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Dec 15

Dodging Cruise Ships

The sun sets, pink and pissed behind us as we motor out of the Lake Worth inlet leaving West Palm Beach behind. We head south almost immediately, hugging the coast; the Gulf Stream runs quite close to Florida in these parts and we want to steer clear of it.

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Looking back at West Palm Beach from Lake Worth Inlet

Wondering about the Gulf Stream? It’s this crazy current that runs around/through the Caribbeans, Gulf of Mexico, and across the Atlantic. In order to get to the Bahamas, we’ll have to cross it. It’s about 25 miles wide and travels at a speed of 3-4 knots (with an average of 4mph) north. Everyone seems to have their panties in a bunch over crossing this stream. Apparently if the winds are blowing >=15 knots from any northerly direction, then the Gulf can get rowdy (wind coming from the north blowing against water going north= big waves).


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Knowing what you know about the Gulf Stream now, you understand why we want to stay out of it as we head south – we would make very little progress going against a 4 knot current! So, we hug the coast of Florida and enjoy a very mellow, enjoyable night sail with following seas and a broad/beam reach. We are so close to shore that we can take advantage of wi-fi access, so we were able to get the AMAZING news of Tom and Melisa’s engagement!

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We turned on the party lights in honor of Tom and Melisa’s engagement. Congratulations you two!!

 

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Night sail selfie. Naeha was just telling me about a “selfie stick” – this stick that helps you line up/ take your selfies but I think we do okay with the old school technique.

 

So, our dear friends are engaged, we’re SAILING (not motoring), we’re not puking…what else could we ask for? It’s like the perfect sail! Except, when it comes to us, there is no such things as the perfect sail – there always has to be an element of epic (it just seems to be how we roll, unfortunately).

 

It’s 4:30 in the morning and I’m on watch; Stéphane’s below catching up on sleep. We’re approaching Government Cut – this is the big inlet that leads into Miami. It’s a HUGE shipping / cruise ship mecca.

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Government Cut; entrance to Miami.

 

We are sailing south of this inlet, continuing on to Key Biscayne so we have to cross in front of it to keep going. As we approach, I start seeing these small balls of glowing light all over the water. The light grows and grows and voila – a cruise ship! Make that four cruise ships. Oh, and over there? That’s a tug boat. Is it pushing or pulling the giant freighter that I can’t see because it’s too dark? Is the giant scary freighter in front of the glowing balls of light or behind? And what frickin’ direction are they going? I really can’t tell. This is freaking me out.

Thank goodness for AIS and radar. AIS is this system that tells you where other boats that have AIS are (all the bigger boats that will crush you have AIS so you always know where the monsters are). Finally I yell down and get Stéphane out in the cockpit to help maneuver through the night shipping traffic craziness. Never again will we do that in the dark. It was scary and probably not that smart.

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The Miami skyline at night (abstract/shaky hand version).

 

We continue sailing until morning, safely maneuver into No Name Harbor on Key Biscayne, drop anchor, and pop a cold Dosarita in honor of Tom and Melisa’s engagement. Woo Hoo!

5 comments

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  1. Hank

    When I sailed the Caribbean, I was never concerned about the weather, ocean or sea critters, my fears were of those big ships crushing my boat and pirates. Ships will run on autopilot with little lighting and would crush a boat and never know it. Then there are the pirates…… There are those that will use their high speed drug boats to chase you down as you get close to their island. They see you on radar and come after you. If you are lucky, they will just take a little and for those not so lucky, they take it all. We were boarded once by some pirates about 50 miles off Cancun. They took all our electronics and food. Left everything else, thank goodness. We were just happy to escape with our lives at that point. We sailed back to Texas afterwards and sold the boat. That was it for us…

  2. Tom L

    Great scuba diving on Andros, I did a bunch, and over the Great Wall (6K’ as I recall). I only went down 4k tho. Got too dark. Tom Montrose

  3. Silvia

    Alors comment c’était ce passage par le Gulf Stream?
    Avez-vous vu Nemo et ses amis les tortues?

    1. Stephane Hefti

      On a pas vu Nemo lors du passage, mais je l’ai vu ici dans les bahamas et une de ces amie tortue 🙂

  4. Grandma

    Never a dull minute! Wow! “Hank” had had it – pirates, big ships” That will keep you on your toes.

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