Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Crossing to the Bahamas

Monday, February 8
We had quite a day!  After waiting 10 days for the "weather window", we got it.  We had been warned not to cross the Gulf Stream if the wind had any northern component in it, so we waited and waited.  The forecast for Monday had a slight north but with very light winds so we jumped.  We had lunch the day before with two other couples waiting like us so we all planned to get up at 4 a.m. for the Endeavor shuttle launch, check the weather, communicate by radio and leave together.  It was cold when we got up but we sat on the deck and watched the shuttle launch.  It was amazing!  We have seen several launches but sitting on our boat, one hundred miles away watching this one was very special.  We could see the orange glow lift off and then saw the boosters separate.  We watched the shuttle for a while - it looked like a large moving star.

Then we leapt into action.  Back and forth on the radio with our buddy boats, coffee made, weather checked, sail cover off and sail readied, things stowed.  Anchor up at 5:30 and we drifted in behind Kolibrie from Michigan and Azaya from Alaska.  Out the channel, through the Lake Worth Inlet and out into the dark ocean.

Leaving cold Lake Worth
Leaving cold Lake Worth

We raised the main in the dark to help stability.  We sailed towards the sun rising to meet us at  6:30.  A big beautiful red ball.

Sunrise over the Bahamas
Sunrise over the Bahamas

It was pretty rolly for a while but very little wind.  The trip is 54 miles across.  The Stream is about 10 miles off the coast of Florida and is 20 or so miles across.  We really didn't feel much effect from it.  Water temperature went up 3 degrees and the changing colours were incredible but we didn't adjust our course for the current.  The rolling lessened (thankfully for Pam’s tummy) about 1/2 way across.

Flying the Maple Leaf
Flying the Maple Leaf

Kolibrie and Azaya were within our sights the whole way and we communicated with Equus , from North Carolina by radio - they were about an hour ahead.  It was nice to see those other masts out there!  Every now and then we would get a call from one of them with a "dolphin alert" or "did you see those flying fish" or from Equus "I just landed a 27 inch mahi".  Nice to have friends out there.  We dragged a line too but didn't have a bite.  Sometimes we were close enough to take photos of each other.  Saw a lot of Portuguese Man of War.  We tried to get a pic but they are little and we whizzed by them.  Occasionally with the right light we could see their long red tentacles below them, hunting for prey.  We saw flying fish and watched a dolphin bow riding with Kolibrie.

Land ho about 3 pm.  The depth sounder picked up the bottom and the water became that aqua blue colour that we associate with the Bahamas.  Thirty feet deep and we could see the bottom. The four of us cruised into West End, a small marina with Customs and Immigration on the tip of Grand Bahama Island.  We kept the dockhand busy as we arrived one after the other.  High fives and big smiles!!  It was cool.  Cleared customs, cleaned up a bit and then went to happy hour and a cracked conch dinner at the bar on shore.  We relived the entire trip with our new friends and travelling companions.  We called our old Bahamian friend, Burlington Saunders and will try and meet up with him after travelling to Lucaya near the town of Freeport, where he lives, about 20 miles away but the weather may not cooperate.  We aren't sure.

This is a quiet little spot and we hadn't planned to stay here but may have an extra day.  No problem, mon, we on island time.  Anyway .... we have made and survived "The Crossing" and are ready for the next adventure.  We are about 125 miles from Nassau and want to be there when the Inmans arrive on the 18th.  That's the plan.

It is 8 pm, we are beat and ready for bed.  But we are in the Bahamas!!!

Bahama beaches!!!
Bahama beaches!!!

12 comments:

  1. Youza! !! Wilf asked if you found his hat, he lost it on his cruise. Life just got a whole lot better, Great sailing and another fun blog for us. thks. mum

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hip, hip, hooray - you've made it - Now just enjoy the good life and your dream.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations! Hope you have a wonderful time there.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Glen & Pam

    Quite a journey, glad that you made the crossing and are finally enjoying the warm weather.
    Rogie, we missed you at the Super Bowl Game / Party. All the old guys survived without injury.

    Olympic excitement is heating up and Angela and I are going down to see the torch relay in WV tomorrow night.

    Believe it or not it is warmer here today than Barcelona. Tourists are wondering what happened to winter!

    Thinking of you both and enjoying your blog.

    Randy & Angela

    ReplyDelete
  5. We'll watch for it. What colour is it?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congratulations you did it in style! Hope you haven't forgotten about work completely??!! What are you using for internet hook up? This is fantastic for us to be able to feel like we are part of the adventure!!

    Envious in Chilliwack,
    Dale

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hoorah! Cheers to Capt'n Chaos and First Matey!! How exciting - you are on your way and must feel like truly accomplished sailors........Don especially liked the look of the Bahaman beach.........ENJOY! Pat and Don

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yaaaaaayyyy, you made it! We just got home last night from our cruise, so am just now catching up on all your posts since we left. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!
    Love from Donna

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey Glen and Pam, Wow - I'm I envious - living the life with white sand and blue ocean. Glad to hear the crossing was smooth - hope the weather heats up - thinking of ya' ENJOY!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Char of "Char's Web & Mike of the "Fishing Machine"February 10, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    How VERY wonderful!!! and to think that we will be joining you for a trip to the Exumas....waterways of the rich and famous and Earnest Hemmingway (have been doing some reading). That was a gutsy crossing!!!! ....and rolling seas are not that kind to ones constitution. Have loaded up on Gravol and a Gravol Patch!
    We are cramming some pre-Olympic free stuff over the next few days before we come to see you! Very exciting....love us!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I can only imagine what the crossing must have felt like...the smile will take quite a while to wear off...congrats....Hopefully we will see you over there some time...
    All our Best
    Al/Maria

    ReplyDelete
  12. Congrats, I feel sea sick all ready. But it looks like fun.
    Stu & Lois

    ReplyDelete