After the wait for weather to pass at Green Turtle Cay, I left for Manjack to rendezvous with Edgar and Laura on Way Point for dinner on their boat (tacos! Yay!) and to say goodbye to Bill and Leslie on the island - Spent a really nice hour or two with them drinking Leslie's special lemonade.
It's a beautiful anchorage as I'm sure I've mentioned. However the pull to go home is starting to make itself known. Emails and texts from my friends and customers wanting to get things done and their boats in the water. Me, missing the lovely and talented Lynn.
The next day was beautiful and clear with light breezes - sailed and motor sailed up to Great Sale Cay where the circle is complete. Anchored for the night in New Harbor with a few other boats. It's a lovely place, NW side of Great Sale Cay and very protected from the east. No other protection, though. The day was calm and the evening much calmer so it was great!
I left in the morning hoping to get to Grand Cay. I passed several vessels heading east towards my favorite haunts. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel some jealousy over that! Well, at half tide I can't get into Grand Cay harbor so before I got completely stuck, I headed back to Great Sale Cay in NW Harbor (which oddly, isn't in the NW but the SW). There's a front coming in a day or so and this is a perfect place to be. I thought hopping over to Grand Cay for some entertainment and seeing Rosie's would be a great way to wait out the front. Oh, well.
The holding in NW Harbor is pretty good. The bottom isn't clear and smooth like a lot of the places I've been. It's more like coral mud. As I settled in for a 3 day stay I noticed another 424 had come in. Nothing would do but I got into the dinghy and headed over to Jubilee. If you're stuck somewhere for several days you might as well make some friends, I say.
The wind was blowing a steady 25 with higher gusts but the harbor was calm with some 3-6" waves. It makes for an interesting dinghy ride. With just me in it, the bow wants to go down wind so controlling it means crabbing across the waves. Quite possibly the wettest way possible to travel in a dinghy.
Anyway, I met Rich and Deena Wilcox and enjoyed a rather lovely meal with them including hors d'oeuvres. Such a great way to spend an afternoon and evening.
|Pelican Under Sail|
|Jubilee Under Sail|
Of course many pictures had to be taken for the day. But these two are the best ones. Truly an excellent day!
We arrived at the anchorage just west of Sandy Cay mid afternoon. The holding wasn't great and it took some time for both of us to be sure of the anchors. Rich dove them both to make sure they were caught. Not too long after that I picked him up in the dinghy and brought him ashore through a little cut between Grand Cay and Little Grand Cay. At high tide you could get a 424 in there with great skill. At low tide, it would be bad. Very bad.
With the dinghy, though, we made it. Rich got to the Customs Office in good time and I wandered around until he was done. Afterwards, we went back to the boats and picked up Deena for dinner which we all had. They were so kind to buy me a lobster dinner at Rosie's. Really, the first one at a restaurant since I'd been in the Bahamas! Also: no small amount of drinking.
The next day was supposed to be a good day for heading back to Cape Canaveral with south east to south winds 20 to 25 kts and a small window for the trip so I bid them farewell when I dropped them off at Jubilee. I thought I'd buzz them in the morning when I left but they were still below.
There was enough wind to sail quite smartly until it died around noon. Engine on, sails up to maintain 6 knots. Beautiful waters. I will so much miss this! I officially left the Little Bahama Bank at 5 pm. The seas were rough - choppy and off the aft quarter as I left. I motor-sailed until around 8 pm, when the seas finally settled a bit from 2-5 down to 1-3 or so. By 1130 I was sailing on a broad reach at 6.5 knots and really enjoying it - wind was only 12-18 true so it was so comfortable. A full or nearly full moon just added to the enjoyment!
By 4 am or so, the wind had died so I started the engine again to maintain 6 kts. Basically just over an idle. Since I had never been to Cape Canaveral I wanted to enter in daylight. It's not terribly tricky but there is a jog in the channel that's not obvious. When you see the barge canal entrance there's no question how to get in.
At 9 am I was tied up at the Cape Canaveral Yacht Club - a very friendly and open place. The fingers are really short and tying up was a bit of an adventure but no one died in the process.
I wandered down to Customs to check in. Florida is a bit of a shock after the Bahamas.
The next day I did some maintenance on Pelican, impeller, flush tanks of Bahamian water, cleaned engine strainer. That was enough.
Of course, when I left the dock I had to back to port. Happy April Fool's Day! When that didn't work, I just drifted down the fairway until I got to the end. Then used a warping line to get the bow more or less pointed in the right direction and headed out, much to the amusement of everyone.
My next destination was Ponce de Leon inlet. Sadly unlike the weather predictions, it was foggy, wind on the nose at 13-16, really choppy and wet around Cape Canaveral. There is really nothing good to say about that trip. Finally around 6:30 pm I got into the inlet. I found a place to anchor not far in and gratefully did just that. If I were a drinking man, I'd've had a stiff one. As it was, I just collapsed.
The next day, I weighed anchor for St. Augustine. Light winds, calm seas, beautiful sunshine - a good day to be on the water. It could not have been more different than the day before. When coming in the inlet there was a huge dredger with a bunch of confusing indications. I called for guidance and they very kindly gave it to me before I was hard aground. It was quite a thing! I blew past St. Augustine, if by motoring against a two knot current could be called 'blowing past' anything. North of St. Augustine is a beautiful anchorage in the Tolomato River. It's just off the channel and has great holding ground. Right across the ICW from a small airport with all sorts of cool little planes to watch.
The rest of the way home was a slog with nothing to recommend it save finally getting to my slip in Stamford at 6 am two weeks later.