November 19, 2013.
We finished last minute chores and provisioning for our trip offshore while in Vero Beach. We also attended a cruisers get together and had dinner with groups of friends while there. But as always, the weather rules.
|The obligatory Vero mast climb.|
On Sunday we headed down the ICW to North Lake Worth to stage for a possible crossing. The wind was to be light before completely disappearing for 2 days. We were expecting a long motor boat trip through flat seas. We motorsailed down the coast until we were abreast of Miami before turning east. This gave us a nice angle for crossing the stream to North Riding Rock. We never dropped below 5.5 knots and it might have been a boring crossing if not for the extracurricular goings on.
It was dark and we were just about at the middle of the Gulfstream when Fine Lion hailed us on the radio. They were about a half mile behind us and off to our starboard side. Steve was wondering if we knew what the flashing lights on the horizon were. He said they were in front, to his south side and behind him. At first we didn't see them and then he realized that the lights weren't actually out on the horizon but much closer to his boat than he thought.
When we looked back at his boat we could see dozens of green and red flashing lights all around his boat. He hit them with the spotlight and said that they were wrapped with reflective tape as well. I figured that it had to be drugs. Bales of weed dropped over the side of a mothership and floating north in the Gulfstream waiting to be picked up later. We talked about it for a little bit but we had a more pressing issue just off the bow.
I had a radar contact 4.5 miles off the bow. The issue was that there was nothing to be seen, no lights what-so-ever. It wasn't a drifting piece of debris as it just sat there in front of us in spite of the northward flow of the Gulfstream. We got to within a mile and a half of it before it slowly started making its way south to avoid us.
With the binoculars Christy was finally able to spot a large, blacked out boat steering a semi circle around us. I figure it had to be either the DEA watching to see who would be making the pickup or it was the bad guys waiting for us to finish stumbling through so they could make their pick up in private. Either way, I'm glad neither one of us felt the need to investigate the flashing floaters.
|Dawn breaks over FAC (Flat Ass Calm) seas|
|Fine Lion anchored off Paradise Island|