Crossing Gulf Stream

The books all warn you, “Don’t cross the mighty Gulf Stream during a Norther.” This is when the wind swings to the north. Now this strong, forbidding wind is bucking the 3 to 4 knot relentless, northerly flow of the Stream. These clashing, opposing forces cause high, steep-sided waves. I call them square waves.

We got very short notice of a charter beginning the next morning in Nassau. A Norther was in full swing. We either had to cancel, postpone, or brave the Stream. Being conscientious, we went.

Anchorite got us through okay, but that was one hell of a hair-raising roller-coaster ride she took us on. We vowed—never again.

Our charter party turned out to be two gentlemen photographers. They each boarded ship with a suitcase for their clothes, and an aluminum case specially designed for camera equipment. They had spent a week photographing Nassau, now they were anxious to “do” the Exumas.

We were normally tipped quite generously. This was no exception. Marie even got a special fifty-dollar tip for the blueberry pancakes she had baked one morning for breakfast.

Now back to crossing the Gulf Stream during a Norther—heed the advice of those who have done it and survived—stay-in-port!

George and his wife, Marie, sailed professionally, chartering boats in the Bahamas, then in the Virgin Islands. They then leased an uninhabited island, Little Thatch, in the British Virgin Islands, and turned it into a small hotel. After six years, they left the island and bought a lovely beachfront property on Jost Van Dyke (BVI) where they built Sandcastle Hotel and the original Soggy Dollar Bar. George is now the author of Incredible Virgin Island Adventure: A True Story.

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