Saturday, December 4, 2010

Relaxing in Freeport

We had a good crossing from Lake Worth to West End, Bahamas.  Woohoo!  High fives all around!  We thought we would take Al and Maria to the Abacos so we decided we would head to Memory Rock and over.  Then we changed our minds and decided to head south to Lucaya.  We were headed for Lucaya when we had second thoughts about the Abacos so we decided to hedge our bets and came to West End (in the middle) so we could do either.

Sunrise over the Gulf Stream
We set alarms for 3 a.m. but we were all awake before that in anticipation of our Gulf Stream crossing.  Al made 2 pots of coffee, Glen loaded the weather on the computer while Maria and Pam puttered to ready the boat.  We raised the anchor and raised the main sail in the dark and motored out of the Lake Worth Inlet.  We motor sailed most of the 54 miles to the Bahamas.  We wanted to charge the batteries and thought we could sail easier once the sun came up.  The wind was fairly light and the seas were rolly.  Beautiful stars and a bright quarter moon gave us some light.


We saw very few boats – a few out fishing and the occasional freighter but there was very little traffic.  We had radio contact with three other boats making the crossing.  We chatted with them and listened in on their conversations.  One boat was crossing for the 42nd time so we thought we might learn a few things from them.  The sun rose out of the clouds and we could see the changing blue colours of the Gulf Stream. We saw dolphins, flying fish but no Portuguese Man 'o Wars this year.  Towards the end of the trip, when the wind was coming out of the west it was slightly uncomfortable coming off the quarter with sloppy seas.  Luckily no one had to go below to prepare food as Maria had made a batch of delicious sandwiches the night before.   We arrived at 1:30 pm and within one hour the wind was coming from the north and was howling.  So, the forecasts were dead on.  We were glad to be in the shelter of a little harbour and tied to a dock.

Hard at work!

Boaters had been reporting immigration difficulties, especially for Canadians but we had absolutely no problem checking in.  No 1 or 3 month restrictions like some people are reporting.  No problem getting a 6 month permit.  Turns out we didn’t need to have made the run to Miami in a rental car to get a travel visa for the Bahamas but at least we had all the bases covered.

We tied up at the Old Bahama Bay Marina at West End and took a walk along a beautiful sandy beach near the marina.  It was windy and the seas looked pretty rough.

Windy West End, Grand Bahamas

Al bought take-out conch salad for us at the marina restaurant ($$$) and we retired back to the boat for salad appetizer and steaks for dinner.  Champagne and an early night to bed!

Up the Bell Channel to the Grand Bahama Yacht Club
On Thursday, we brought the boat around from West End to Lucaya on the south of the island - about a 20 mile trip.  We had a fabulous sail, mostly around 7 knots, and Captain Chaos managed to get the boat to the dock with no major damage!

We are slightly embarrassed to admit that we are going to indulge ourselves.  We have about 2 weeks before we want to be in Nassau to pick up Brad.  With our Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club membership we get a smokin’ deal at a posh resort here in Freeport – only about $200 to tie up with all the amenities for a week.  It will be great to have a week to visit with good friends who live here in Freeport, putter on the boat and read a few books.
Up the mast...

Docked at Grand Bahama Yacht Club


... to retrieve a broken radar reflector

Maria and Al left early Saturday morning on a flight to Nassau.  They fly from Nassau to Toronto in the afternoon.  It was great to be able to share the Bahamas and our sailing adventures with them.  Now Al is looking to buy a sailboat down here.  Sorry, Maria!

Our plan is to stay here til Thursday and then, weather permitting, sail to the Berry Islands.

9 comments:

  1. Wah Hoo ! ! Fun for all of us readers. you are truly amazing and we are happy to be 'on board with you'.

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  2. Sounds wonderful Glen, here's to another great few months!!

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  3. Even though we have you on video chat nearly every day, I love reading your posts and wish they were longer! I'm so excited for Brad to come down and Carrie too. I'm even more excited for when Jackson and I make the trip in January!!

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  4. Glad to see someone has made the crossing from here. We are looking at crossing next weekend, hopefully the wind changes direction by then. Jon and Arline

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  5. It was great to hear the crossing was successful but I am most impressed by the trip up the mast.

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  6. Heights are not my favorite thing. I think I left dents in the mast holding on for dear life.

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  7. Looks like we may see you in the Berry's after all. Next Thursday is looking good, so we are going to do the same route pretty much as you did and head for the Berry's unless weather changes. We need to look out for the pups........

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  8. YAHOO, it is great to read the stories and to follow along while it is 19 degrees up here in the cold northeast! Enjoy the warm weather.
    Hayden

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  9. Once again, thank you for your hospitality. We had a great time and fortunately or otherwise, I can't keep my mind off the idea of following in your footsteps, if not following your boat. (hehe :-) We left the Bahamas to end up in a snow storm in Toronto. Harsh reality. May you always have favourable winds! Al and Maria

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