A sad moment is here: time to say goodbye to the Caribbean! We loved sailing in crystal clear water, exploring white beaches and bright coloured towns, sipping sundowners and making friends. It definitely feels like we are on our way back home now..
From Freeport we will cross the Gulf Stream (a north going current off the east coast of America) towards Cape Canaveral, where we planned to meet up with our friends Ella & Mike onboard Matenka. We guessed it would take us about 24 hours for the 180 miles ahead. But for this trip, we had a bit of a navigation problem.. We didn’t have electronic charts of the US Eastcoast yet, and they were hard to come by in the Bahamas. We already found them online and had them shipped to Cape Canaveral, but how to get there..? My phone, which was our backup navigation device, hadn’t survived our last sail. We tried out a new app, iSailor. This app is quite expensive if you have to buy charts of the whole Atlantic Circuit, but for this ‘little’ sail it was an oversee able 17 euros. We installed the app on two devices, because we learned never to leave without a backup!
Once we had our navigation sorted out, we had to wait for the right wind. Northerly winds are dangerous in the Gulf Stream, so we waited until the wind turned into a southerly just to be sure, and off we went! The Gulf wasn’t disappointing and pushed us along with 3 knots most of the way. We had great weather through the day and night, but it died off early the second morning. After breakfast, we were 20 miles from our destination and doing 3 knots. Mostly from the current.. But we had all day to arrive so we just bobbed around in the right direction, until an angry looking cloud made us drop the sails and motor into the basin of Cape Canaveral quickly before we would lose all sight in the heavy rain. We drifted around in the basin for about an hour until the weather cleared and we could see enough to continue our way towards our first American anchorage.
We went through our very first bridge and lock and anchored in the Coca Cola coloured water of the Inter Coastal Waterway. The ICW is about a thousand mile long waterway along the coast of several eastern states, from Norfolk to Miami. Our boat draws 7 feet, but the ICW is only 5 feet on most of the southern parts so we wouldn’t be following it (yet). The great perk of the ICW is that its very protected and you are allowed to anchor anywhere you want (as long as you stay out of the main channel). In the anchorage we found only one little corner which was deep enough for our boat, so we dropped our anchor exactly there. It was so different than everything we encountered so far on our journey!
The landscape looked like it was a flat forest, just about flooded until the roots. Not like a swamp, but like a very shallow, very big lake with signs and markers sticking out of it everywhere. The water was brown, there were mosquitos everywhere but there was also a large pod of dolphins living in the anchorage. There were dozens, playing and swimming around the anchored boats. They even used the lock! It would have been awesome if we would have been able to make some pictures, but our camera started acting up and needed to be repaired..
The next day we checked into the country (not as big of a deal as we thought it would be) and moved our boat to the yacht club to meet up with our friends. We rented a car together to get some stuff done, after all, we were in the land of plenty again. We also made time for a road trip to Miami and watched the launch of a space rocket from the yacht club balcony!