The end of the journey for Bravo... but not the end of adventure...

Still Heading South

Leaving Jacksonville

Wouldn’t you know... the day Chet and Lynette are scheduled to fly out, the weather and sea conditions finally turn favorable.  Catching the slack tide, we turn east and head offshore.  We quickly realize that other ships also want to take advantage of the improved conditions to head out to sea.

Did we mention that Mayport Naval Base is directly across the river from us?  Mayport is home to several aircraft carriers, destroyers, and support ships.  Just exiting the long narrow Jacksonville harbor channel we notice one of these aircraft carriers looming large on our stern cruising a lot faster than Bravo's capabilities.  Nora is at the helm when the radio call comes, "US warship calling motor vessel Bravo"...  Yikes!  That's us!  So, Nora radioes back acknowledging them and asks if they wanted us to stand down.  They reply back, "Yes", and provide their course heading.  We turn to port to stand down and stay out of their way.  After they pass on our stern, the final call from the carrier is, "Thanks Bravo for the slow pass"!!

Nora was "Cool as a cucumber!"

Running offshore
It is a beautiful day and the weather and wind conditions are suitable for an overnight run south from Jacksonville to North Palm Beach, Florida.  Blue skies, white clouds, calm seas as far as you can see.  Occasionally, high rise buildings loom on the western horizon.  The sun sets and the night shift run begins.

Fortunately it is uneventful and the eastern horizon lights up the new day and an afternoon arrival at Old Port Cove Marina in North Palm Beach.

Ashore again
We score a primo dock space just steps away from Old Port Cove’s restaurant, Sandpiper’s. 

Washing the boat and cleaning the teak decks are on our list of chores.  After six months of on and offshore travel, Bravo deserves the full “spa treatment”.

We also enjoy walking the docks and checking out a wide variety of beautifully maintained yachts.

Doris Market
Luckily, Old Port Cove is just steps away from one of our favorite food stores, Doris Market. It is a full size supermarket that specializes in Italian food! Their wide variety of departments include the best Italian bakery outside New York and New Jersey, espresso bar, gelato stand, full-service deli, salads, hot food and pizza, fresh fish (and live lobster!), cold prepared foods ready to take home and heat up for dinner, and the wildest special department of all... a self-service wine bar!

Additionally, you can take your lunch outside to the alfresco dining area and... bocce courts! Mama Mia!

Since it is a couple of days before Thanksgiving, we decide to skip the traditional turkey dinner and go for a Doris Italian Thanksgiving dinner complete with fresh cannoli for dessert.

The end of the journey... but not the end of adventure...

Our arrival at Old Port Cove Marina comes with mixed emotions.  During the long trip up and down the East Coast we came to the conclusion that after almost 40 years of living in the Northwest, it is “our home”.  We explored a number of scenarios that would return us to Washington including, cruising Bravo through the Panama Canal, shipping her to the northwest, or selling her in Florida and resume life in the land of tall green trees and deep blue waters.  It was a difficult decision but we decided to sell Bravo and return to the northwest.  We purchased a home and are in the process of settling into life onshore.

While transitioning to land life, we had many chances to reflect on the incredible adventures we had and fabulous people and boats we met along the way.

To mention a few...

James Knight, Paul Pelletier and the whole team at Yacht Tech who really and truly were available 24/7 ready to help at any time.  We could not have done this trip without their tremendous support and assistance.

James Taylor, Faye Hannah and the whole team at Atlantic Yacht Basin.  Their hard work in the heat and humidity of a Chesapeake summer, always with a smile and, “Yes captain”, helped prepare Bravo for her trip north. 

The team at Hinckley Yacht in Southwest Harbor, Maine who came through with critical repairs and helped us head south on time.

Dennis and Julie Fox on Sea Fox who truly, truly, truly helped us in ways too many to mention.

Gale and Mary Plummer on Worknot for their friendship, and many hours of mechanical support and navigational guidance.

Bob and Kim Warshawer on Moxie.

Clark & Michelle Haley on Roam.

Ted Dixon & Jenny Johnson on Southern Star.

Steven and Carol Argosy on Seabird.

Tina and Braun Jones on Ocean Pearl.

“The French Dudes” ...Patrick Paugam and Stefan on SV Pilgrim.

Dave Wright of ABT-TRAC.

Don Kohlmann of Nordhavn, Seattle.

Frank Durksen of AAA Yacht Finders.

Phil Derrick marine electrician ever.

Penny Raimondo and the team at Pope's Island Marina, New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Everyone at the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Rick Notley and Mark Jeseritz who didn't know what they volunteered for on the initial cruise from North Palm Beach, Florida to Chesapeake, Virginia.  Oh what a trip!

Last, but not least, we want to thank all of the cruisers who contribute to the Active Captain app.  Their cautions, insights, and information were invaluable in so many situations when facing unknown passages, new harbors, and unfamiliar anchorages.  Keep up the good work!

Example where cruisers have flagged a Shoaling problem area, and 144 people have added info.

After clicking the explanation point in the triangle in the previous screen shot, you can now read the entries.

Also a big shout-out to the men and women of the US Coast Guard who tirelessly patrol our coastal waters, monitor Channel 16, and keep mariners safe.  We watched you do your work up and down the coast, in ports small and large and in all types of weather.  Thank you for your patience and your service.

End of chapter, not of adventure

Even though the time on Bravo was short, the adventure was large and we have no regrets.  A regret would be never attempting the adventure, rather than trying, learning, and changing direction.  Our experiences during the last few months reinforced the concept that life is short and holds no promises of what tomorrow will bring.  Make every moment count.  You don't need to be reckless, or foolhardy, but do not postpone your adventures and be sure to spend time with the people you love and care about.
Contemplating a return to the northwest, we looked at several communities, but decided to return to Bellingham, Washington.  We purchased a home and even though we will be land based, we do plan on other cruising, sailing, and travel adventures.


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