24 December 2021: I AM NEVER LEAVING!
24 December 2021
Port St Lucie, FL, USA
West Palm Beach, FL, USA
Cumulative Mileage (NM)
Crew on Board
Skipper, first mate, chef, entertainment and more; I guess that is solo sailing for you!
GENERAL WEATHER OBSERVATIONS
8 knots, pretty calm.
Not a cloud in sight!
Balmy for this time of year
Dry, thank goodness!
The last day of the sprint. And Christmas Eve! Happy Christmas Eve to me.
Nothing like a long motorsail south with nothing much to do or think about than spending the holidays alone. I was so grateful to know I was going to meet up with Arjuna so that I did not have to fully dwell on the ‘alone at Christmas feelings’.
My last couple of Christmases had been lonely too (first one back in Australia with no plans and my covid Christmas where the town I was living in was the hotspot of Canada so I stayed in instead of travelling home to celebrate with family).
Plus, since I grew up in wintery Canada, I always feel weird during the holidays if I am in the tropics. Palm trees and beach, no matter how much I love them or how many Christmas lights are put up, just does not scream ‘CHRISTMAS!’ to me. Though in this case, I had spent so long coming down the US East coast being cold using the fireplace and my thick warm blankets that I was not going to complain at this moment about the palm trees and sunshine.
And wow, were they ever lush and green. Totally in their element against a perfect blue bird sky today. Mother nature was certainly trying her best to cheer me up!
I think now that the latest northerly had passed, it was actually starting to feel like I was in Florida. The Bahamas actually felt close and tangible, with the only thing separating me from exploring white sand beaches of my first foreign country solo was a huge to do list. HUGE TO DO LIST!
I enjoyed the scenery along the way, got a little bit of vitamin D. And Vitamin D sure does cheer me up as well. It is one reason it is hard for me to live in Canada (and why I love living in Australia and a sailboat in the tropics), long winters and not enough Vitamin D.
I spent the day trying to make as many miles as I could, as per usual. Jib in, jib out. Tacking the jib. Jib in again. Things were slower going though and I had the nagging thought that I would not make it to West Palm Beach.
As I passed lighthouses and beautiful blue water and enjoyed the sights, I kept pulling up my Active Captain on my phone and recalculating the distance to go.
Arjuna sent me a couple of screenshots of the chart indicating where he was anchored and where he thought there was a good spot for me. And I was grateful for it because I was actually looking at another anchorage across the way. Plus, I had been warned about the currents in West Palm Beach so having a second opinion on where there would be room for me was reassuring. Tala sure likes to swing pretty weird when there is light or no wind and current present.
As I approached West Palm Beach, I felt every ounce of lost light with every minute ticking by. I still had one more bridge between me and the anchorage and if we are honest it was full-on pitch black. But I stayed in the channel behind a superyacht so I was not concerned about hitting fish pots. The big boat would have to hit them first!
The anchor spot sent by Arjuna was JUST off the channel near the marker so there was not a lot of obstacles to worry about. I liked the idea of being anchored near the marker because I swing weird on anchor in current, but the marker does not move. So it was a little simpler to factor in where to anchor next to a fixed point than being unsure how another boat might move.
I ended up dropping my anchor twice, the first time was notably too close to two other boats. But I got a better feel for the space in the dark after that and using the charts picked a better spot the second time around. Once it was set and secured it was actually quite late!
I wished AJ a Merry Christmas Eve and we made plans for Christmas morning! I also made some family video calls while cooking dinner and then retired to bed.
“Travel is never a matter of money but of courage.”
– Paul Coelho