Thursday, April 12, 2012

Greetings form the Bahamas, April 3, 2012

To those of you who wonder, will they ever cross the ocean? We did it!

Like March anywhere, it was blustery. There had been 30 consecutive days of 15-25 knot winds which can double in the Gulf Stream; this weather window was a welcome break. As always, Captain Rick picked the weather for a flawless crossing. We left Dinner Key Marina before sunrise, having sailed out of the Channel two days before and laid tracks on our GPS system. It was go or sit in Miami another week by Tuesday, April third, and we were more than ready to go. Below you’ll see our final glimpses of Miami at 6 am, the stilt houses with Coconut Grove in the background, and our sunrise that day.

Good bye Miami at daylight.

Things were a little foggy but all went well. By the time we hit the Gulf Stream we were doing 10 knots, above our 7.8 hull speed. Sadly, that ended by noon, the winds died to 5, then less than 5 knots, and we roasted in the sun, rocked back and forth (not my favorite part of the trip) and motored into West End at Old Bahama Bay Resort at 6:45 PM. That’s 13 hours, over our 4 PM estimate. The worst part of the trip: having alerted loved ones we were due at 4 PM but when we arrived late we had no phone or internet service to alert them that we were safe and sound, and ready to enjoy ourselves. We cleared customs and found dinner off of the boat to feel solid land for a while.

Old Bahama Bay

We spent a week at OBB in the company of an old acquaintance, Bob, of Azure Skies, and three new boats/three couples from Florida we really enjoyed. Good company and a great pool helped time pass as winds raged and “elephants” appeared in the Gulf Stream. A front with two storms of 45 knots kept us in the resort for the week, but as with any storm, winds clock around and conditions always improve.

Weather improved greatly on Sunday but we waited for Monday and the seas to die down to make way to Great Sale Cay. Loved it! Only six boats anchored for the night and winds were on the other side of the island so it was unbelievably quiet and the stars were absolutely amazing, (my next photography goal.) We didn’t bother to launch the dingy and explore, we just wanted to break the next leg of our trip into two.

Sunsets are free!

We set sale at sunrise but had to stall for light fog to lift. Destination: Spanish Cay, a private 3 mile island with a harbor, restaurant, pool and beach. Not as high end as it sounds, but all of these bits of “paradise” are still on island time (third world country.) Water today is by reverse osmosis at 25 cents a metered gallon, and wi-fi was an extra $10 a day! We motored on a glassy Sea of Abaco and Rick caught a fish, kind unknown, as it broke free just as he went to land it! We arrived at 1 PM, refueled and relaxed. Hurricane Irene was not kind to the Bahama Islands. Things are a work in progress here.
No complaints, we have had such smooth ocean sailing compared to our lumpy fall.