Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. It began as a foggy day in Manatee Pocket anchorage in Stuart, FL. We decided to head out the inlet to make our way south to stage for the crossing to the Bahamas. The wind seemed great so we thought if this steady 7-9 knots of speed keeps up, we could make the northern Bahamas tonight! Wrong….the south east winds began to die as the powerful Gulf Stream kicked in. Soon we were lucky to be making 3 knots in the relatively flat seas. The Gulf Stream is a warm current which travels along the east coast of North America right up to PEI! It’s speed can be up to 4 knots and trying to sail or motor against it can be frustrating.
The ocean, once your are offshore, turns a wonderful deep indigo violet. Jim hoped to see flying fish and lo and behold, he did! We also saw two large loggerhead turtles and a vibrantly purple Man O’ War Jellyfish…you don’t want to touch those guys.
The sun was shining but I knew our weather window to cross was very small and our angle of sail against the current with no wind was no good. We bailed out and headed for Lake Worth Inlet at Riviera Beach. The forecast had called for the wind to clock around to the north – which it did- around 5:00pm. The skies grew dark as the front closed in behind us. We put on our rain gear and raced downwind at 7-8 knots to the inlet. We flew in around the corner and almost ran into a cruise ship coming out! I know that there was probably a lot of room in the inlet but wow did it seem tight! We hung another quick right into the shallows on the east side of Peanut Island. This is where the Kennedys had a bunker in the 60’s! It’s now a park with some camping too.
The shallows between Peanut Island and the Blue Heron Bridge were littered with wrecked or seemingly abandoned boats. Very sad. There was also an interesting assortment of houseboat or tiki boat type craft, some just sitting on the bottom until the tide would rise again.
We went under the Bridge, which incidently is one of the top diving and snorkeling locations in the US, and anchored in one spot, but then moved to another as the holding was tenuous. There is one poor sailboat here whose mast is the only thing we see of it. There is a big monohull beside us with lots of damage to the bow and one spreader is hanging over the side. Must be a storm damaged boat I guess.
For now, we’re hooked in rock solid and are waiting out a front to pass by. We could be here for a couple of days or we may try heading further south down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). Not sure yet. But we are safe and near to amenities. It’s a great place to continue to work on getting the boat together too.