Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Crandon Park Marina to No Name Harbor, FL

4.1 nm
Wind: SE 15-20 knots
Seas: moderate chop in Biscayne Bay
Latitude: 25°40.62’N
Longitude: 080°09.76’W
Maximum speed: 4.2 knots
Average speed: 3.6 knots

We escaped Lise and Marcel’s clutches today--not that we mind their clutches, they’re very pleasant clutches to be in thrall to, but they do tend to keep us from moving. The first time we hung out with them in town was our first zero day on the boat, and we stayed with them there for a week. Ah, those long ago New Jersey days. They seem so far away. They are so far away.

We didn’t get very far, though, just down the Bay two harbors, to what is termed in our new Bible of cruising, The Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South, a “staging anchorage.” One “stages” in an anchorage as close as possible to one’s exit channel, with a short anchor rode and one’s dinghy on deck, to be able to grab the “weather window” the minute it opens. So here we sit, awaiting our weather window. It’s supposed to open up tomorrow night, but we waver every three hours.

Today we had firmly decided on the Bahamas, and two hours later Karl had convinced me that the Gulf Coast was the place to go. We don’t have a quarantine flag (the yellow flag one flies on one’s starboard spreader before clearing through customs) and we don’t have a Bahamian courtesy flag, both of which are things we need and which we can’t get from our staging anchorage. We don’t have an SSB receiver. We don’t have a bimini cover or any shelter from the sun. We don’t have enough spare fuel or water tanks or an outboard engine for our dinghy or about eighty percent of the other things that everyone says you absolutely CAN’T do the Bahamas without. The one thing we do have is our window. Should we take it?

It’s really exhausting, actually, agonizing over the decision together. It’s exhausting still being undecided. If we had decided, say, a month ago, we would have our flags and the right guidebooks and maybe even a better radio or fishing equipment. Our indecision is often our undoing. Then again, it is also our charm. Today we also dug through our rag bag, looking for yellow rags to be made into a quarantine flag and a white-ish rage I can color in with my red, blue, and black Sharpies to use as a Bahamian ensign. Nothing like showing respect for a foreign nation like a colored-Sharpie flag.

Who knows what we’ll do. We’ll probably agonize until the absolute last second and then throw our dinghy on deck and go.

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