At 7:55 on Saturday morning, we backed out of our slip at Lauderdale Marine Center. Thank God! It really was mentally taxing to be located next to a boat where there was constant grinding, cutting and sanding from 8 to 5 each day. Our boat stayed filthy. Since the work was completely on Beatitude, we decided to move to a nicer place for a couple of days before a hoped-for crossing to the Bahamas.
We timed our departure and journey down the New River to coincide with slack tide to make it easier to deal with the current. Also, being so early in the morning, we thought we may have less traffic on the river. We are thankful that all went smoothly for the four and a half mile trip. Bridges opened when requested and Beatitude behaved herself quite well.
When we arrived at the Bahia Mar Marina, we decided to fill up with fuel in preparation for our departure to the Bahamas. Eighty gallons later, we left the fuel dock and made our way to our slip, B-201. This is the first time we’ve ever actually had a slip, and not just side-tied to the end of a dock. We backed Beatitude in perfectly and tied up to the floating docks. Afterwards, we gave Beatitude a much needed bath and then had a little lunch.
Bahia Mar is a very nice respite from the conditions of the last week. After lunch, we walked across the street to Ft. Lauderdale Beach and made our way up the beach while the waves lapped at our feet as they slowly sank into the soft, wet sand. When we had our fill of walking along the water’s edge, we returned to the pool at the Bahia Mar. There we lounged in the sun, swam in the pool, and enjoyed tropical cocktails (a rum concoction known as the “Key West.”)
After returning to our boat for a short while, we walked to a local restaurant to watch the Georgia/Auburn football game. What a great game for a Bulldawg! Georgia dominated Auburn like it hasn’t been dominated for some time. It was a great win with the exception of Gurley injuring his knee late. I’m still not sure how we lost to South Carolina and Florida, but happy for this win.
Today, we have been preparing for our Bahamiam excursion. We took out the tether and harness and made sure we knew how to attach ourselves to Beatitude if the weather turns bad. We took out our “Q” flag and our Bahamian courtesy flag and figured out how to raise and lower them off our starboard spreader. We figured out how to hang our hammock (an important task heading to the Bahamas!). We reconfirmed our weather window for departure. We are accomplishing a host of other small tasks which we need to do before departure.
Speaking of departure, “Good Lord willin’ and if the creek don’t rise” (as I used to hear in the days of my Georgia childhood), we are planning to leave in the predawn hours of tomorrow morning. It is about 69 nautical miles as the crow flies from Port Everglades to West End. This is a challenging crossing due to the Gulf Stream, a 45-mile-river that continually flows northward at an average speed of 2.5 knots. The crossing can become quite uncomfortable, and even dangerous, if the winds have any northerly component (blowing from the north to the south). The sea becomes jagged and saw-toothed with giant square waves (“elephants”) kicked up by the wind blowing in the opposite direction of the gulf stream. So, the weather window we’ve been waiting on is one in which the winds are predominantly out of the south and not too strong. My mentor and teacher, Captain Roy Rogers, is in agreement that this is a good time to cross, I’ve also spoken with the Bahamian weather guru, Chris Parker, who is in agreement. Being our first crossing, I wanted to cross all our “T”s and dot all our “I”s. Basically, they have been in agreement with my plans, which is reassuring.
So, the next time I blog, I should be at West End, Grand Bahamas!