Nov 7-8: Ocean to Palm Beach


This morning was still and calm, with a hint of dawn, as we detached from the anchor ball and headed towards the draw bridge to wait for passage through. It was so beautifully serene, it seemed our engine and voices were screaming into the hush of the morning's pastel hues that cradled the other boats.

As we exited the channel to the ocean I saw an airplane in the horizon, or was it something else? Those weren't lights, it round? A group of playful, large plastic bubbles floated across in front of us before they dropped into the ocean. Surprising since we were a ways off shore. I guess today we are starting our voyage with a little celebration!

Once out on the ocean the waves no longer calm, began rolling in all directions. The change from calm was so drastic that I had not yet secured our dishes and a full pot of coffee which abruptly fell and sloshed across the counter, into a food storage area. Not good. A terrible wet mess that I would have to deal with it at dock.

We took advantage of the afternoon sun, turned on some music and enjoyed suntanning as best we could under the canopy. Although the sun tanning had to be slightly strategic, we could lay safely without falling overboard from the wild waves.

Our first glimpses of a flying fish was enthralling. At first it seemed the waves were spitting as the fish jumped from one wave to the next, so fast we saw only splashes as they skipped. Or perhaps someone had skipped a stone? Then finally a full glimpse as silvery sardine looking fish leapt from the water, skipped along the tops of the waves and disappeared far ahead of the ship. They glided so lightly, as though the ocean had no powerful undulation and waves were not rolling. Incredible!

Several more flying fish came skipping along. All this fishy activity inspired Andrew to pull out his lure and fishing line to drag behind the boat. He has done this before but, at our speeds, without much luck. But this time he caught something! A bunch of weeds. Oh well, we will try again in the Bahamas.

Another gorgeous sunset lit the sky bright orange-red as we passed Cape Canaveral, launch pads, and Vehicle Assembly Building, all lit brightly like a small city. Unfortunately no launches scheduled for tonight but it was wonderful just passing by. A launch would have been a spectacular sight from our vantage point.

The sun slowly receded to pitch black with grey velvet starlit waves rolling us up and down under a canopy of stars and clouds. Visibility was a bit of a challenge as we could barely see the horizon so interior lights were shut off so we could see better and the radar was turned on. Thankfully radar shows anything in our path as bright pink objects on the screen so we can avoid them. As a bonus it also shows us where any rain clouds are so we are prepared.

We were sure there would be no moon tonight but a while later, up rose a bright orange ball illuminating the night with its smiling face. As it rose it changed to bright white making rippling water glisten and lighting clouds in silver hues.

For this trip Andrew had carefully mapped out our course, adding way-points for the boat to follow. This area of the coast has gulf streams going in opposite directions, away from sharp scholes and areas where depths can change suddenly from 50' to 5'. They also keep us clear of marked fishing areas and traps, and the restricted zones for Cape Canaveral and Fort McMurray.

The water is constantly getting warmer and is now a balmy 28.3 degrees. We usually need to block the sun with a large cloth to keep from roasting under the canopy but we are not complaining. 

As the sun rose fishing boats appeared on the horizon laden with rods in every direction, and not long after the inlet for Palm Beach came into view. The beaches were lined with resorts and beach chairs with attendants delivering drinks. It has all the earmarks of tropical paradise but as we got closer we could see how hard the area had been hit by storms.

Along shore workers were rebuilding the retaining walls and walkways, boats were tossed on their sides on shore, trees were down and properties were damaged. The marinas here though are hosts to some of the largest charter cruise ships and they do their job well. The marina where we will stay tomorrow night looks pristine and fully functional. We can't wait to have a closer look.

For tonight we will drop anchor in the designated anchorage and finally get the coffee storage drenching cleaned up. The cans were already corroding from the! It took a great deal of scrubbing to get them cleaned and back in shape. Well, lesson definitely learned. I will prep better next time before we head out to the ocean.

Tomorrow we hope to explore Peanut Island which has a lot of interesting stories surrounding it . . . but more on that tomorrow. For now we are saying goodbye as another spectacular sunset lights the skies.