Once on the Gulf, we plugged in the Gulf Stream route to Miami and headed south toward Marathon and the Seven Mile Bridge. The weather forecast called for light northerly winds and seas of 2 to 3 feet with good conditions all the way to Miami, which we would reach early on Tuesday morning.
|Brilliant sunset on Day 2 off the Florida Keys|
Hard to believe but bad weather is ahead
What's going on? The answer is shown in the photos below. We had massive high pressure over the eastern seaboard running from northern Maine south and west to all the way to Alabama. Off the east coast, on essentially a parallel track, we had a massive low pressure area running from north of the Bahamas out into the Atlantic in a northeasterly direction.
|A picture is worth a thousand words|
EXPLANATORY NOTE: Bernoulli's principle states that a region of fast flowing fluid (which includes air) exerts lower pressure on its surroundings than a region of slow flowing fluid. The principle applies to the motion of air over an airplane wing, to air flow through a carburetor, to a flag flapping in the breeze, and to the low pressure systems in hurricanes.
The result is shown in the photos above. The pressure constriction caused by the powerful pressure areas accelerated wind speeds between the high and low.
The text weather predictions for the area north of Miami to Fort Pierce showed that the winds would accelerate as noon approached on Wednesday. Hence, we decided to shoot for Fort Pierce and ride out the approaching wind storm at a marina. This proved to be a wise decision.
|Approaching Fort Pierce as viewed on are navigation screens|
Screens - Left: Chartplotter, Center: Night Vision, Right:Raday
By Friday morning the winds at the marina had diminished to around 10 knots from the north. Based on the forecast, we decided to run north on the ICW to Cape Canaveral and then at Canaveral turn hard right into the Canaveral Barge Canal which will take us via a lock to the Atlantic Ocean.
Winds were forecasted to be 10 knots out of the northeast with seas of 5 to 6 feet. This should produce favorable conditions for Guided Discovery as we run north around the cape. Conditions are predicted to slowly improve as we move north.
Bottom line. Taking a break for two days enabled us to avoid the high winds and heavy seas.
Written by Les.