Waiting on weather
Okay, I know there are worse places to be stuck waiting on weather in March than Fort Lauderdale, land of Bahia Mar and the infamous Busted Flush. A couple of days ago, I had to up anchor and head down to the fuel dock to take on diesel and water. On the return trip, as I was waiting for the Las Olas Bridge’s scheduled opening, I took the photo above of Bahia Mar, now land of the monster motor yachts. I wondered what Travis and Meyer would think of the place today. John D. MacDonald might agree with me that there are some nicer places to be about now.
But no matter how much I want to get across to the Bahamas, the fact is I am stuck here waiting on weather. I am currently anchored out in the Middle River not too far from my friends Mike and Mary aboard Rough Draft. In fact, there are currently seven boats here in the anchorage and six out of seven are waiting for a weather window to sail across to the Bahamas. Every week or so, it looks like we’ll be able to leave after the current cold front passes through. We intend to leave at nightfall and sail overnight across the Gulf Stream and eventually anchor at Mangrove Cay on the Bahama Banks. The next day we’ll hopefully make it to Allans-Pensicola or Foxtown and then on to Green Turtle Cay. The thing is, we need a 3-day window, minimum. It’s roughly 175 nautical miles.
So, it will look good a week out, and then as it gets closer, the window will shrink and the period of moderate winds lasts only a day or two and another cold front comes blasting through clocking the winds around back into the north. North winds are a serious problem when you’re trying to cross the Gulf Stream, as wind against current produces some nasty seas. The other problem with north winds is they bring northern temperatures and we have too many nights with the temperature plunging down into the 40’s. Now I understand that you folks in the north might think we’re sissies to whine about that, but you need to understand that on a boat this is a damp cold and we have no heat at night. I manage to get up in the morning and light the propane heater, but Barney, the Yorkshire Terror won’t come out from under the covers until the temperature in the cabin reaches 60 degrees.
Waiting requires patience, and this is an essential quality for sailors and writers. Taking the leap too soon can have disastrous consequences. Whether launching a voyage or a book, one of the factors that often influences disastrous early launches is peer pressure. We have a tendency to tell our friends what we’re doing. “Yeah, I’m sailing for the Bahamas,” you say and then you run into those folks at the supermarket two weeks later and they say, “What? You’re still here? I thought you were leaving.”
The same thing happens to writers. When they first tell their friends they’re writing a book, everyone jokes about bestsellers and movie deals. Two years later they’re rolling their eyes and looking at you like you’ve lost your mind when you say you are still working on the book. I can attest to that since I spent 7 years writing my first book and 5 years on my fifth book. When it comes to dealing with eye rolls and wise cracks, my thick skin is nearly bullet-proof.
So, if next week I’m still blogging from Fort Lauderdale, you’ll know that I am patiently waiting for my weather window and spending my days adding to the word count on book #6. And while this might not be the place I want to be right now, it certainly is entertaining. I mean where else could you take a video like this with the Yorkshire Terror expressing his dismay at a Rocketman flying around your boat? I think even Travis McGee would have chuckled at this sight.
p.s. Thanks so much to everyone who helped out by downloading our free books last week. Thanks to you all I’ve sold more than 100 copies of Wreckers’ Key since Monday, and I’ve bought loads of school supplies for Every Child Counts. Each of the other writers will be making a cash donation. You guys are the best!