Well, it was supposed to be the day, anyway. When we got up just before dawn the wind was blowing 20+ knots. I checked the marine weather report and there was a small craft advisory and forecast was for 20-25 knot winds with higher gusts. Not good conditions for crossing the Gulf Stream.
Where we were anchored was smooth as glass. We debated. Should we poke our nose out and see if the conditions were as bad as forecast. A prudent mariner would say no, let's stay put where we are safe and comfortable. But I was not in a prudent mood that morning. Too bad for us.
|Calm waters at sunrise. At least, calm where we were anchored!|
We agreed to give it a try. Pulled up the anchor and headed out. As we got out from the lee side of the island we started seeing the waves. At first they were not too bad. Then they got a lot worse, very quickly. We stuck it out for a little while, but it was darned uncomfortable. Just about the time we were going to give it up and turn around the seas eased somewhat. Just enough so that we thought we might be able to continue. I hoped that once we got through the reef and into deep water the waves would get more spaced out, and be tolerable. So we pressed on.
About 45 minutes after leaving the island we passed through the reef. That was our biggest mistake of the day. Rather than get better on the other side, it got significantly worse. The reef had been blocking the worst of the waves. Now we were getting tossed from side to side, and stuff in the boat was flying everywhere. The waves were so bad that it took several minutes before I find a good time between them to turn around. Then we had an hour ride back in. Rather than backtrack to Tavernier Key we decided to proceed on to Rodriguez Key. That would put us just a little closer to the Bahamas and we could make another crossing attempt tomorrow.
We had the anchor down by 0915. Then spent the next hour or so straightening up the mess. When done with that we thought we deserved a Bloody Mary. You know, just to calm the nerves. :)
Forecast is looking much better for tomorrow. So, now we know, TOMORROW is the day!
Later in the day I spoke with another boater that had pressed on and made the crossing. He said it was pretty miserable and said we made the right decision to turn back. He wished they had.