USVI to Florida, over 1200nm

 

Early one morning we upped anchor from Charlotte Amalie harbour and sailed over to St. Thomas. Partly because we wanted to do some major food shopping and partly because our friends on Felicia (Danish boat that also came over on the ARC+) were there. So after a quick 73nm sail we cruised into the big harbor at St. Thomas.

Only to be met at the entrance by a racing dinghy filled with 3 kids and 2 adults all laughing and waving. Felicia had been following us on the AIS and decided we needed a welcoming committee. There is a big (and expensive) marina on St. Thomas owned by IGY marinas. For some silly reason they had given all of us that crossed on the ARC, a certificate giving us a free night at any and all of their marinas during 2017.

Sooooooooooooo, in we went, as did Felicia. Now this IGY marina caters to super yachts. Really big boats and poor little Capri and Felicia couldn’t fill out one of the fingers even lying both of us on the same finger.  The fingers were at least 100 feet long (look at the first part of the video). It was a riot being there. They all kinds of services and facilities – but not the kind we needed.  Their showers and toilets were for crew off the big boats and tucked away in a little building in back.

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Capri giving the bigger boats an inferiority complex

Capri looked good and I think most of the owners of the big boats got inferiority complexes lying alongside Capri.

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Vinni studying alternative career possibilities – oh wait! that’s not “Happy Hooker”, but Happy Hooking, a book about anchoring

After a day and lots of food shopping and an evening and night of G&T’s (Annemette and Vinni fell into a rum bottle after Kenneth and I got tired and hit our bunks) we set sail for Florida.  The weather report had said chance of some rain that afternoon but otherwise fair weather.

Chance of rain indeed – a full blown gale for 3-4 hours before we got clear and then the evening was perfect.

It has been a while since Vinni and I have passage sailed (we don’t count 3 days from Martinique to USVI as real passage-making) and now we’re at the start of an 8 sail 1200nm sail to Ft. Lauderdale. So we have to get back into the swing of things. Get used to 4 hours on, 4 hours off. Single-handing the boat and all the other things associated with making a passage, like eating your dinner out of a bowl.

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Eating from a doggy bowl

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will this ever stop?

We spent  most of the 8 days motoring. We had some wind at the start, then some calm and then several days of really nasty, nasty weather.  Real Vinni and Carsten weather.

But it ended and we had 4 days of calm and motoring on a flat blue ocean. All together the middle part was easy sailing and aside from burning most of our diesel a very enjoyable trip. We were also rewarded with some magnificent sunsets and sunrises. Truly wonderful and very difficult to describe.

 

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these are just beyond description

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now fully up

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and later that day it went down again

 

During the trip we got more and more following current as we got further into the Gulfstream. Now we had to wear a line when we jumped into the sea to bathe and swim. In the time from when you jumped off the boat til you surfaced, Capri would be at least 25 meters away and now way you could catch her just by swimming, you had to haul yourself in with the line.

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the current was so strong you had to swim with a line

The evenings now began to get cooler and for the first time since arriving in the Caribbean, we put on sweaters at night (horrors!).

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Why are we going north where we need to wear clothes?

As we turned up north to run along the Florida coast we got the full force of the Gulfstream – 5-6 knots of current dragging us along. Unfortunately we also got a nor’easter wind blowing directly against this current so soon we were battling 3 meter chop and getting knocked all over the place.

We headed in towards shore to get out of the main part of the stream and after a few hours of fighting we managed to get close enough to get some relief. Easy sailing from here on in and we arrived outside the port Everglades entrance to Ft. Lauderdale at 2 in the morning.

We decided not to go in, dropped the hook about 1 nm from land, had a drink and hit the bunk (thank  god!). The following morning we sailed in and as we were nearing the entrance we almost ran down a couple of huge and I do mean Big sea turtles having some morning sex (see video), turned into the Intracoastal Waterway, went north, passed under 2 bridges that opened right on schedule for us and finally docked at the Ft. Lauderdale Municipal Marina, which was cheap at only 80 bucks a night compared to all the rest in the area where prices were $150 per night and up.

Our Marina was right next to the Bahia Mar Marina and if any of you are Travis McGee fans you’ll know that Bahia Mar is where he lived on his houseboat, the Busted Flush. Well, since I am a Travis McGee fan, I took a stroll over to slip F-18 to see if the Busted Flush was there and if Travis was sitting with Meyer in the cockpit drinking Boodles.

Alas, he wasn’t. Just a sign saying this was the slip noted in the Travis McGee novels. The boat lying there, a Hatteras trawler was named Pretty Girl. Not quite as adventurous as “Busted Flush”.

My daughter Kara lives in Ft. Lauderdale and it was great seeing her again after a couple of years. She and her boyfriend Michael seem to be doing well and we went out for dinner a couple of nights and otherwise hung out.

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My wonderful daughter Kara

Our other Danish sailing friends, Torben, Kirsten and their son Kasper showed up and we hung out with them and borrowed their dinghy for a ride around in the canals of Ft. Lauderdale, giving Vinni the opportunity to see how the upper, upper m idle class of Floridians lives.

I guess that if you have the money, why not spend it, but seeing some of these houses that are at least 6-7000 sq. feet and are only summer “cottages”, can make me wonder. Most of them have big boats tied up alongside on their private docks and some of the boats are 100+ feet long.

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Toys, toys, toys – 7000 + sq ft house and “small” boat toy alongside

Oh well – what’s the difference between men and boys?  The price of their toys!  Some of these men have many, many toys.

We hung out here for a few days and then we slipped our lines and went back outside onto the Atlantic for a 3 day sail to Charleston South Carolina where we will meet our friends and former neighbors from Copenhagen, Marshall and Debbie.

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