Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!
The crew has not moved during the past week as they sit and wait for the winds to become favorable so they can cross back over the Gulf Stream and return to Florida.
But they did a few shore excursions exploring the Grand Bahama Island. The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:
To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site. The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.
The crew spent a relaxing day getting familiar with their new surroundings. In the afternoon a woman stopped by and informed the crew that there would be a dockside party in honor of the OSCARS at 1800. With trophies for Best Dressed and Best Guess.
Just before 1800, the crew noticed people dressed up as their favorite actor/actress. The crew went over to see what all the fuss was about and had an enjoyable good time. The organizers had a red carpet out that you walked to get to the tables. The Admiral was selected to be one of the three judges for the Best Dressed trophy. After the contestants walked the red carpet, this guy won the trophy.
The crew sat at a table with two couples from Canada. The four folks kept the crew laughing the whole evening.
The skipper noticed a guy cleaning conch when they came in the channel on Saturday. The crew took a short hike to the Williams Beach today in search of conch shells that might have been left behind. On the way, they found several piles of old conch shells.
But the skipper was holding out for the new and fresh shells. They found the spot where the guy was cleaning conch but there were only a few good shells. On the return trip, the skipper found a fresh pile of conch shells. The Admiral picked a few of the best. The crew decided to ride their bikes back over and harvest more shells later.
Also, on the way back the skipper noticed a rope hanging from a tree branch, so he decided to take a swing out over the water.
On Monday evenings, the resort provides a free dinner for all the guests. When the crew asked the OSCAR Party folks about the dinner, the party goers all laughed and made fun of the small portions. The crew went to the dinner and noticed that the OSCAR Party crowd was in full attendance at the free dinner. The portions were small indeed, but the draw seems to be the two free Bahama Mamas (rum and fruit juice) that each guest is given.
Winds 10-15 mph from NE, swells 10 feet with 10 second period, waves moving from NE which would put them on the beam.
The crew looks for Winds < 10 mph, swells less than 2 feet, and no wind component from the N.
Will continue to wait for better weather window. Long range forecast shows a window opening on March 17th.
The crew played Bahama Bocce Ball with some folks at the Resort. Bahama style is with no groomed court. Just find a spot outside on the grass and go for it. Makes for some interesting games as the ‘court’ was very uneven, rocky, trees in the way, and even a grill in play.
The crew’s team made it to the finals but lost in a close match 9-11.
Winds 9-18 mph from S, swells 7 feet with 14 second period, waves moving from NE which would put them on the beam.
Will continue to wait for better weather window. Long range forecast still shows a window opening on March 17th.
The crew decided to visit a Botanical Garden on the Island today. It was a short and easy six-mile bicycle ride to the Garden of the Groves. The gardens are spread out over a seven-acre area with meandering paths that wander around.
At one end of the gardens, the crew found a Labyrinth that was a recreation of the first Christian Labyrinth built at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres, in 1201.
Labyrinths differ from a maze in that a Labyrinth leads to the center of the project, while a maze is more like a puzzle with many dead ends. The Labyrinth is a Sacred Path with a purpose: a meandering path we all walk to connect to our deepest selves, to each other, and our God.
After enjoying the Gardens of the Groves for a few hours, the crew rode their bikes back to the boat. On the way, they did make a stop at a Wendy’s to get a burger and frosty.
Winds 17-24 mph from WNW, swells 6-7 feet with 14 second period, waves moving from NNE which would put them on the beam. Winds will begin to clock around out of the south over the next few days, but will not provide an opportunity to cross back to Florida.
Will continue to wait for better weather window. Long range forecast still shows a window opening on March 17th. Looks like the best day to travel might be 19th.
Kinda strange day. The high today was only 68. With the wind blowing it actually felt cool. Hope that is the worst of winter here in the Bahamas. The crew took the time to find the Port Lucaya Straw Market to browse the locals wares. They then found the local grocery store and did some re-provisioning since they will not be getting out of here any time soon.
When they arrived back at the boat is was time for another round of Bahama Bocce Ball. The crew managed to beat the Monday champs in the first game. The team called for a rematch for a winner take all game to crown the weekly champ. It was a close match tied at the half way point 6-6. Then our crew’s team pulled away to win the crown, 11-7.
Winds 10-14 mph from NE, swells 5-6 feet with 10 second period, waves moving from NNE which would put them on the beam. Winds will begin to clock around out of the south over the next few days, but will not provide an opportunity to cross back to Florida.
Will continue to wait for better weather window. Long range forecast shows a window opening on March 17th. Looks like the best day to travel still might be the 19th.
The Admiral has been busy increasing her trove of beach treasures. She has gathered a nice array of conch shells, sea biscuits, sand dollars, and a few star fish.
The skipper continues to monitor the weather and wave heights to cross the Gulf Stream. The winds will clock from the north to the south during the next week. However, the wind will remain high and keep the waves in the Gulf Stream greater than 5 feet. A window does seem to be opening starting on March 17th. That is still a ways off but does look promising. Late in the week it should be clear what day the crew will cross.
Some have asked what the crew’s criteria for a good weather window looks like:
1- Locals say not to cross with any North wind component because of the wind over current issue with the Gulf Stream (WNW, NW, N, NE, ENE) stacks the waves up more square than rolling and is a rough ride.
2 – look for winds less than 10 mph
3 – look for swells < 2 feet with period > 4 seconds
4- also, with the winds blowing hard out of the north, it is wise to allow the waves a day to calm down before crossing, even if the wind speed is low
Another question is how do you determine your heading to make sure you arrive where you want to: (For starters, Assume the Gulf Stream is 2.5 knots)
1- calculate the distance from inlet you are leaving from to your destination
2- divide distance by your avg speed to calculate your passage time
3- multiply passage time by 2.5 (Gulf Stream)
4- the result is your offset distance the Gulf Stream will push you North
5- measure south of your destination by your offset distance and place a waypoint
6- make your heading the waypoint south of your actual distinction and the Gulf Stream will push you North to your inlet
1- Lake worth Inlet to West End is 64 miles
2- 64 mi/9 mph= 7.1 hours for a transport time
3- 7.1 hrs x 2.5 mph = 17.75 miles
4- offset distance = 17.75 south of your inlet destination
5- measure south 17.5 and place waypoint
6- your resulting heading you will steer should be about 262 M
If you steer 262 M, the Gulf Stream will push you North (17.75 miles) so that you arrive at the Lake Worth Inlet.
Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.
Got it, thanks
Capt, wouldn’t the gps/auto pilot keep adjusting the course for you?
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Yes but. Your suggestion is a popular option but actually takes more time to arrive at your destination.
Think about an airport walkway. You happen to be an ant and you want to cross straight across the moving walkway. You start out going straight across, but the walkway carries you north of your destination. When you get across, you now have to travel south to your destination point.
In a boat, if you are crossing straight across from Lake Worth to West End you would set a Course Over Ground (COG) of 98 degrees. As the Gulf Stream starts to push you North the autopilot changes course further south to achieve a Course Made Good (CMG) 0f 98 degrees. You may actually see the autopilot steering as much as 125 degrees. You will notice that you are now ‘crabbing’ into the Gulf Stream.
This all makes it take at least an hour longer to get across. Depending on your boat speed it can take even longer. The method I described in the blog minimizes the time going across.