|Tourist boat at St Augustine|
So several months have flown by and many miles have been flown. Taipan stayed on a mooring at the St Augustine City Marina for nearly 2 months while we returned to Australia for the best wedding. Sam Medcalf married Melita Murdock in Albany WA on the 31st of December and we had to be there. This involved several flights, starting from Jacksonville Florida to Dallas, Sydney then Perth. If you have to fly long haul make sure you get the A380. We arrived in Perth just before Xmas and spend a lovely day with friends before heading to Albany for Mums 88th Birthday.
|Great memories Mum|
Sadly Mum passed away just three days later. The formalities took some time so we stayed on awhile before departing again for USA.
Another long flight.
Back to Florida on 1st Feb and we commenced recommissioning Taipan. Always takes a few days. Then there is provisioning. Another few days, made easier by the St Augustine Cruisers Shuttle. Eventually we were ready to start south. And none too soon, as the morning temperatures were only just above freezing.
|One of the many local shrimp boats.|
Snatching what looked like a decent weather window we bolted. It was a little light and we did lots of motoring but that's fine because the motor kept the boat warm as we don't have a heater aboard. We did purchase an Electric mattress warmer and took turns off watch to deFrost in the bed!
We entered at Lake Worth 200 odd miles and uneventful passage later with no fish. The anchorage at lake Worth was OK but there is nowhere to get ashore so we headed on south down the waterway. From Lake Worth to Fort Lauderdale all the bridges are Bascule bridges so we had no mast height issues. We hit something pretty hard in the channel just south of Atlantic Bve Delray on the east side of the waterway. Some local boys in a big motor boat managed to drag us off after a lot of effort. Thanks to team "Yes" No damage but it was a pretty hard something down there ... about 7 feet.
|One of the prettier Bascule Bridges.|
Our arrival in Fort Lauderdale was in some very windy weather so we picked up a mooring off the Las Olas Bridge, belonging to the City Of Fort Lauderdale Las Olas Marina. At $40 per night we were not planning to stay long. Next morning a typhoon went through and sank 2 boats about a mile away. It was ferocious but only lasted about 15 minuits. We were glad to be on the mooring. The anchorages are scarce and getting scarcer if the local authority has its way.
After 2 days we moved just north of the bridge and anchored at the end of Valencia Avenue. We spent a great night with old friends and circumnavigators Jim and Barbara Wallace at their home at Deerfield Beach. They spotted us on the mooring as they were returning from a historic race to Cuba. Ovi, another friend saw us as he was running one morning so we caught up with him. "Silver Fin", Carl and Kathleen who we haven't seen since Malaysia were passing through town on their return from touring south America on a motor bike so they also called by to catch up, Small world. I think the boating world revolves around Fort Lauderdale though. We hired a car for a day to get some parts and have a bit of a look around. Its all canals, huge homes and massive boats. just miles and miles of it!
|Carl, Kris, David and Kathleen|
Waiting for weather and fixing stuff is pretty much what we did in Fort Lauderdale. On Tuesday 23rd of Feb it looked like a suitable day to cross the Gulf Stream and head to the Bahamas . We left at 10pm in some reasonable breeze with a forecast which was predicted "good for very salty sailors." Well that is obviously not us. We clung on all night in some very stiff noserly wind with gusts to mid 30s. Taipan was happy but her owners were wishing for something a little more sedate. By dawn we were 20+ miles south of West End and 65 miles from Fort Lauderdale so instead of beating onward to the Berries we decided to turn north and take a break.
The wind was predicted to go southerly which was more favorable but that hadn't happened and we were over it! So 3 hours later we arrived in West End Old Bahama Bay Marina and tied up in our first marina since September 2015. Well deserved we thought even though it was US$70 per night!!.
During that passage we were delivered of our 6th grandchild. Jason and Fern announced the arrival of Louis Paul. The produce beautiful babies!
|Blowing dogs off chains in West End. Bahamas.|
West End had us trapped in an up wind pen until the wind moderated because we couldn't get out even if wed wanted to. Wind blew hard straight out of the north but it was a washing machine out there. By Friday there was some moderation so we managed to maneuver Taipan out into the wind and escape South. The 135nm run overnight and into Nassau mid afternoon, was pleasant with some motoring when the wind dropped out. A nice yellow fin tuna in the bag to complete the passage.
After spending a night in Nassau we headed out the following morning for an 80nm run Black Point. Another night at anchor and a good sleep before the final 55nm leg to Georgetown. David redeemed himself by catching 2 nice Mahi Mahi and a Barred Mackrel. Several got away but we were more than happy to have some nice fresh fish again.
Georgetown Regatta was well underway when we arrived and the weather was just glorious. We are happy to just sit back and soak up the scenery, catch up with a few old friends and enjoy the warmth. There will undoubtedly be some odd jobs as well.
|Port of Nassau|