by Michael Shipmann
Years of dreaming, reading and studying
and two weeks of preparation had
led to this morning.
With preparations complete and a captain to help guide me through the trip, at 5:15 in the morning Oriana cast off her lines from the Lauderdale Marine Center to begin her new life in the British Virgin Islands. This was a trip I had only dreamed about. I had become an avid armchair sailor voraciously reading magazines, blogs and books that relayed adventures in seamanship and travel to exotic and beautiful destinations. I had never experienced an offshore passage and was about to go offshore. In darkness we negotiated the Neu River waking up bridge tenders as we progressed toward the Atlantic Ocean. At 6:30 we had put Port Everglades on our stern on the way to Bimini 56 miles to the east.