It is that time of year again, Hurricane season. We need to clear out of here and hang someplace safe until November. We have toyed with the big question of where we want to sit in hot humid weather and wait until November or when it is safe to venture out again. Last summer, we went to the Chesapeake Bay. We had a great time there and the summer temperatures were kind. We enjoyed some of the coolest weather they have experienced in years. But, neither of us feels like sailing the 850 miles to the bay area. Most cruising sailors move south through the summer and end up in Trinidad or Grenada. Both islands are south of the hurricane zone. Considering where we are located now, this sail is about 1,000 miles. Hmmm, what to do.
We decided to spend hurricane season in Tampa Bay, our old stomping ground. We have some boat projects we would like to get done this summer. We are familiar with most of the stores there and that takes a lot of the guess work out of projects. Because as you know, each project will require at least three store visits: First, to get the parts I think I will need. Second, to get the parts I really need. Third, to get the replacement parts I drop in the water.
The route to Tampa Bay from the Bahamas is complicated. From the Exumas, we can go Northwest and jump off from the western Bahamas to central/south Florida. This would mean day sailing in the Bahamas and then a couple of overnights to a jump off point, across the Gulfstream and then around Key West. We figured this route would take about 10-15 days if the weather is good. Longer if weather windows are not available. The route involves mostly day sailing to avoid those pesky coral heads in the shallow Bahamian waters. This is how most people do the trip. We are not most people. We decided to go south, round Long Island and the Ragged Islands of the Bahamas, head west to Cuba, sail up the coast of Cuba to Key West and then on to Tampa Bay. The total trip is about 850 miles. Hey, wait a minute. Isn’t this the same distance as The Chesapeake Bay? It is but, we can do this trip nonstop. We figure it will take about 6-7 days. We are hoping the seasonal easterly winds hold.
We’ll update you from the USA. Wish us luck…