Mid-Life Cruising Sabbatical

Chapter 20

Our Cruising Log
Part 7

Puerto Rico to Florida

See the comments on our cruising log at the start of Chapter 14

My comments to this letter were made in June 2003.


September 27, 1993


"Down Time"

Lat 26o06'N  Lon 80o08'W

Ft. Lauderdale, FL


Dear Families and Friends,


Well, we finally made it back to the USA!  Our 15 month trip only took 31 months!  Now for a few statistics:


We traveled (I started to say sailed) over 5000 miles;

visited 53 islands representing 13 countries;

used eight currencies;

cleared in/out of customs 59 times;

burned 1200 gallons of diesel;

made 3600 gallons of desalinated water.


Enough of that.  Now for the rest of our trip.


We left Fajardo, Puerto Rico in mid July and sailed along the south coast of Puerto Rico.  We took a week getting to Boqueron at the west end of PR.  We stayed in Boqueron a week partly because we had to replace our VHF radio.


We had a wonderful sail (Yes, we actually sailed!) from PR to the Turks & Caicos.  We set the sails once and didn't touch them for the rest of the trip.  We covered 300 miles in 52 hours.


Then the tropical weather started interfering with our plans.  Brett caused us to hole up in Provo for several days when we had not planned on going there.  From Provo we sailed to West Plana Cay in the Bahamas and then on to Atwood Harbor in the Crooked Islands.  We had hardly anchored before locals came over and sold us lobsters.


And then along came Cindy.  She caused us to make a quick overnight run to Georgetown.  After a week there we went to Long Island then on to Cat Island.


One of the most memorable sails we had of the whole trip occurred here along the east coast of Long Island.  We were trying to reach George Town and we were sailing at night in August.  The sky was crystal clear with no moon and it was the time of the Persaid meteor showers.  They were spectacular!  We both stayed awake the whole night just to watch.  At any one time there would be dozens visible.


Dennis never caused us much worry but then there was Emily.  Since Cat Island has no harbors we had to run to Eleuthera.  We sat there for two days and finally decided that God was telling us that our cruise was over.  We had planned to spend a couple of weeks in the Abacos (northern most islands in the Bahamas) before returning to the States, but we decided to forgo that and make the shortest trip back to Florida.  Thus we went from Eleuthera to Highborne Cay, Nassau, Bird Cay, Gun Cay and finally Ft.  Lauderdale.


We picked the perfect time to arrive back in the States after a 2 1/2 year absence -- Labor Day weekend.  As we entered Port Everglades the go-fast boats were racing past us, helicopters were zooming around below our mast level, sport fishers were cruising about.  There was everything in the harbor from a Russian freighter to a US aircraft carrier.  Is this country great or what?  We almost turned around and went back for another 2 1/2 years!


We proceeded to Bahia Mar (home of Travis McGee for you John MacDonald fans) to clear customs.  Since we had been gone so long and been to all the countries mentioned above, we were expecting Customs to be something of an ordeal.  Not so.  Jim called on the special telephone, answered a few questions and that was it!


Actually, all they said was, “Welcome home”.


The next day we moved the boat to Cooley's Landing where we are as we write this.  Cooley's is a new city marina which we recommend to our cruising friend.  It is part of the New River Park system and within walking distance of downtown locations.


Now we are in job looking mode.  In fact Diane is off on an interview trip now looking at two possibilities.  We have no idea where we will actually end up living.  For the next several weeks and maybe until the end of October we will be here at Cooley's.


There's still time for all of you to write us.  Just send those letters to the Starkville address and they will be forwarded to us. In case you've lost it, that address is:


P.O. Box 1947

Starkville, MS  39759


We also have one of those fancy voice mail paging systems.  It works like this: You call 305-897-2281 and leave a message up to 60 seconds in length.  As soon as you hang up, our beeper goes off, we get your message and then we call you back.  Now even those of you who have forgotten how to write can communicate with us.


Of course if you are coming to south Florida you should stop by and



Let us hear from all of you.


Jim & Diane

Send comments to: jkbarrentine@earthlink.net

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