And now, in no particular order, a list of the top eight ways we spent our time while waiting for a weather window for crossing to the Bahamas….
1. Provisioning (aka grocery shopping!) – I’m not sure if we really did or not, but it sure felt like we visited the local Publix at least every other day while we were in Lake Worth. Fortunately, it was a very quick walk from the bridge where we landed our dinghy, because those cases of beer and Pepsi sure got heavy quickly! We also made a run or two to Trader Joe’s (about one mile past Publix) for some of my favorite treats like their Honey Sesame Cashews and their Pound Plus dark chocolate bars! We also made a final run to Costco on our bikes (about 4 miles each way) for some more canned chicken and one last bag of Skinny Pop popcorn. I have a serious fear of running out of snacks and having to pay close to $8 for a bag for chips in the Bahamas!
2. Eating foods we might not have easy access to for the next few months – McDonald’s…what can I say…we rarely eat there, but just knowing that we wouldn’t be able to once we crossed to the Bahamas made it seem like we better grab a burger and fries one last time! And then there’s pizza…probably my favorite food group, so we managed to down a couple of those as well. Then there was the time we decided we needed to hit the all-you-can eat Japanese buffet. The pictures on the website looked so good…there was even a pic of a chocolate fountain! Boy were we disappointed. The food was sub-par and the chocolate fountain in the photo was replaced with a bowl of cold Hershey’s syrup with nothing but marshmallows for dipping. Talk about a serious case of bait and switch… On the other end of the spectrum was the night we went to Sabai Thai so I could get some edamame and Pad Thai. O.M.G. The food (and service!) was to die for! We will definitely go back if we’re in the area again, and highly recommend it!
3. Doing craft projects – Well…sort of! I spent some time making soft shackles out of Dyneema. These are an incredibly strong, light-weight, and inexpensive alternative to metal shackles, and we wanted one to quickly, easily and securely attach another snubber line to our anchor chain. The snubber line is basically a shock absorber attached between our boat and anchor chain. It absorbs the massive shocks possible on our anchor chain from high wind and waves, which helps prevent the boat from being jolted and potentially ripping out one of our cleats or pulling up the anchor. We’ve always used a single snubber line and soft shackle, but adding a second one would give us an additional layer of protection to help see us through the predicted sustained high winds. Dyneema is trademarked as the world’s strongest fiber and these soft shackles have a breaking strength of 10,000 pounds, which is similar to the breaking strength of our high-test anchor chain.
4. Swimming with manatees – On one of the warmish, calm days, we took the dinghy and went about four miles south to Peanut Island, an island created of material excavated when the Lake Worth inlet was created. It is still mainly a spoil site, but the exterior has been developed into a Palm Beach County park. We’d heard that there was some decent snorkeling there with some ocean reef fish in clear blue water and we were anxious to get in the water and use our gear! We hopped in and before long we were swimming with a couple of manatees! How cool is that? We probably saw at least a half-dozen all together, and honestly, we were worried that they were going to get us in trouble. We know it’s illegal to touch or harass manatees, and we had no intention of doing either, but the darn things kept swimming toward US! When we finally got out of the water, the lifeguard came over and thanked us for not chasing the manatees! Whew! Just so bummed we didn’t bring the GoPro with us!
5. Getting ready to fish – Oh my…we really want to catch some ocean fish…but were feeling kinda clueless. We went to several fishing supply stores, including West Marine’s huge flagship store, and were totally overwhelmed! Who knew that a single rigged lure could cost $45?!? What happens when that big ol’ fish you thought you were reeling in for dinner instead gets away and takes with him that crazy expensive lure you just plunked down almost fifty bucks for? Might be cheaper to just head to the market, but what’s the fun in that?
6. Drinking really good beer – Our first day in Lake Worth we were looking for somewhere to grab a bite to eat and found Twisted Trunk Brewery instead! As you may or may not have noticed…we have a bit of an obsession with small craft breweries and are always on the lookout for a good IPA (in addition to mangoes, Marley and mermaids!). Twisted Trunk did not disappoint. As a matter of fact, while we were in town they had three, yes THREE, IPAs on tap and they were all great! We spent many a happy hour enjoying these great beers, and this is another place we would very highly recommend!
7. Identifying underwater sounds – Well, at least trying to! Every evening around sunset we would start hearing the strangest sound. We’d be sitting inside the boat and would hear these sounds through the hull, many times even feeling the vibrations caused by the sounds. It had to have been some sort of fish, but the only time we ever heard it was right around sunset. We have a couple of guesses as to what may have been making the sound, but aren’t yet convinced that we have positively ID’d the culprit. Take a listen…what do you think it is?
8. Lugging car batteries around town – Yup. We have a dedicated starting battery on the boat, which means that is the ONLY thing that battery is used for, ensuring that even if we were to drain all of our other batteries, we would still be able to start the boat. Well, our starting battery was at least 15 years old and starting to show its age. Figured we’d better play it safe and replace it before going to the Bahamas, which was no easy task. Jim got the battery unhooked and into the dinghy and we headed four miles south to West Palm Beach, where we proceeded to carry it a mile to the nearest AutoZone, buy a replacement, and carry it back. Those suckers are heavy! Thank goodness the battery we were retiring and the new one both had carrying handles.
*** The picture at the top of the post shows Jim getting some of our jerry cans filled with spare diesel, gasoline and water.