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Friday, February 28, 2014

Gremlins in Bilge

We had a huge window of 7 days for a crossing to the Bahamas.  Of course some of those 7 were better than the others.  Day one and day two were occupied by s/v Liberty and the dinghy saga.  Day three was used for final stocking of items and a last meal on shore.

Wing and Wing on the way to Rodreguez Key

For a last meal we chose Burdine's for no other reason than it was close by.  As Ben and Darren entered the dinghy I offered Dockside as a second option.  We remained with Burdine's and took the chart books and iPad with us.  Of course dinner became an adventure but Brenda, our second waitress, made it all excellent.

Sunset over Rodriguez Key

Our plan was to leave by lunch on Monday and sail overnight to Bimini from Marathon.  This is when the "What if Gremlins" started to eat after midnight and seemed to get wet. So now instead of hours to get ready in the morning we were rushing to do it tonight so that we could leave to go to Rodriguez Key at 6:30 in the morning.  Just past sunset we anchored trying to eat, check weather and sleep a before for a 3 am wake up buzzer to go to Bimini.  By 11 something we were asleep with a NW changing to W forecast.

I woke at 2 am and stuck my head out, DAMN NE at 10.  Rechecking the weather everything said all on the other side of N but the reality of life was NE.  At 3 am I heard a Gremlin on the radio, "What do you think about this weather?"  Well it was time to go back to bed and try again tomorrow.

As the time got close I could here the Gremlin, "What do you think about this weather?" "All good" I answered.  Then a Gremlin put water on the oil pressure sensor.  As we crossed the reef, "What do you think about this weather?  "All good", I answered.  As we hit the Gulf Stream speeding onward at 9 knts in the little Vega... "What do you think about this weather?"  "Full sails! Wide open motor!" I answered.

Sunrise on the way to Bimini

About 30 miles from Bimini I powered down the motor and sailed for a little while at 7.7 knts.  As the speed fell to 6 knots with the falling wind I started the Honda once again.  The Gulf Stream is for getting there!  Islands are for day sails!  Get what you can while you can!   Better to be safe in an anchorage when the surprise squalls come than leisurely sailing along.

Liberty a mile out of Bimini after the wind blew out. 

We were never out of our comfort zone even with the 10-15 N winds crossing the stream (Forecast was for light and variable after Alligator Reef).   All those seminars about never crossing with any N in the forecast the Gremlin left white knuckle marks on the tiller.  Just like a pig on a bike that Gremlin going to go "Wheeee!".

Raising the Bahamas Flag after check in.

Good news is that the 32 foot s/v Liberty received a check in fee of only $150.  Also a plus is that we can still get conch after the Bahamas posted on the site last fall that cruisers would no longer be able to.

We will hit the next weather window and head toward Morgan's Bluff.  Time for some lobster and fish!


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