We turned back; left Sebastian Inlet at 8:00 a.m. dragged ourselves back to Cape Canaveral Inlet at 17:00. And almost got run over by the one ship we saw all day.
But let’s start at the beginning.
Day 0 Fueling in Stuart
Getting fuel from the fuel truck meant I had to move the boat to a temporary slip. No problem and an hour later we were returning to our slip. As I went to back in, the current was clearly stronger than the first time I had done this the week before. Having this million dollar Krogen on one side and the fat ass catamaran on the other side, just increased the pucker factor.
On the second try, I even used my bow thruster, but to no avail, as my swim platform made a beeline for the Cat. Wondering what I could do differently to get this to work, I aborted the whole process, left the marina, turned around and docked bow in.
Even that was not so easy, as we had trouble getting the stern tied to the pilings. But an hour later, all was right with the world.
(Except in Portland, Oregon, where the know nothings are emptying a 38 million gallon reservoir because 1, yes, one, person pissed in it!)
No, I did not make that up and if I had, no one would believe such nonsense.
Day 1 Leaving Stuart
Starts like any great day, Dave the mechanic who works on my boat like it’s his, brought me three freshly baked turnovers. I promptly ate one and froze the other two.
Dave and his minion got their work done by 1 p.m., so it was time to cast off. We did so and motored up the ICW into the evening. Now, the wonders of my driving and fog lights made themselves apparent. It was so easy having the markers lit up.
We hadn’t seen another boat on the water for hours, so I had no worry about blinding anyone.
Our first attempt at the Vero Beach anchorage ended after I hit bottom twice while trying to approach it. The second time, I had to power out backwards. We aborted that plan too.
Motored on in the darkness, blissfully content with our artificial daylight. An hour later, at 21:30 we were safely anchored at Palm Cove 2. By the way, our new Delta anchor is such a joy. Thanks to Parks at Hopkins Carter in Miami for steering me to the right solution at a great price. I will use them to get all my supplies while in Europe too.
Day 2 Dawned Dark and Early
At 4 a.m. I had gotten up to look around; make sure were in the same spot, all was fine, so I crawled back into bed. Before I could go back to sleep, I remembered that I had meant to put one of yesterday’s frozen turnovers on top of the engine to defrost and warm. So, up I go again, get the turnover and put it on top of the engine, which was still warm by the way.
So at 6 a.m. up again, do my engine room checks and start the engine (I needed to warm up the turnover!)
. 15 minutes later, we were underway; I had my perfectly warmed turnover and a cup of my Korean coffee. All was perfect with the world. It wouldn’t stay that way for long.
We had anchored an hour south of Sebastian Inlet, so the plan was to head out to the Atlantic and depending upon the sea state head NNE to Beaufort, NC or, head North to Savanah. Now, even to Savanah it would be 48 hours, to Beaufort, 60 hours, but if the Atlantic cooperated, it was doable. I also knew the weather forecast was for continued easterly winds, but I was hoping that the front would push back to the west sooner than forecast, decreasing the winds and having them come out of the south. Wishful thinking.
As we left the inlet, the fishermen on the jetty looked at us like we were crazy. The waves were about 5 feet from the east north east; this meant that they were just off our beam. We had put out the paravane poles before the inlet and as we exited the inlet I thru the fish (aka birds) in the water too.
With the paravanes the roll was reduced 80%. Initially we were hardly rolling at all (plus/minus a few degrees), but as we were heading into the waves we were pitching a lot. Up and down, every 6 seconds. As the morning continued, the waves got higher and veering (moving clockwise) around to the east. Now we were getting 6 to 8 foot waves, with a few of their bigger brothers (10’) thrown in for kicks every few minutes. The waves were on our right quarter, so we still had pitching, but the paravanes were making the rolling tolerable, maybe 8 to 15° in each direction (would have been 50° without). Every once in a while the combination of pitch and roll would be such that the top of the wave would hit the beam of the boat on the pilot house, with water pouring in the gap of the pilot house door that I have been meaning to fix since I first noticed it 12 months ago!
At this point, 5 hours into our 60 hour trip, we decided enough was enough and turned tail for Cape Canaveral to our northwest. Wind and waves were now on our rear quarter, which did speed up the boat (we had been plodding along at 5 knots), but as the winds had been increasing all day and we all know that the strongest winds are in the afternoon, everything else being equal, we were getting hit with some big waves 8 to 12 ft.
Three merciful hours later I had the Cape Canaveral Inlet in sight and lo and behold, there is this really big ship aiming for the same spot. First boat we had seen in the last 12 hours was now ready to mow us down. After watching her for a bit, they did put out a “Securite” call so they wouldn’t be liable when they ran us down. I radioed them and said I’d been watching them and would turn around to come up behind them.
All went well; it only delayed our salvation by about 15 minutes and an hour and a half later we were tied to a dock wondering what they hell were we thinking?
We had spent a miserable 8 hours on the ocean to cover a distance that we could have done at a serene pace on the ICW in 6 hours. Oh well.
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.