Bahamas Again

We met Jeff and Karen of Airbender while we were in Vero Beach and after some conversation we agreed that we would cross the Gulf Stream together on our way to the Bahamas. We had a few days before there would be appropriate weather for crossing the Gulf Stream so we laid over at Peck Lake for a couple of days before heading for Lake Worth which would be our final stop before leaving the country. Peck Lake was an awesome stop right on the ICW and a very protected anchorage. A short dinghy ride and a shorter walk got us to the Atlantic Ocean and miles of lonely beach. There was a lot of debris washed up on the beach from the hurricanes as well as 100’s of Portuguese Man of War jelly fish. You definitely had to pay attention so you didn’t step on them.

From Peck Lake it was about a six hour trip down the ICW to Lake Worth. This is a stretch of the ICW with many bridges and fancy homes. There were 6 bridges with 5 of them opening only on the hour and half hour. We tried to time our arrival to be there for the opening but no so early that we had to hold station and wait. Waiting in a sailboat when there is wind and current is not always easy. We missed one opening because the bridge operator decided to open early for some reason but other than that it was a smooth trip.

The weather had been sketchy for crossing the Gulf Stream but we had a weather window to make the crossing a couple of days after arriving in Lake Worth. The crews of Noodin and Airbender made last runs to the grocery and liquor stores. Plans were made to raise anchor the next morning and proceed out the Lake Worth inlet and head for the Little Bahama Bank. We’ve now learned that a cruisers “plans” are really nothing more than ideas as things often change rapidly. This was one of those times. As we were putting things away for our crossing we noticed excess water in the bilge. The bilge pump float switch wasn’t working so we manually operated the pump. It moved water but it smelled hot. We made the decision to stay in the states and make repairs rather than cross the Gulf Stream with a marginal bilge pump. We reluctantly called Jeff and Karen and let them know that we weren’t leaving in the morning but encouraged them to go. There wasn’t supposed to be good crossing weather for another week or more so it was important to go now if possible. They were able to hook up with other friends to leave in the morning and we were happy for them. The next morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we diagnosed and repaired the float switch problem and determined that all was good with the pump. It was about noon by this time but we decided to haul anchor and head for The Bahamas anyway. We had basically calm weather and motor sailed for about 24 hours to arrive at Powell Cay in the Abacos. We had saved a couple of special passage beers for the occasion.

The next day we arrived at Green Turtle Cay just ahead of Airbender and cleared customs. We were officially in the Bahamas again!

Wake Up Noodin , It’s Time to Go

Noodin’s Summer Home

While Phebe and I were running around the northwestern US over the summer, Noodin was “on the hard” in St. Marys, GA for hurricane season. She looked a little different than pictured above with all of her canvas and sails removed to lessen the windage in a blow. We watched nervously as hurricanes formed in the Atlantic and chose their path. Hurricane Irma was the one that came closest but Noodin and the other boats in the yard made out fine. Other boats at the town docks or anchored nearby were not so fortunate. 

Noodin needed some loving before we could leave so we spent most of three weeks getting her ready to go. She got washed and waxed and Phebe put a couple more coats of paint on Noodin’s bottom. Other projects were separated into ones that had to be done before launching and those that could be done underway. We lived aboard while we were there and enjoyed spending time with old and new friends alike.

A Catamaran Makes a fine Workshop (and garage)


We got our projects done and launched with the rising tide on November 6th. We had run aground softly on our way to the boatyard last spring so we definitely wanted to leave on a rising tide in case we ran aground again. 

On Her Way to the Travel Lift

Ready to Splash

Underway on the North River

 

From the boatyard we were off to nearby Cumberland Island, GA to spend a few days exploring the Cumberland Island National Park. We apparently didn’t get the memo that the Park was closed due to damage from Hurricane Irma. We ended up only staying one night but we were able to catch up with our good friend Keith aboard his Tayana 37 Stryder. 

Stryder at Anchor

The weather forecast was good for an offshore run so we spent one night at Cumberland Island and spent the next day prepping Noodin and ourselves for a night offshore. After dinner and a short nap we raised anchor about 10pm and set off. We weaved our way through the confusing channel lights and made our way out the St Marys inlet onto the Atlantic Ocean bound for St Augustine. It was a beautiful moon lit night but unfortunately the wind didn’t allow us to sail. Sunrise found us near the St Augustine inlet which was well marked and easily entered despite the strong current. 

Moo Cows First Sunrise at Sea


We stayed on a mooring ball at the St Augustine marina and spent time wandering the city and enjoying the history and architecture. I should also mention that St Augustine has quite a few breweries worth visiting as well. 

St Augustine Mooring Field

Flagler College

Moo Cow Goes to College