on the plane as i write this. i am very excited. i am also nervous. but mostly in a good way. based on conditions in the ocean, air, me :-) etc the schedule will not be exact. Here is the outline for the next few days keeping in mind it is best to depart from FL into the GulfStream for the crossing as early in the am as possible
arrive MIA at 8p
Rent Car at Hertz
Drive to Palm Beach Fl
Stay in Palm Beach
Check on weather
Day in Palm Beach preparing supplies and wave runner for trip
Need to pick up a few things including a square yellow quarantine flag that must be raised when i first pull into immigration in the bahamas, 3, 2 gallon gas containers(easier to use out in the ocean than a 5 gallon container), etc
Meet with Carrington at Greater Yamaha late morning. Fully load and prepare ski. All equipment Gas etc
Spend a few hours with Capt Dave of Starboard Yachts reviewing all of my routes and fuel stops for the entire trip-still a little concerned about fuel between West End Grand Bahama and Spanish Cay (90 miles)
Reread guide to Abacos, re-review MapSource way points routes etc. Make sure all GPS units updated with the latest update
Get some rest
recalibrate gps compasses
Meet Carrington from Greater Yamaha at the launch ramp at 6a. Please note Carrington lives 30 minutes from the shop and the launch ramp and offered to drive the ski over and help me launch it at 6a. He has been amazingly helpful
Hopefully depart Palm Beach Harbour by 6:30 at the latest all loaded up. The equipment will be spread something like this
Mounted on the ski Primary GPS unit, Spot personal satellite tracking system. Attached to my body, second gps unit, Epirb, satellite phone, marine radio and rhapsody sansa player.
In this way even if I am fully seperated from the ski I will have a satellite tracking unit, phone, radio, etc etc
The ride from Palm Beach to West End Grand Bahama is about 60 miles. If conditions are really good this could be a very straightforward ride and take 3 hours. If conditions are not so good could take 4-6 hours and be much harder on my body (I will be on the 5th day of my steroid treatments Monday so they should have kicked in by then and helped my neck and arm)
I should be able to see FL behind me for about 10-15 miles. West End is not visible until you are about 8 miles away. This means I will have about 35 miles with no land in sight.
In GPS you must trust. Anyone who has done significant boating or flying knows IN GPS U MUST TRUST. There are numerous situations when your eyes and your brain want to tell you to go in a specific direction. NEVER let that override what the GPS is telling you. The GPS is not tired. It is not excited. It is not nervous. I has no emotions. I just knows where it is and which way to go to get where you are going. Don't worry about the fact you cant see any land. Don't meander looking for land. Trust the GPS
My guess is that I will be pretty tense for the first 30-40 miles. It is ocean that I have never been in before. The ocean is unpredictable even if you are familiar with it. I will have more than half of the ride ahead of me. I will be on high alert watching everything around me intensely and listening to everything intensely (the sound of the engine, the water, noises in the distance etc). Once I reach about 35-40 miles I believe I will relax quite a bit. I will be coming to the end of the main current of the gulf stream, i will have less than half of the trip to go, i will have become comfortable in the waters there (lets hope) and i should relax pretty well from there
When I arrive in Grand Bahama I have to clear customs. As I pull into the harbor I must raise the yellow quarantine flag and pull up to customs. Secure my craft and proceed directly into customs with my passport, vessel registration etc etc and purchase a cruising permit for the Bahamas ($150 for up to 30 days). Once I do this I will be good to go. I am going to spend the first night at the Old Bahama Bay which is right there at west end.
I have no other hotel reservations for the entire trip as I cant be sure where I might end up on any particular day. This is one of the wonderful parts of the adventure. If I love somewhere I am I can stay a little longer. If I don't like it I can just stay one night, or even ride through.
I have contacted and know all the possible places where I will stay and get fuel. The hotels are not full and they told me to call them the day before and they should have room. If one place is full I will try the next.
The plan for 6/2 is to go from West End Grand Bahama to Spanish Cay. This will be the longest day miles wise (about 90) but not across the gulf stream so should be pretty smooth and beautiful waters. Gas will be the big focus this day