Almost Time to Go!

Our relaxing days at Sunset Bay Marina are winding down fast as we make our final preparations to depart for the Bahamas!  We’ve enjoyed our time here.  After the formidable journey down the coast, just being in one place for a while has been something we’ve appreciated.  Add to that having our car, unlimited access to dining and shopping and we found a much needed sense of normalcy.  Soon we’ll say goodbye to this special place, our car, unlimited water and power and the other comforts of home as we head back out to sea and get back into cruising mode.

Presently we are waiting to see if we will get a weather window to cross the gulf stream tomorrow night.  It’s all up to the front that is passing through the area.  This is a serious stretch of blue water and we need the conditions to be just right.  Our fingers are crossed.

As you may know, a major concern for us making this trip has been our ability to operate our business on the go.  We need reliable data.  Lots of data.  And it needs to be relatively high speed and low latency.

In talking to other cruisers bound for the Bahamas both in person and online we discovered a company called Island Wifi that offers excellent 4g LTE service throughout the Bahamas.  After speaking with Leo Tripp, I was confident that they provide this much needed data.   For an unlimited hotspot plan we are paying $75 per month.  And unlike “unlimited plans” at home, we won’t get throttled after we use a certain amount of data.  I hear the service is very good.  We received our hotspot yesterday.  Between our international service with Google Fi and this new device we should be pretty good to operate our business from the Islands of the Bahamas.

Our Island Wifi Hotspot

We’ve been stocking up the ship’s stores with dry goods, canned food and shelf-stable items.  JWe’ve made what we hope will be our last run for meats, fruits and vegetables.  The boat is sitting lower in the water with all these provisions aboard.

Cans, cans, and more cans… Where do we put all these cans?

Things are starting to feel very real and I find myself full on anticipation much the way I did before we left home to begin this grand adventure… You can read about that HERE.  There’s so much to do!

A few days ago my mind was reeling…  I was feeling a little anxious about about being prepared for the trip.  It was another beautiful day with lots of sunshine and a warm breeze so Cindy and I decided to relax on the bow and have a relaxing afternoon cocktail.  Heck, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?  Shortly after our relaxation began I managed to drop my phone overboard…  It slipped from my hand, bounced on the deck in SLOW MOTION and began to tumble and spin until it entered the water with a rather depressing “bloop.”  Mavis was due for a last minute pre-departure bottom cleaning so I called our diver Shane who retrieved my phone.  Even though it still worked for a while…  It’s toast.  I hope to have a replacement device in hand by tomorrow… 2/14.  Argh!

A few days ago we got Willow’s pet import permit from the Bahamas Department of Agriculture.  Yesterday I took her in for her final vet visit just before departure.  Her health certificate is complete and Willow now can legally enter the Bahamas.

Cindy, on the other hand cannot.  She is still waiting for her passport.  We used an agency to expedite the process and we expect it to arrive at the marina tomorrow.  Talk about cutting it close…

Crossing from Florida to the Bahamas this time of year can be challenging.  The trade winds blow strong from the east (where we are going) and there are frequent cold fronts that bring strong north winds.  When crossing the gulf stream you really don’t want any north component to the wind as this can create large, dangerous waves.  Mavis is a tiny, light ship so we pick our days at sea carefully.

On the 15th we need to leave this slip that we have called home for the last month.  If we can’t depart directly for the Bahamas, we plan to return to the mooring field and wait for a weather window to cross.

We’re using Chris Parker from the Marine Weather Center to provide us custom weather forecasts and routing for the crossings to and from the Bahamas as well as while we are over there.  As a pilot, I’m pretty comfortable understanding and interpreting weather data but it’s good to have a professional on our side.  We’re still new at this, after all and winter, despite what many think, is NOT an ideal time to visit the Bahamas.  The winds frequently blow hard and the water temperatures are only in the low 70s.  There’s a lot of deep blue water out there… But we don’t plan on waiting until spring to arrive in the Bahamas.

Our route from the St. Lucie Inlet to Grand Bahama

Speaking of Spring…  This trip has been awesome so far and we have much adventure ahead of us in the Islands but before you know it, it will be time to point Mavis north again and head HOME!  We have completely adjusted to life in this tiny home of ours but it’s going to be amazing to be back in our enormous house with our family and friends.  I’m getting anxious to make some business moves and get back to my comfortable office.   We’re also looking forward to being back on the Great South Bay and on Fire Island.  We are even planning to do a bit of cruising over the summer… Nothing like this crazy trip but maybe a few weeks up at Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod.  But heck, we are seasoned cruisers now… We could end up in Newfoundland. 🙂

I got to catch up with another old friend, Keith last week.  and we also had a fantastic visit with Cindy’s uncle Mike and his better half Rena.

Cindy and her uncle Michael in Hollywood

Today we signed a contract for Mavis’ slip for the summer on Long Island.  We’re happy to announce that we’ve selected Sunset Harbour Marina in Patchogue for the season.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been out here almost 5 months already…  It’s exciting to think about being back in our home waters!  See you at the Tiki Bar.

Capt Frank
S/V Mavis