Thursday, April 26, 2007

En route from No Name Harbor, FL, to Bimini, Bahamas

Wind: SE 10-15 knots
Seas: 5-8 feet lumpy chop in Gulf Stream

We did it. We’re here, on the high seas, heading for foreign lands, heading for paradise. It’s another of our glorious night passages, and though we don’t have any sail out, and we’re motoring full-bore into fifteen-knot headwinds and eight-foot seas, the moon’s out and we’re heading to tropical islands. Life doesn’t get much better.

We left Biscayne Bay right at dusk, weaving through the coral reefs at the entrance to the channel, trusting to our GPS and charts in the dark. When we finally wound around the bottom of Key Biscayne and hit the wind and seas full strength I wondered if maybe we had made a mistake. We had wavered right until the very last minute, when we had tried to nap and been unable to, until Karl finally asked, “Are we doing this thing?” and we yanked the dinghy up and motored on out of there. A guy on the deck of a boat from Brooklyn came out and quizzed us as we motored by--he’s heading to Bimini, too, in another day.

I took the first off-watch at around nine, after we laid in our course. I drifted in and out of sleep, but the seas are scary out here. We’re pounding right into them, motoring at full speed. We can’t sail at all, because we’re dead into the wind and if we tack we’ll either be sailing directly opposite the Gulf Stream current or letting it carry us far too north of where we want to go. That’s frustrating, but at least we’re going the direction we want to be going. And we finally made our decision.

The noise the waves make as the break against the boat is deafening. It sounds like a giant crack against the bow, and when a particularly spectacular one smacks up against us it wakes me up every time. Then there’s the pound as our little boat goes up and over, and thuds back down in the trough on the other side. We’re definitely putting Secret through her paces--her hull is flexing like crazy--but her sleek bow cuts right through the waves. It’s much more frightening being the person inside the boat on the off-watch, too. As soon as I got out here for my watch, even though it was scary to watch the seas zooming up off the bow, I calmed right down, realizing that the boat could handle it.

I hope the motor can, too. We’re motoring at full open throttle, something we’ve never done before, and fighting the Gulf Stream we’re going barely three knots. Eventually we’ll get to the other side and its pull will weaken and we’ll be able to make better time. But right now it’s just satisyfying to be making progress, to be out here alone with the waves and the wind and the moon, to see our brave adventure laid out in front of us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow, that sounds so exhilarating.