The trip to Florida

Trip Start Feb 22, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday, April 10 - We left Green Turtle on Thursday, April 7 bound for Great Sale Cay. On the way Denny was trolling off the stern and hooked a yellow fin tuna and then a GREAT Barracuda! This fish was the meanest ugliest looking thing I've ever seen! He was over 3 feet long and half his body length was his teeth! It flopped on deck and Den tried holding it up while I snapped a few pictures. Finally it gnawed through the leader and he was gone. It was a long hot sail and we arrived after 10-1/2 hours at Great Sale Cay. We sailed for a long while then motor sailed. We spent the night and waited until 3 pm to leave so we could arrive at the St. Lucie Inlet (near Stuart) on a rising tide and in the daylight. It was a 103 mile trip. We sailed all afternoon and evening and by 12:30 a.m. we were finally in the gulf stream and our depth went from 12 feet to over 2,000 feet. The night was warm (we still had our shorts on) and clear with thousands of stars and a brilliant crescent moon. Den turned the radar on and we had images on screen of any ships in the vicinity (12 mile radius). This kept us busy all night tracking them and avoiding them. We had both sails up til it got dark, then just the head sail. The winds were supposed to be from the SE at 5-10 knots, but we couldn't get an updated forcast so we ended up with west winds on the nose in the gulf stream 10-15 knots. We all made the best of it and slugged along at times doing 4.8 knots and then the breeze would fill in and we'd do 5.5 knots. We kept the motor on at all times. At one point we saw a meteorite drop from the sky next to us and flame out in a ball of green. I made 2 pots of coffee, numerous peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, we ate energy bars and sunflower seeds and drank lots of water and lemonade. Then the glorious sun came up and we could see where we were, 25 miles from Stuart. There were fishing boats off in the distance all around us. We are getting close to civilization. Denny led our little parade since he's been in and out the St. Lucie inlet quite a few times with Dave Piley fishing. There are numerous shallow spots and we only have a 4 feet keel, Dibs on This has a 5.5 foot keel and Dale has a 6 foot keel. Going aground is a real hazard. The chart books advise to use this inlet only with local knowledge due to constant shoaling. The water level is down due to lack of rain and even the St. Lucie locks are limiting their openings to 3 times a day. Everyone lined up behind us as we entered the serpentine channel entrance and it was a Saturday and hot hot hot! Talk about the "Boatniks". Everything imaginable that floats was either coming at us or flying by us including a one man miniature helicopter above our masts. It was unreal. Talk about culture shock. We came from peaceful little settlements with no boat traffic, no noise except a rooster crowing, no pollution and at this point all we could think of was "Take me back!" We came in on a rising tide and the current was pushing us at a speed of over 6 knots. After an hour we got opposite the Harborage marina where we stayed and close to the Roosevelt bridge and I hailed the bridge tender on channel 9 and requested an opening. Then we proceeded to the Sunset Bay anchorage and grabbed our assigned mooring balls. After no sleep in the last 30 hours we were all like zombies, but we reactivated our cell phones and called the customs office to report our re-entering the United States from a foreign port. Then we dingied ashore and had showers, then walked to the Luna Cafe for dinner, where Chad, Julie and Dale paid for our meal in thanks to Denny for leading them safely through the maze of thrill seekers and sand bars. After stopping at Kilwins for ice cream it was back to the boats and to bed at 8 pm. The last time Denny & I stayed awake this long was in 1981 and we were cruising up the coast of Lake Huron with Chris, but we were in our mid 30's then. Tonight we were asleep before our heads hit the pillows.
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Karen and Richard on

Welcome back and congratulations on a wonderful trip!

Betsy & Jeff on

Amazing. Glad you guys all made it safe and sound!

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