We left Fajardo knowing that we had to meet up with AmarSemFim at the mouth of San Juan harbour. They had patiently waited for us in San Juan all the while that we were at Fajardo, wanting to sail with us to Florida.
However, it was only for the first few days that we managed to maintain radio contact with them. They were just so much faster in the water and soon left us behind. No worries, we knew that we would meet up again in the Sunshine State.
With the wind from behind, we rigged our Staysail and Jib to goosewing and eagerly waited for when we would hit the renowned Gulf stream.
Sunset has always been a lovely time to be in the cockpit, savouring the painted skyline.
After adapting to the movement of the boat, sitting in the cockpit can make for some real fun times. Here Sophia and Karin J are acting up. Sophia realised too late that Franci was taking a photo.
This photo was taken in the morning. The days are very hot and humid
I am on the last watch of the night with Frans. He always get the 4:00 – 8:00 slot, but the girls and I rotate nightly. (None of us like this morning watch. It means that you cannot go back to bed again.) (Correction – Marike says she likes the morning watch, she just sleeps again during the day sometime).
Frans, on the other hand, prefers this time slot. But then, he really is on call all night. Often, when conditions are dodgy, he just sleeps in the cockpit.
Another day, same place. In fact, there is little place else to be. If you are not sleeping below, the cockpit is pretty much where everything happens.
It is possible to see Sophia lying down in the foreground.
The other thing to notice, is the hole in Frans’ shirt and possibly the tear in his shorts. On crossings it is okay to wear your scruffiest clothes. Even Frans had to admit though, that it was time for these shorts to go.
This was their last sea voyage.
Another place you could possibly be is towards the back of the boat where we put out the fishing lines.
Actually it is only Franci and Sophia that really enjoy fishing. They like to catch fish, but neither of them like to eat it. Franci reckons that fish just taste so…..fishy.
Due to no-wind conditions, we could do again what we love – swim next to the boat in the middle of nowhere.
It is just such a pity that the temperature of the water at 32 degrees Celsius did nothing to cool us down.
Marike is in the water and Franci is testing the waters.
This is what it looked like from below. We do not always have company in the form of fishes when we do this kind of swimming. This time, though, we were much closer to actual land.
Sophia catching up on some schooling. Actually, very little schooling happens while sailing. The movement of the boat is just not conducive to the hard thinking one needs to do.
Our last day on the water:
Marike’s 18th birthday!!!!
Marike and I watch as the day breaks on her special day. What a beautiful gift straight from God’s bountiful hand.
When we approached the entrance to the Cape Canaveral Port, we noticed that all visible craft were waiting for something to exit the Port. We just assumed that it would be a cruise ship. They are huge and take up a lot of space.
But no! it turned out to be a real, honest to goodness,
We started to pick up the radio-traffic and soon realised that there were a crowd of people on shore waving to the sub. Also, that there were actual people standing on the sub as she sailed out of Port.
We happily entered the Port canal and also saw quite a few cruising ships docked inside. We even saw one from the Disney line, with the tell tale Mickey Mouse ears. This was a confirmation of what we expected from Florida.
We passed through our VERY FIRST drawbridge !
You have to call ahead on the radio and then the operator stops all traffic on the bridge and proceeds to open. When the light is green, we may enter and everyone in the vehicles watch us motor through.
We were the only boat and to me it felt like ages. I’m sure it felt even longer to those on the bridge.
This was quite the royal experience. Everybody stopping everything just for you to pass : )
The lock was just as interesting. After another radio call, when convenient, the operator opened the gate for us to enter the lock. We then needed to tie Shang Du onto the side. Marike jumped off to do the knots. What she didn’t expect was how hot the black, plastic beams were. She had to do quite an interesting dance just to keep her feet from burning too badly.
Once the water level in lock reached the same level as the outbound side, the exit gate opened and we could enter the real Inter Coastal waterways.
Even though we kept a sharp lookout, we were not as fortunate as the Amarsemfim crew to see the Manitees that use the lock daily for their own migratory purposes. It was the wrong time of day. Apparently, they swim in with the boats and wait patiently for the opposite gate to open up.
The waterways were truly beautiful, but we had to be very careful to remain within a narrow channel that was actually deep enough for us to manage with our 2.1m draft.
Our romantic notion, that we could sail up the waterways to Chesapeake Bay and thus avoid any rough weather out at sea, was not realistic in the end. Here’s why:
- It is not possible to sail, so you have to motor all the way using precious diesoline.
- You cannot use the Auto Pilot – there has to be someone on look-out all the time.
- No sailing is allowed at night, so precious moving hours are lost.
- Along the whole length of waterways there are bridges that we won’t be able to fit under, so careful planning and exiting at strategic points have to be part of the parcel. No romance in that.
In the end, we realised that when did leave Florida to go “Up North”, we will need to go onto “the “Pond” – the name the British call the open sea.
Well, back to important subjects. Like birthdays.
There is, of course, some other things that do not happen in the cockpit. One of these is baking.
While we were negotiating the waterways to our anchorage, Marike was in the Galley, baking up a storm. The name of the storm was Cinnamon Buns.
As soon as we were anchored safely at Cocoa in Florida – out came the “cake” and the candles had to be lit.
She looks pretty pleased with the results, don’t you think?
No point in lighting them if you are not going to blow them out.
Marike with all her gifts. Possibly only world cruisers can appreciate peanut butter as a gift.
This photo was taken quite late in the evening. Night fall didn’t happen before 9:00 pm in Florida.
No night watches.
A good end to a good day.
Have to add this.
The very next day, we were all glued to the computer and to Skype.
Watching our niece, Elre tie the knot to Hein Oldewagen. What a good memory, but also very sad to not be there in person.
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Oldewagen !!