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Ready, Set, Go…False Start…Ready, Set, Go


Lady Bug and Lily Pad going out the Lake Worth Inlet 4-7-10

We left our anchorage just inside the Lake Worth Inlet at daybreak. After motoring to the turning basin (a body of water inside the inlet where big ships can turn around), the three Gemini captains latched themselves to their jack-lines and went forward on the boats to put up the main sail. A jack-line is a line tied from the stern (back) of the boat to the bow (front) of the boat, One is put on the starboard (right side) and another on the port (left side). The person going forward latches themselves to the jack-line with a tether that is attached to their lifejacket. These lines are not routinely used in calmer waters by most sailors. But, they were an added feature for our Bahamas trip.

Rough seas encompassed us as we entered the awesomeness of the ocean. We motor-sailed to the first marker for the inlet entrance (if you were coming in from the Atlantic), which is a little over one mile out to sea. All three of the suddenly re-sized minuscule Gemini’s were being tossed around like popcorn. The leader of our flotilla, Captain Ed, decided we should return to port, as the whole ten hour trip over the Gulf Stream would have been uncomfortably rough. None of us had a problem with his decision.

Since we were going to start making our own water with our water maker after we got out into the clear ocean, we had let our water tanks go down pretty low. Now that we are back in port, our only two options to obtain more water is to pull anchor and go to a marina or take water jugs to the marina via the dingy. As mentioned in previous blogs, getting in and out of marinas is not always an easy task, so we opted for the later choice. The only problem with that option was, we didn’t have the big blue 5 gallon water jugs that most cruisers carry aboard. In preparing for this trip with our shortsightedness, we didn’t see the necessity for them. We continue to learn what is really needed for a cruiser on a small boat. (“Small boat” is relative.) The necessity of “jerry jugs” for water, offered us an excuse to go to West Marine. (THE store for boaters.) Fortunately, there is a store about a half mile away from where we are anchored, and we have walked there numerous times while waiting for our “weather window”. We walked to West Marine, only to find they had sold out of these pretty light blue necessities. (Jerry jugs for water are light blue, yellow for diesel, and red for gasoline.) The young salesman who attended to our needs, called another West Marine store and made arrangements for someone from the other store to bring two of the beauties over to the store where we were. We have a newly found respect for jerry jugs, after the effort it took by everyone involved in the transaction to get them.

After obtaining the jerry jugs, the next step was taking them to the marina to fill them. This act involved a fairly long dingy ride through a lot of chop (choppy water). Since I sit near the bow of the dingy while Gary is steering with the outboard motor, I became a shield, protecting him from a lot of the spray of water as we bounced through the waves. By the time we returned to White Swan, we both had to change our clothing and quickly prepare to go to the “meeting of the Captain’s minds” aboard Lily Pad.

During a time of drinks and refreshments, provided by all of us (which is a common thing to do for boaters), the captains decided we would try to continue our trip on Friday (today is Wednesday). Ed, Gary and Sandy made this decision after looking at the weather website. As we have learned, this plan is subject to change from day to day.

We can now see the necessity of having an internet air-card while cruising in the United States. When not at a marina offering Wi-Fi, or being at a library or internet café, we have no internet. The next time we do extended cruising in the states, we will definitely have some type of internet air-card. However, it will be of no use in the Bahamas, and that is why we opted not to get one for this trip. Again, we are continually learning about what is really needed for such a lifestyle.


4-8-10 8:00 AM

Since we plan on leaving tomorrow, we will move our boats closer to the mouth of the inlet this evening.

Today, we plan to do a few odd jobs around the boat. One of Gary’s odd jobs is to fix the latch that fell off the closet in our berth while we were bouncing around in the ocean yesterday. We also need to walk to West Marine and get some more Water Sorb for the fuel. This product keeps condensation down in the fuel tanks. After we go to West Marine we’ll stop by the grocery for a few things, since we walk right by a Publix. Publix is Florida’s version of Indiana’s Kroger.


A few other interesting things that happened yesterday that taught us new lessons:

1. One of our hatches was down and appeared to be closed, but there was a jack-line laying under it and it was not securely locked. The first big wave that splashed over White Swan sent a deluge of water into our cabin. Lesson learned: Don’t assume the hatch’s locks are in the proper position, just by looking at them. We need to literally inspect them from the top of the boat as well as inside the cabin. In this scenario, not only did we get a gush of water in our cabin, if Gary had to use that jack-line to go forward, it would have been caught under the hatch making it impossible for him to use it. Not a good thing to happen out to sea.

2. When we returned to port, I just happened to get in the sail locker which is on the bow of the boat, and I noticed there was some water in the bottom of the locker. Long story short, we had to add a rubber gasket to the hatch cover to fix this problem. We don’t even want to think about how much water would have gotten into that locker if we had continued across the Gulf Stream yesterday. Lesson learned: make sure all lockers are water tight before entering the high seas.

3. We had a large dinner last night and I think it was still digesting when we got in the rough waters of the ocean. I have never gotten seasick, even during the storms we’ve encountered on the Chesapeake Bay. But yesterday, I started feeling a little woozy. Generally, we don’t carry Dramamine onboard, but coming back into the anchorage gave us opportunity to purchase some for the next time we go off shore. Lesson learned: take Dramamine the night before we plan on going off shore.

4-8-10 8:30 AM

Captain Ed just called Captain Gary, requesting a meeting and coffee at 9:00 AM. Looks like the weather has changed, indicating a change of plans.

Sandy and Nancy from Lily Pad, as well as Ed from Lady Bug, came as expected at 9:00 AM. The weather is not going to be conducive to make our crossing to the Bahamas for at least a week, so we all decided to start heading south down the ICW. Since the Gulf Stream is going to push us to the north, the further south we are the better it will be for the crossing. We will go as far as Miami, at the least. There is an inlet to the ocean at Ft. Lauderdale and if the weather permits, we might go out and sail offshore down to Miami.

We left the anchorage at the north end of Lake Worth at noon and traveled 19 miles south arriving at our anchorage around 4:15 PM today. We went through six bridges today so that is why it took us so long to go such a short distance. It was fun traveling with two other boats. Only one bridge opening required a game of tag, making circles in the waterway, because we had to wait a long time. Bridges will be our nemesis the rest of the way south, as they litter the ICW with one every two miles or so. That’s the major reason we are considering going off shore from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami.

There also are a lot of power boats using the ICW in this area, and their wakes push us around like someone forcing there way through a crowd. This is the main reason sail boaters are not particularly fond of power boaters. Power boaters are referred to as “stink potters” and sail boaters, “rag baggers”. We think the only courteous stink potters are those who were once rag baggers and know what it’s like to get tossed around by the power boater’s wake. Our friends, Kirby and Roberta Mehrhof, who are avid sailors, also have a small power boat they named “Rag Bagger” because they want everyone to know to which side of the fence they really belong.

Cheryl wasn’t feeling real well today, so she and Ed missed happy hour aboard Lily Pad. We had a delightful time with Sandy and Nancy. Gary and I even got to watch their TV for a little while. We are finding out, most of the cruisers have a TV aboard. Gary is still prolonging the advent of a TV on White Swan. Personally, I miss Oprah, Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz!!!



Long day today. We traveled 34 miles and navigated through 16 bridges. We left at 8:30 AM and arrived at Lake Sylvia in Ft. Lauderdale at 4:45 PM, The section of the ICW we traveled today is the worse part of the whole ICW for sail boaters, with all the power boat chop and bridges. We are all relieved that part of the trip is over.

Gary and I are amazed we have traveled 1065 miles south of Norfolk, Virginia on our boat, White Swan. The chart we are using, guiding us down the ICW, ends at mile 1095 at Miami; and we will be there tomorrow. Amazing! We have learned so much about sailing during this adventure. Who said “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks“? These two old salty dogs are still learning something new everyday.



Cruise ships at Miami

After motoring for five hours and going through “only” nine bridges, we arrived at Miami, Florida. The harbors sport a lot of tour vessels of various kinds. We have seen more tour boats here than anywhere else, including Fort Lauderdale. We saw numerous huge cruise ships in both Fort Lauderdale and here in Miami. The cruising guide reported six or more of these pleasure cruising ships in port on any given day. I mentioned before how the size of any boat is relative. Relative in comparison to one of these ships, makes White Swan look like the pinhole of a needle in a haystack.

We are close enough to the ocean now, and in much cleaner water, so we tried out our water maker. At first it was producing drops at a time and we thought we might have made the wrong decision in getting the smallest unit. Gary figured out we didn’t have one of the valves in the proper position, and after turning it where it needed to be, it began producing water at a decent rate. While it was making droplets of water, I made the comment I’d seen IV’s deliver at a faster rate, and maybe we should have gotten an IV pump to do the job. I crack myself up.

Gary invited our fellow sailors to come to our boat for refreshments and a meeting to decide what we will do tomorrow. Anticipating a social hour, I baked mini-muffins, while we were traveling today, to share with the group. I’m still trying to figure out how to use the oven on the boat without burning it’s contents. Today, I baked using the lowest temperature on the dial, turned the pan every 3 to 5 minutes and successfully baked the muffins with no fatalities. We were going to buy a new and better oven for the boat until we decided to buy the new house. So during my frustration when using the boat’s oven, I remind myself of the lovely new home we have.

After meeting with the captains and first mates on the other two Gemini’s, we decided to go further south to the Florida Keys and anchor at Pumpkin Key while we wait for our weather window to make our crossing to the Bahamas.  Gary and I are excited to get the opportunity to explore the Keys.  He read in the cruising guide, the Keys are commonly referred to as “the Bahamas of the States”.  We’ll settle for that for now.  It’s all Good…

One Comment

  1. Roberta says:

    Thanks for the publicity, sister. Rag Bagger is operational and we’ll have to take you down Ego Alley to Pusser’s for a painkiller while you’re in town. Sounds like you’e really enjoying your trip to the Keys.

    You are “the funny one” and you crack me up, too. Love to you both.

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