hendricks or the Stones we might have stayed but at 19:30 the winds have dropped the party is in full swing so we weigh anchor and off we go towards the Caribbean.

Dec 6th
19:30, weigh anchor, head out Gv't cut.
19:45, a huge cruise ship right on our stern, blows its horn, hard to starboard, yikes where the h*** did he come from? We entered the cut only moments before with an 80' yacht leaving Miami Beach Marina and the Fisher Island Ferry the only traffic in sight. Then all of a sudden this huge 'building' is on our tail!
19:50 out the cut we go, a bit lumpy, tug traffic, we get out of the channel as soon as we clear the break wall.
23:20 in the Gulf Stream now, winds NE @ 12-16kts, steep 3' seas, not too bad at all.
Dec 07th
03:30, North Rock, Bimini, winds NE @ 13kts, seas 2-3'
13:00 Enter Tongue of the Ocean, wind NE 12-15kts, seas 2-3', we are heading SE, sweet!
19:30 round the SW end of New Providence, Coral Harbour. On the bank wind NE @ 10kts or so, light 1-2'chop
Dec 8th
01:30, Turn south at Norman's Cay
06:30 out Dotham Cut, Exumas to cross to Calabash Bay.
15:30 weather is good, a real nice opportunity to go outside Long Island and direct to the Turks & Caicos Islands. We decide to carry on. Call on the radio from sailboat "Sea Clearly". They wanted to make sure their radio was fine.
Dec 9th
Another good night running offshore
09:15 finally the big swells find us off Plana Cays and down through the Mayaguana Passage, 6-8' then 10 maybe 12 but big long and lazy, on the beam to stern quarter. Stabs work hard but the ride is great.
11:40 the wind has made a sudden shift, clocking to the NW @ 10-12 kts; the seas with 2' chop. Is there a front coming?
15:30 Wind has backed to 250-270 @ 12-15kts.
20:30, after sunset we approach Sandbore Channel, Turks & Caicos.  We're looking forward to dropping the anchor. It's getting pretty rough out there.
We follow Bob from South Side Marina's advice, "move into the channel about 2 miles, turn to port and anchor in 15-20 feet do not try coming east in the dark". We drop anchor, deep soft sand, we can hear the surf pounding on the reef, a steady distant roar. We roll once in a while but have a comfortable night (we are dead tired) protected from the swells by the reef only.
Miami to TCI, 72 hours non stop!

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