If last year’s trip back was a D-, this would be a B-.
The dash in the dark from Mangrove Cay (left at 0404) was lit by lightning flashes from unpredicted squalls –fortunately downwind and at a distance.
When we reached the edge of the Little Bahama Bank, a Gulf Stream southerly eddy had set up. We lost a knot to the eddy for about nine miles.
This year the swell were regular and from the NE only. This worked out well till we got to the fastest part of the Stream and the swell stacked up –like last year. We had to sail a more northerly course to stop the rolling. Not as much as last year, only about three hours this time (not all day).
As we exited the Stream’s main wall to the west (where it was supposed to be this time), we encountered seven lesser walls progressively farther apart as we approached Fort Pierce. We did not have this good fortune last year, and it made up for the eddy off Memory Rock.
Also making up for the eddy, we arrived securely on a flood tide — part of the plan, As a result we had a current boost all the way to our anchorage off the channel in Faber Cove. The boost in the inlet had us moving nearly 11 knots in its narrowest section. We motored the entire distance. The wind never went above 5 knots from a useful direction for more than 15 minutes at a time and there were few of those times. Still, we made the trip in only 11 minutes more than our estimate.
On reaching the coast we were disappointed by the dirtiness of the water and air. Before long we smelled scrub fire smoke, and later the AIS showed a dredge making continuous runs offshore to dump dredge spoil. This morning the water is turquoise, but it won’t be really clear until we return to the Bahamas.
We are thankful for a safe and incident free trip.
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