C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

On the move again

After three days of hiding from strong north winds, 25+ knots, associated with an arctic air mass we resumed our travels.  Rather than attempt to navigate the shoals around Settlement Point in the late afternoon, we planned a more westerly route through for a break in the reefs known as Memory Rock then south  across the Northwest Providence Channel during the night.  The course commits us to our first overnight passage since our arrival in the Bahamas.  Our checkpoints were to exit the Little Bahamas bank at Memory Rock around sunset and arrive in Bimini tomorrow morning. 

The day began early as we hoisted our two anchors and motored out of the narrow passage that provides egress to the protected southeast anchorage at Double Breasted Cays.  Our next stop was at Rosie’s Place Marina on Grand Cay for fuel and water.  Water was a greater concern as we were on our 9th day out from our last refill at Green Turtle.  We have a 30G tank and travel with an additional 10G in jerry cans.  40G divided by 3 crew over 9 days… seemed prudent to fill up before headed out for an overnight offshore passage. 

The staff at Rosie’s provided excellent service, but unfortunately the water system was down so we were forced to purchase gallon jugs of water at $3/gallon.  Ouch… we limited our purchase to 6 gallons.  The diesel was plentiful and we did manage to fill the fuel tank.

Provisioning complete we set a course to clear Triangle Rocks to our southwest.  In an effort to stay on our timetable and clear Memory Rock before sunset we motorsailed downwind across the bank under a genny.  We cleared Triangle Rocks by noon, and turned to starboard on a westerly course for Memory Rock.  Soon after establishing our new heading we lost all wind. 

The image above is the view from the bow as the sunsets across a calm Sea of Abaco.  No we did not make Memory Rock by sunset.   With frazzled nerves due to the shallow waters and close proximity reefs, we cleared Memory Rock approximately one hour after sunset. Using the waypoint provided by the Explorer Chartbook we never observed less the 6 feet of water at a low tide.  This is a couple feet more than was indicated on the chart plotter.

The north winds forecasted by NOAA failed to materialize.  My hunch is a land breeze formed by the warm air over the 80 degree Gulf Stream waters rose and colder air off the 65 degree waters on the Sea of Abaco moved westward (and to think I scoffed at the need for our new depth sounder to give water temps).  To complicate the conditions the temperature differential also resulted in some lingering light squalls along the eastern edge of the Gulf Stream  which we were skirting along.  What we thought would be a downwind run to Bimini became a lumpy motorsail under our a mainsail.  The main provided little propulsion, but did serve to retard the rolling motion of the confused seas. 

Despite a late night shower and an amazing amount of commercial ship traffic the passage went relatively smoothly.  By dawn on the December 9th we were within sight of Bimini and by 09:00 we were tied up at the Bimini Big Game Club.

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