From the Author
Whether this is your first time cruising the Intracoastal Waterway through Florida to the islands of the Bahamas and the Caribbean, or you're a salty old veteran enjoying the trip once again, this book will provide hints about what you need to know as you journey through the Sunshine State and prepare for your island crossing. No matter if you are coming down the East or the Gulf Coast, you have to come through the rarest state in the cruising world. With over 8,400 miles of shoreline, Florida provides a variety of natural beauty, wildlife, and opportunities. Over the years, many cruisers have come to Florida with all intentions of passing through on their way to paradise. Instead, they found that Florida waters fulfilled their cruising dreams and expectations and have never ventured beyond or returned to their northern roots.
Although there are numerous published guides, the information contained in this book will assist you in cruising Florida and in your preparations for cruising to the Islands. In addition, we want you to know about the boating laws, wildlife and what to expect when you pass through Florida and finally make the decision to cross to the islands.
Crossing the Gulf Stream requires homework, planning and seamanship. As beautiful as its waters are, it can also be treacherous and even deadly for the unprepared. If you follow our recommendations, your experience will be greater.
When you arrive in the islands, you'll be faced with situations that will have to be addressed as they happen. Your creativity, imagination and resourcefulness will be taxed periodically as you learn to acclimate. The day-to-day life you're used to won't exist. Communications, banking, shopping and community infrastructure are just a few issues that you'll learn to deal with.
It's conceivable that you'll look at your mate and ask, "Why are we returning to this?"
It will take a while to re-adjust. But right away you'll find yourself starting to plan your next voyage as soon as you can.
About the Author
Capt Clay Kelley and his first mate, Marybeth, have been cruising and living aboard their 42 ft Trawler Tanuki for five years. They have cruised the entire east coast of America from Maine to the Florida Keys, and the Islands of the Bahamas.
Clay is a third generation native Floridian and has lived throughout the state. His first career spanned 28 years with the U.S. Army, taking him around the world. Upon completion of his assignment at the Pentagon as the Chief Logistics Advisor to the Secretary of the Army, he retired in 1994 and began the "cruising" life. Clay's love of boating was developed early in life and grew as he sailed the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea from Japan to Korea, Taiwan and Okinawa. He now holds a 100 ton, Merchant Marine Masters license.
Marybeth is from Milwaukee, Wisconson and has experience on large yachts as delivery crew, as well as the valuable experience gained while cruising throughout Florida and the Islands. She has developed a tremendous respect and admiration for the sea and all that it has to offer, and is always ready for a new adventure.
Although Clay's first love was sailing, He and Marybeth have graduated to trawlers and spend their time cruising, delivering and working on other boats along the East Coast and in the Bahamas. They can usually be found cruising the Bahamas or the Keys during the winter and can be found along the East Coast and Florida during the summer months. They enjoy meeting fellow boaters and welcome your call on the VHF radio as they cruise.