Monday, February 2, 2009

The Gulf Stream, Elephants Dancing and West End

West End at 7:00 a.m. After the Crossing -
This is the whole of West End, There Ain't No More

We left Vero Beach Florida on the forecast of a 3 day window for crossing the Gulf. We were not alone.

First night we entered a little cul de sac on the ICW called Peck Lake where we followed Skipper Bob to the letter. Promptly we ran aground. All the other boats, none of whom followed Skipper Bob even remotely, entered with ease.

The next day we headed off for Lake Worth Inlet intending to anchor in West Palm Beach just inside the inlet so we could get a good start for Bahamas. A group of 5 of us, Lee Ann, Agapi, Radical Jack, Grace C and Meredith agreed to maintain radio contact on the passage. A little security blanket.

Our plan was to arrive at Lake Worth Inlet early in the day, rest up and depart at about 9:00 p.m. This would allow us to make our first Bahamian anchorage before sundown.

Clearing customs in the Bahamas is a beginner's lesson in naval approach of a foreign land. You fly the Q flag from a yardarm, a yellow flag informing all who approach you that you have not cleared customs and are not permitted to land or to take boarders. It also applies to other quarantine situations but thankfully not for us. When you have gone through the customs process you take down the Q flag and fly a courtesy flag of the country you have entered. Not flying the courtesy flag is dimly viewed by most countries.

Arriving at West Palm early in the day we slept or pretended to as we built up reserves for the overnight trip to the Small Bahamas bank. Some of the boats were heading for Memory Rock from which point they would enter the bank and head for Great Sale Cay.

Meredith was bound for West End where we would clear customs and then carry on to Great Sale Cay.

It takes a long time for the clock to turn when you are waiting for something in trepidation, an entire day passed between 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

I am now going for drinks with friends and will have to finish this later.

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