February 11, 2009.
We’ve spent a few nights anchored in Lake Worth just waitin’. Christy and I would have preferred to travel a little further south to Miami as it would give us a better angle to the Gulf Stream, but there were bigger things to consider.
The Local Boaters Option or LBO card, as its known. Possessing an LBO card will enable us to re enter the country anywhere along the southern coast of Florida without actually having to show up in person at a Customs & Immigration office. If you remember our entry last year, I thought I might have to bail Christy out of jail, as the Customs “official” was a major league asshole. He was definitely tripping on the power invested in him by the United States government. It was an episode I’d rather not relive so this is where the LBO card comes in. For those lucky people that possess “the” card all it takes is a phone call to customs. I'm surprised that there's not a line of smugglers waiting to get an LBO card. You call em’, report that you’re back in the country and viola, you’re done. That’s it, oh yeah, and it’s free.
The only draw back is that you have to make an appointment to go down and get the card but once issued its good indefinitely. So instead of traveling further south we sat and waited for our Wednesday afternoon appointment with customs. Of course, our appointment was in the same building where the “episode” took place, I figured, what are the chances that we’ll be dealing with the same “official”?
Fortunately, we had a completely different experience this time around. After passing through the metal detector we meekly approached the security glass and rang the bell. I told the officer that responded that we were here to get our LBO cards. He said “do you have an appointment?” I said “yep” and he jumped right on it. The guy couldn’t have been nicer guiding us through the process. I think he was actually pretty impressed with Christy’s organizational skills. Some time ago she took the time to organize all of our boat paperwork into one giant binder. Its all there, documentation, insurance policy, passports, radio licenses, written waste management plan, DAN insurance, birth certificates, state registration and the list goes on and on. He wanted Driver’s Licensees, boom, no problem. Documentation, no problemo. Passports, got em’ right here sir. We were in and out in no time.
After we got back to the boat Christy took care of some internet business while I paid some attention to the anchor windlass. We had to move the boat this morning to an anchorage nearer the customs building and the windlass moved about as fast as a condemned man on his final walk.
We had been on a mooring for almost 2 months in Vero Beach and when we arrived in Lake Worth it was the first time the anchor had been deployed in quite a while. I figured that there had to be some corrosion in the wiring somewhere, so I went about troubleshooting. I found the ground wires connection to the windlass to be a corroded mess, so I redid it. I also found that the wiring on the back of the foot switch was completely rotted so that needed some attention as well.
Now we’re sitting here staring at the clock, waiting to get underway. Its been about 2 weeks since the last weather window for a crossing so there’s a lot of boats scattered around.....waiting. The wind has been cranking here for several days but is due to abate and change to a more favorable direction tonight. We’re going to give the seas an opportunity to lie down and we’ll shove off on Thursday afternoon at 1600 hours. The trip to Lucaya should take about 14 hours so we should be arriving just after dawn. The entrance to Lucaya is fairly narrow and we’ve never been there before so we definitely want to make a daylight approach.
We’re anchored just inside the inlet so as soon as we pull the hook we’ll be out the inlet and into the ocean. The boat on the left in this photo is a typical 40 foot cruising boat the other boat is not so typical. The anchorage here is really filling up and it seems that there are going to be a couple dozen boats leaving at various times during the day. As of right now we’ll be traveling with 4 other boats to Lucaya. A couple of the boats are planning to motor and some are going to give sailing a shot. We’ll just have to see how it all pans out as to how far we get strung out.