We are back in the States and I can honestly say after just two days back that "civilization" is highly over-rated!!! Sure there are some nice things about being back: free wifi (mostly), free water...OK give me a minute, I'm thinking....but there are lots of negatives too: no more crystal clear gin colored water where you can see the bottom (and your anchor and sea biscuits, star fish and sharks!); no more super friendly people going out of their way to make sure you had fun on their island home; no more freshly baked coconut bread that you bought out of someone's kitchen; no more wide open places where maybe 10 people, a couple dogs, a few chickens and a handful of goats lived; no more rugged nature hikes with laughing gulls and geckos as your only companions: and no more getting your provisions at the blue, pink or yellow family stores where what you could get depended on if the mail boat had arrived (now many of you might think this is a positive to civilization, but trust me, no Winn Dixie or Publix has anywhere near the character and ability to make you smile like those places did!)
We spent our last day in the Bahamas hanging around the beautiful pool at the Grand Bahama Yacht Club - we fully intended to chill there for a couple hours and then head over to the local beach but once we got there and sunk down into the wrought iron, cushioned lounge chairs...it was over...we were there for the day, especially once we realized they had a very kewl bar where we could order cold Kaliks and even lunch if we so choose (we did!) For most of the day we had this wonderful slice of paradise all to ourselves (September Song and the Gypsies) and Mother Nature even cooperated by letting the sun come out to play for most of the day!!!
The next morning bright and early (can you say 6:00 AM??), we lit up the engines and were on our way out of the marina. The crossing from Port Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island to Lake Worth, FL was about 11 hours so we really needed to get an early start - unfortunately we were greeted with big rolling seas when we got out of the channel -UGH!! No way were we going to do 11 hours in that - but we had a fallback...we would head towards West End at the tip of Grand Bahama Island and see if the seas calmed down some before deciding whether to cross or not. "Luckily" (and I use that term loosely because I could have easily done another day .... or month ... or even year in the Bahamas!!!) the seas flattened out somewhat and we decided to head west. The crossing was mostly uneventful (yes that means we got skunked fishing ...nothing, nada....) and we pulled into the Lake Worth inlet and anchored around 5:00 pm. As we pulled in, what ran through my mind was that there were too many boats, too many people, too many houses - just too much of everything - we radioed September Song and mentioned that there was supposed to be a good weather window the next day if we wanted to head back!!!! Oh if we only could..... The biggest thing that struck me though was that the water as we anchored was brown, muddy and you couldn't begin to see the bottom even though we were only in 11 feet of water... obviously we were no longer in the land of that wonderful turquoise blue, gin clear water!!! Honey, take me back......
We had to check in with Customs and Immigration within 15 minutes of our anchoring....oh did I mention, too much regulation and bureaucracy!!! Since we had thought to be gone longer, we had not signed up for the local boater program before we left so the next morning we had to drop the dink and dinghy over to the Customs building. We had to find a dinghy dock to tie up to (and for the mere fee of $10.65 - I kid you not) we had the privilege of dealing with a very rude dock manager and locking up our dinghy for the 1/2 hour it would take us to find the Customs building and check back in to the States). Of course the Customs building turned out to be right next to the marina, but you couldn't get there from here...the marina was completely fenced in (as were all the other surrounding buildings - good to see we had landed in a safe place...West Palm Beach for gosh sake and it felt like Fort Knox...) Did I mention too many fences??? Anyways after clearing in we headed back to the boat and despite some iffy weather (having no real desire to hang in Lake Worth or Palm Beach), September Song and Gypsies decided to head out again and go fishing!!!
Off to Fort Pierce we went hitting the deep water so we could drop some lines...for all the good it did us! Actually about 4 hours into the trip I snagged a mahi and got him all the way up to the swim platform where he made one last valiant effort and as we were hauling him into the boat, he managed to free himself from the lure and leap from the swim platform back into the sea, never to be seen again...at least he'll have a great story to tell his kids about how he saved himself from the jaws of certain death...but we were back to being skunked! Just then though as if to ease my grief over the "one that got away" a whole pod of little dolphins surrounded our boat doing backflips and other amazing water acrobatics - OK I just had to smile!!! It was like they were playing just for us - I have missed the dolphins - nurse sharks and rays just look mean, they don't do any tricks (score one for the States I guess).
After the mahi debacle, we felt the wind shift 180 degrees and pick up (lots!!!) - ruh roh (as our friend Diane on Aurora would say) - we were about to head into a massive squall line!! I have never before seen storm clouds like this - it was like looking at a black radioactive mushroom cloud with stalactites hanging down from the bottom reaches. Luckily we could see which way it was moving on our radar so we collectively hit the afterburners (OK we went 8.5 knots not 7.5) and turned hard to port to try and outrun the storm (let's be real, we can't outrun a seagull let alone a storm so we were just hoping to sneak behind it into Fort Pierce) - and we did - just barely!!!
There is an unbelievable current that rips through the Fort Pierce City Marina (our last time here was memorable on that account!!) so we were choosing the lesser of two evils or so we thought....but we managed to get into our slip (a masterful docking feat by Doug was beautiful to watch!!) and even have a coldie up on the flybridge with Bob and Stephanie before the skies opened up and the heavy stuff came down!! Perfect timing to take showers and get ready for a night up at the tiki bar at the head of the docks!!! Making the most of the situation (as we always do), we had a wonderful dinner listening to a great reggae band (OK one more thing that was fun being back in the States - we didn't hear much live music in the Bahamas - where we were, the iguanas,geckos and hutias just have no rhythm!!) As we sat looking out at the water, the rain stopped and we were treated to an amazing double rainbow...we think it was Mother Nature's way of welcoming us back!!
This morning we headed off to the Farmer's Market that they have here in Fort Pierce every Saturday morning down along the waterfront - how kewl!!
Click here to see a Google map of our location in Fort Pierce
Happy Birthday, Dee Dee!!!
3 days ago