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Coachland Court Mobile Home Park

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    • Day200

      Exumas (cont'd) and Starting Home

      April 20, 2022 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

      We decided not to go any further south as our time to think about starting our journey home to Maine was approaching and the winds supported us moving north instead. We made our way up to Emerald Rock at Warderick Wells with plans to hike the trails we like and hadn't been on in three years. Strong southwest winds made the trip there easy but when attempting to grab a mooring, seas were rough and a wrestling match ensued with the mooring winning. I was unable to hold the boat on the wind and the mooring hook, already hooked onto the float of the mooring pennant, was snatched from Dave's hands and managed to wrap itself around the rudder post, causing a terrible vibration and forcing me to turn the engine off. Fortunately the prop was not involved and the pennant and mooring hook were holding us. We securely attached stern lines from each stern cleat to the mooring (see photo) and when conditions settled a couple of hours later, Dave attached a bow line to the mooring as well, released the stern line on the opposite side, and we worked the boat around. The next morning we were easily able to spot the water-logged mooring hook on the bottom nearby and I dove down and retrieved it.

      Our age challenged memories failed us as we tried to retrace the hiking route we took several times 3 years ago.We got significantly off course and spent enough time bush whacking that we both incurred Poisonwood rashes that plagued us for the next few weeks.These rashes are much like rashes from Poison Sumac and Poison Oak. We're very grateful for Hydrocortisone and Benadryl cream. If we ever choose to take the hike again (Dave says NO!!) it will be after downloading the Google Maps satellite view!

      Seeing a possible crossing window approaching but still almost a week away, we moved south again to Pipe Alley. We hid between the Mice and Rat Cay for some northeast winds then moved to our favorite spot in front of Little Pipe Cay for a few days. To us the water colors there are as dramatic as they are in the Land and Sea Park.

      We staged at Allens Cay then made a long day run to the Berry Islands,
      stopping first at Bonds Cay then working our way around to CoCo Cay (aka Little Stirrup Cay, owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines). We anchored there just in time for a squall with 35 kt winds. The next morning we crossed to Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island and enjoyed a week in the Grand Bahama Yacht Club Marina, awaiting palatable Gulf Stream crossing conditions.

      With friends in Vero Beach, FL holding a brand new windlass for us, our destination from Lucaya was Ft. Pierce. We chose a day that was a little sportier than we would have liked, but the forecast for the following days warned of numerous thunderstorms with squalls coming off of Florida and across the Gulf Stream. The crossing was bouncy but tolerable.

      We had a reservation in Ft. Pierce City Marina and our friend generously delivered our new windlass to us there. Dave spent the entire next day carefully installing it. It's working fine, it's much quieter than the old one and we're thrilled that we won't be faced with manually deploying and retrieving the anchor by hand in the mud conditions the ICW often provides north from here on.

      We grabbed a window to jump offshore all the way from Ft. Pierce to Charleston, SC. We initially planned to stay close to shore so we could go into a closer inlet if we needed to, but once we got up to Canaveral and refreshed our forecast models, we decided to go for it and ride the Gulf Stream. When we got well into the GS, the waves were huge, spread out swells. Concerned that they were coming from the north and that increasing north winds could really stir things up, we moved over to the edge of the west wall of the Stream where we could bail if need be.The wind actually ended up being very light so our 2 nights out there were very easy and we made great time.

      One highlight of the long stretch was the visit by Stuart the stowaway, a Palm Warbler. He joined us for a couple of hours on the first afternoon, confidently exploring the cockpit and not fazed by our presence. He left that evening but found us again in the morning. We have often had birds rest with us for a while on long crossings, but something was different about Stuart. He'd leave for a few minutes, then come back. Eventually he didn't leave, instead making himself at home inside and outside the boat and even on our heads and legs. In the photo you can see he even let Dave stroke him. He seemed appropriately vigorous and curious but we were surprised at his desire for physical closeness with us. By late that second day he just wanted to hang out down in the salon. Figuring he was resting for a long trip north, we simply stayed out of his way and talked to him now and then. Alas, we eventually found him lying motionless on the floor next to the companionway. We were sad but we hope we offered him some comfort and serenity on his last trip north....

      We arrived in Charleston Harbor mid day Easter Sunday. All marinas we called were full, some through the entire week. We anchored in front of the retired aircraft carrier, USS Yorktown and enjoyed her protection from east winds gusting into the 30s that night. The next day we were able to get into the Cooper River Marina, not close to town but quiet and comfortable. We're glad to be plugged in as the past 2 night have dipped into the 40s with stiff north winds and we've had the heat on!

      Our next plan is to leave here this weekend and go offshore to Beaufort, NC. From there we'll take the ICW to Norfolk, VA then re-evaluate!
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      sounds like a great adventure [DeBois Steve]

      4/20/22Reply

      All sounds great. I wish you were a few weeks delayed, we might have caught you. [Hayden]

      4/20/22Reply

      Hi from SV Nancy Marie. This is Wednesday the 20th. Are you still in Beaufort? We will be there the 21st and 22nd. Would love to catch up with you! [Nancy O'Malley]

      4/20/22Reply
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