Bahamas Prep, can we go already?

Categories Blog

I am so tired of Bahamas Prep, I just want to get going! I feel like I only think about prepping and organizing all our prepped items. It is exhausting. We did so much research etc last year and now I am working to get my head back around all that stuff again. I am reading and re-reading my notes and the Waterway Guide to the Bahamas. I also do a lot of reading of the Facebook posts in the various Bahamas Facebook groups. These often talk about current situations which will be very helpful once we are there.

This is a picture of some of the provisions we have in the aft cabin! Most of the bins contain cans or bags of food.

We are now in Fort Lauderdale on a dock vacated by some friends of the Sailing Jasons. It has been really fun parked next to them all week getting some additional work done. The great thing about Fort Lauderdale is there are so many great marine stores. We decided to upgrade our ground tackle and purchased 125′ 5/16″ chain and 200′ 5/16″ rode (braided rope). We also purchased the pieces to make an anchor snubber. We also replaced our engine door sound insulation and Stew repaired the leaking engine impeller.

While we were still in Titusville we had ordered a new paddle board (Izzy II), Eartec wireless communication headsets for anchoring, a new light for Pete (ours was stolen last year), and other small items.

We left Titusville on Feb 8th…

Feb 8th – Titusville to Melbourn (41.5 miles) – 7 hrs, 54min
Feb 9th – Melbourn to Fort Pierce (46.69 miles) – 7 hrs, 20 min
Feb 10th- Fort Pierce to Hobe Sound Sandbar ( 34.39 miles) – 5 hrs, 23 min
Feb 11th – Hobe Sound sandbar to Lake Worth (20.6 miles) – 4hrs, 12 min
Feb 12th – BIG WIND, loose boat nearly hit us!, made water
Feb 13th – Lake Worth to Fort Lauderdale (Rio Barcelona canal) ( 54.32 miles) 10hrs, 22min
Feb 14th – Rio Barcelona to Karen Canal dock (1.2 miles) 20 min at high tide
Feb 15th – Feb 20th Stayed at Karen Canal dock next to the Sailing Jasons
Feb 20th – Pulled out and headed to Bascayne Bay only to
end up back in Fort Lauderdale at Lake Sylvia (15.19 miles) 3 hrs
Feb 21st – Feb 24th – Back at Karen Canal dock (2 miles) 1 hr
Feb 24th – Left for Key Biscayne…

While we were still in Titusville waiting for the weather to improve we finished the book we were writing for Arlo’s first birthday. It is now available on Amazon! Click here to check it out!

The morning we left Titusville was a little brisk but wind was mild. We were so happy to be on our way south! We stopped in Melbourn for the night and the next morning we installed the sails – there was finally an hour with little wind!! The stillness made it easy to install the sails and it also cause the boat to float over the anchor buoy… so as we tried to pull up the anchor the rope caught around the propeller. Stew had to take a quick swim to cut the line. Thankfully the engine was fine and started right up after incident.

On to Fort Pierce where we anchored on the south shore of the inlet. It was a new anchorage for us but it was great. It was Friday night so we had live music that sounded like we were sitting right in the venue. What a great night. We will anchor here again!

We went from Fort Pierce to Hobe Sound sandbar – one of our favorite spots. If the passage is calm enough I make a late breakfast of eggs. The captain ordered 3 egg tacos and was thrilled with the presentation.

As the day progressed traffic picked up on the ICW. It was still fairly cool out but the boats whizzed by us in both directions. When we pulled up to our sandbar area it was packed – at least 50 boats were anchored in and around the sandbar. I told Stew they would be gone by 4:00 and sure enough we were alone by 5:00!!!!

Before leaving Titusville we ordered a copy of our book “Arlo’s Adventure at Sea” to be delivered to the Sailing Jasons in Fort Lauderdale. They sent us a picture of Jason G. sitting on board S/V Moondance ready our book… so cool!!

Sunday we headed to Lake Worth. The wind was really picking up and thankfully we only had about 5 hours of motoring. The ICW was busy yet again today. We were hoping to meet up with some friends that live on Singer Island – but the wind was just too much for us to leave the boat – it was blowing 30-35 kts sustained!

Its always fun to watch the big cruise liners coming and going – the ships are so big and when you see a large motor boat next to them the motor boats just look so tiny!!

All day Monday it blew. One of the boats in the anchorage broke free and nearly hit our boat eventually running into the docks on the southwest side of the inlet and then it was pushed out to sea. Just as it rounded the corner of the inlet a container barge was coming in… we have no idea if it was crushed by the barge or floated out to sea. Sad either way!

Finally, in the early evening, the wind let up a bit and we were able to make water for the first time. We were thankful that the system had no problems! The generator started right up as did the water pump. All went well and we filled the take with nice clean RO water!!

The water in this area, right by Lake Worth inlet is so clear and clean. Stew enjoyed a nice swim after we made water.

We left Lake Worth and headed out the inlet to the Ocean – we looked for that sailboat that broke loose but saw no evidence of it anywhere! It was about the size of our boat – so so sad!

We were able to get both sails up and kept them up for the entire day. No cooking today – because we were sailing the boat was keeling almost all day long – so only snacks were the food today. For some reason, Pete, the dinghy, ended up full of water so we had to slow down and Stew climbed in and bailed what he could. The water in Pete just adds extra weight and it’s hard on Pete and the tow lines.

It took a little over 10 hours to get to Port Everglades – the Fort Lauderdale inlet. We were very tired after the long sail. Unfortunately, we hit bottom, almost getting stuck, on the way into Lake Sylvia, the place where we usually anchor. So we headed for another place we anchored our first time to Fort Lauderdale but it was already full of boats…. with no other options we decided to just anchor off the ICW in the mouth of the Rio Barcelona canal. This ended up working out perfectly. A little rolly at times from the wake of the boats as they passed – but we were so tired we didn’t even care!

The next morning during high tide we headed up the Rio Barcelona canal to the Karen Canal and down to the dock where our friends the Sailing Jasons live on their boat. A friend/neighbor boat was away in the Bahamas so there was a spot for us to pull in for a few days.

The Jasons let us borrow their car so we were able to purchase all the remaining provisions and all the sailing items (our ground tackle etc) and get the boat ready for our trip to the Bahamas.

In the morning we enjoyed having coffee in the cockpit and chatting with the Jasons on their boat… in the evening we enjoyed dinner together in the common area. There were a few hot days and Stew enjoyed swimming in the pool. It really was a lot of fun hanging out here – they have a great little spot in Fort Lauderdale. One of the few spots left like this that are affordable for the common person.

We pulled out on Tuesday, Feb 20th with great fanfare to a beautiful morning. We decided to head to Key Biscayne where we would hang out for a day while waiting for our weather window to cross – probably on Thursday. Plus we needed to make water ASAP – it has been a week and we don’t want the system to foul!! The ocean was perfect – swell was minimal and the winds were coming from behind us – sun was shining.

Stew wanted to take a quick look at the engine – he had fixed the leak and added oil etc while we were at the dock. UGH – it was leaking and now also dripping oil!! We decided we had to turn around. We headed back to Fort Lauderdale (far more difficult as we were going against the wind and tide now). We decided to just go into Lake Sylvia (tide was high enough that we wouldn’t get stuck) and we could order the part and use the dinghy to fetch it from the Yanmar distributer.

We relaxed at this point, made some lunch, made some water… and came up with a new plan of how we would get to Key Biscayne and still cross on Thursday. The engine part was due to come on Wednesday (tomorrow) – it wouldn’t take too long to install and we could be on our way EARLY Thursday, head south, and then turn East and cross by mid-morning. This all sounded doable.

Wednesday, Feb 21st we slept in a bit and enjoyed the morning in the anchorage. Stew decided to get Pete ready to dinghy over to get the part. We lowered the engine and he got it all connected and set up. Mean while Pete was slowly filling with water. He had plugged a hole before we left Titusville but it seemed that Pete had another hole on the bottom. No problem, he pumped the water out and began dealing with the engine. But the engine would not start! No matter how hard he tried, it just wasn’t turning over. UGH – we left it sit for a while and tried again. Nope, wasn’t going to start and now there was water again in the dinghy that needed to be pumped out…. UGH UGH UGH

We gave the Jasons a call and they invited us back to the dock so we could deal with our original engine problem, and now the dinghy and motor problem. So we lifted the anchor and headed back to the dock, traveling through the narrow canals – luckily it was still high water, just between high and low tide. Water heading out, so we were against the tide.

All was going well until we rounded the “knuckle” entering Karen canal and ran smack into a large barge carrying a crane. We pulled as far over as we could getting stuck on the bottom leaving us with no steering control on the boat. The barge managed to move past us sucking our bow toward them and the rear of the boat being pushed into the concrete retaining wall of the canal. Luckily we just missed hitting both and managed to get ourselves back into the center of the canal. It was VERY VERY stressful!! Next to be coming at us was another boat – these canals are very narrow, but we again squeaked by without getting stuck on the side. One last obstacle – a large group of kayakers just entering the canal from a side canal – yacking away and paying attention to no one! I yelled to them that we needed to keep our position to avoid getting stuck and they moved over for us – thank goodness.

We did finally get into the dock and tied up – both Stew and I were shaking from the stress of it all.

Entering the Rio Barcelona canal – twice as wide as Karen canal

We spent the remainder of the day looking for a new motor and dinghy. The engine part was delayed until Thursday… After looking at a few engines and doing some research we decided to try to repair Pete and repair the outboard Evinrude engine. Although if we could find a good engine then we would replace the Evinrude which was from 1969! The few things Stew tried with the Evinrude did not work. the outboard was still not turning over. So we really needed a new outboard engine.

It was a truly exhausting day and now we will miss our Bahamas crossing tomorrow (Thursday). But we tried to make the most of it and had a great dinner and then played Euchre with the Jasons – that was super fun!

Thursday and Friday we spent working on repairing Pete and buying a new outboard engine. Stew stumbled on to a great engine guy and he was able to take a look at a used engine we purchased, taught Stew all about it and how to clean everything – spent hours with Stew!! With all this new engine knowledge Stew was able to fix our Evanrude and sell it at the sailing consignment shop, Sailorman.

Stew also finally got the cool water pump for the sailboat engine and installed it with no issues. No more dripping water! YaHOO!!

We had a nice dinner with the Jasons on Friday night and planned our departure for Key Biscayne in the morning.

Saturday morning we had quite a send-off with all the dock folks coming out to say goodbye. Our motoring to Bascayne was very rolly but we made it before sunset!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *