Wanderbird was launched in 2004 and was built to travel the world. For some time she sat dormant, mired in various legal issues and controversy. Ships, especially those with the customization like she has, don’t like to sit idle.
The previous captain had kept her well, though their missions was more sedate than ideal. When we moved her south it was a test of her resolve in some way. The boat began to show signs of her age, first with an autopilot failure, a string of other minor issues and then a burst ice maker hose that drained 1,700 gallons of water into the river.
Thankfully, her new Captain is a natural engineer, perhaps to his chagrin. As we provision and prepare to head to the Bahamas on Friday he’s replaced the galley faucet with an updated, more suitable Koehler unit, re-engineered the ice maker cabinet for better air flow, remounted the other ice maker and many other small projects.
The propane tanks required refilling, having not been touched in five years, but we expect to use more volume than the previous owners who only employed the French ring on the Wolf range once, to warm some plates. Having tested the grill with friends on Sunday and confirmed that our documentation is sufficiently in order, we’ll be off on Friday for our first time in the Bahamas.
Barrington, Rhode Island to Fort Lauderdale :: the Delivery
We set out from Barrington on Friday, December 1st as a cold front made it’s way to the region. We’d had a couple days of beautiful, sunny weather but knew it couldn’t last. New England in fall is rarely this forgiving.
Just before dawn we headed down the river and into Long Island Sound, cruising through the night in the wide open waters. At dawn we could see the New York City skyline peering through the fog to the south as we turned West long enough to fuel up in Norwalk, Connecticut.
By mid-day we were cruising past the city and saw over an hours delay just before the Manhattan bridge while the president’s helicopter was standing by along the river. Eventually it and two Osprey VTOL aircraft departed and we were able to see Lady Liberty at sunset.
Another over-nighter and full day brought us to Norfolk, Virginia – a military town where it seemed half the Navy fleet was docked. The Lincoln, Truman and George Washington were three of the carriers I recall passing on our way up the river. We found space at a transient dock and departed the next morning up the IntraCoastal Waterway (ICW).
Through a lock that lowered us barely a few feet into the channel, we continued to Coinjock Marina where we chatted with the lovely owners of the Nordhavn Emmanou. We’ve been following their progress to Florida on the Marine Traffic app ever since.
Another day cruising the ICW put us on the Neuse River where we found a calm anchorage spot for the evening and the next morning, after a quick flight on the DJI Mavic Drone, progressed through another channel to Beaufort, North Carolina. We spent the day provisioning and running errands and departed early back to the Atlantic for a run down to Charleston, SC.
Mike, the previous captain of Wanderbird has been along for the ride and show us the boat and needed to fly back for a wedding, so we docked at Patriot’s Point and explored Charlotte for a couple days despite what everyone says was unusually cold weather. Being on the end tie has it’s disadvantages when the wind kicks up, but was nice when the holiday boat parade went by and we were able to watch with the Aqua Hot furnace running!
As I write this, Wednesday, Dec 13, having waited an extra day for the winds to calm; we’re now on a 50 – 60 hour run to Fort Lauderdale, where we are lucky to have finally found a transient slip on the New River.