Departing in the Next 30 Hours

Destiny deals the cards, but we play them.

Solo circumnavigator Bernard Moitessier, The Long Way

Good morning! I’ll keep this quick…

All indications are that Hazel and I will be departing Cooley’s Landing Marina in Ft. Lauderdale sometime tomorrow.

Getting from the marina to the ocean is a little tricky given that New River is narrow and tidal with relatively strong currents (its normal downstream flow reverses on the flooding tide), and that there are three drawbridges across it between Hazel and the Intracoastal Waterway. In addition, the three bridges do not open during rush hours (7:30 to 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.). The ideal times for a boat like Hazel to transit the river are at slack high (around high tide) which occurs twice per day, and the second best option is slack low (2-3 hours after low tide). At any other time, the river is flowing (downstream on the ebbing tide, and upstream on the flooding tide) which makes passage either arduous (motoring against a couple knots of current) or “exciting”—trying to wait for bridge’s opening in a narrow and crowded river with the current pushing the low power and single-engine Hazel into the bridge (high power, multi engine boats with bow thrusters, etc. have a lot easier time when the current is flowing). Bottom line, I’ve got only a couple options to get out tomorrow and I’ll need to pick my time carefully. To the good, this will be my sixth transit of the New River so it’s getting to be old hat for me.

I got a clean COVID test yesterday and have emailed it to the Bermudian health authorities in advance of my departure. Also, late yesterday evening I got a return call from “my weather guy” Chris Parker (everyone has a weather guy—right?).

While I had thought that tomorrow looked pretty good for a departure on rumb line to Bermuda (a more-or-less straight line), a strong low pressure system that will exit the US Atlantic seaboard over the Chesapeake Bay on Sunday had been giving me some pause. Chris confirmed that Thursday was a good departure date from what he is seeing but advised me to stay further south than I had been planning, to avoid the gale force winds that the low pressure system will generate. I’ll likely start the voyage by sailing the Bahamian Northwest and Northeast Providence Channels (keeping the Little Bahama Bank to the north and the Great Bahama Bank to the south). Early next week and as the low passes, I’ll arc northward toward Bermuda—at least that’s the plan.

I’ve got to get going for now as today will be full of last minute, fresh food provisioning and other minor things to take care of (and resting and relaxing as much as possible).

I’ll try to make updates to my satellite tracker as I am able on the passage (posted on this site’s home page).

Fair winds and following seas. Hazel James out.

7 thoughts on “Departing in the Next 30 Hours

  1. Sounds exciting and challenging! So glad to hear about your weather guy. Will be fun to hear about where you are and to see pictures. Much love your sister lisa

  2. Well done Cap’n Dan! I hope the treasures you seek are as rewarding as the journey. I admit envy, but I am a terra firma man through and through. Landlubber out… K

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