On Thursday morning we picked up or anchor in Ft Lauderdale and headed out into the Gulf Stream. The all important weather forecast calling for winds that would be convenient to sailing were forecast to be there so out we went. The forecast from Chris Parker called for SE/S winds at about 15kts that would be clocking around to the SW and ultimately to the North that evening and freshening to 20kts, ideal conditions for crossing the banks and running down to Nassau. So, we left with fingers crossed.
The crossing went fine except that it was a bit rough with a wind driven chop from the South in the stream and as we were sailing on a close reach, we were romping up an over each wave as it came into our starboard quarter forward of the beam. We made good time and entered the banks in the early afternoon. For a while we motor-sailed into a light wind on the banks but finally, after dark, the wind shifted abruptly to the north, so we could sail again, following a semi-dramatic squall as the forecasted cold front passed.
Around 02:00 on Friday we went through a particularly tricky cut, Northwest Passage, that wasn’t marked by any navigation aids (It is the Bahamas of course) and again into deep water again to Nassau. I have to say that going through a narrow spot that’s only about 1000′ wide, surrounded by “dangerous rocks” on both sides of the cut all the while in the pitch dark with no visibility beyond what I can see on the plotter. There aren’t even any bouys to see when it’s light. The charts call for marks but we were told that one was hit by a freighter a few years ago and has never been replaced. It’s just so different in the Bahamas after coming from the US, where every buoy change is announced by the Coast Guard and you’d never find a major mark ignored for years at a time.
While the trip was a bit rougher than Brenda would have liked and she certainly wasn’t too enthusiastic about her first overnight passage, it all worked out just fine. To be on the boat overnight the first time is disconcerting to be sure and I can still recall how it felt the first time I was out overnight many years ago. Overall, we made the nearly 170 mile trip in good time and were able to sail about two thirds of the way. Best of all, after year of planning and dreaming, we are here and it is great.
Today the sun rose and streamed through puffy thunderheads to our east. It was just magnificent. You will just have to trust me on that given the whole no picture thing and all. Brenda is now sitting up in the cockpit in her jammies and enjoying a cup of latte that I made for her. The picture is completed as she is knitting away on her current project. Not bad to be outside looking at clear water on a sunny day on January 19th. Yes?
Today we plan on making a short run with friends over to a nearby island where we are told the snorkeling is terrific and the sandy beaches made of powder soft sand.
No more Bahamas, here we come, now it’s Bahamas, WE’RE HERE!!!