Bahamas Bound!

After waiting out Tropical Storm Elsa (which passed to the west of us, luckily), we departed our dock at 2:00 pm on Friday, July 9th. We cruised down the ICW to the Ft. Pierce inlet, and traveled south on the Atlantic to about Palm Beach. Neil tried his hand at offshore fishing, snagging a large harvest of sea grass, and one beautiful blackfin tuna! We hung a left at Palm Beach and proceeded to cross the Gulf Stream, which was unfortunately rather close to Florida (like 11 miles off shore…), causing our speed to slow. Overall, however, it was a pleasant trip across, with less traffic than anticipated, except when Neil had to hail a Chinese fishing vessel to determine how to cross paths, with a freighter traveling in the opposite direction a mile or so beyond the fishing boat – good times.

Departing our Vero Beach marina
Into the Atlantic from Ft Pierce Inlet
Kathleen at the helm
Fish on! Or seaweed??
Our first catch from the boat. Tuna!

The ocean got rolly about two hours from West End, but it settled down for the last few miles as we came into Old Bahamas Bay Marina the next morning around 9:30 am. It was a lovely day, the dock hands very helpful, and Kathleen was able to get us checked in with Immigration and Customs with no hassle (Click2Clear and Covid vaccines have made this a much simpler process). The only glitch we had encountered was in running the watermaker – we were getting a high salinity error, which is not good. We were able to top off our water tanks at the marina, and after checking possible problem points with no obvious resolution, Neil reached out to the technician we had contacted before, anticipating that we need a new membrane. We are hopeful that we can get a new one soon, but if not, we are luckily on the most beautiful water ever and living in bathing suits – so water needs are not as great, and can refill the tanks at marinas along the way.

Granuaile at slip in Old Bahama Bay Marina at West End, Abaco
Walking beach near marina at West End

We had dinner at the marina restaurant, which was lovely, and left early the next morning for Great Sale Cay, a 63 mile cruise. It was a pretty day on the water, with little traffic, and we arrived at the anchorage before 5pm, topping off the trip with our first jump in to the water here in the Bahamas. The water was soooo beautiful, teal blue and jump-in ready, providing our first sealife encounters – a very relaxed barracuda and our new favorite – stinger-less jellyfish! These pretty little creatures are gentle and as they don’t sting, really fun to swim with – quite the opposite of their cousins in the Chesapeake – it took Kathleen a minute to not scramble away when she first saw them. We can now enjoy their beauty and other-worldliness WITHOUT having a panic attack. The water is crystal clear and every shade of blue depending on depth and the bottom. We will definitely be spoiled for swimming in murky water in the future. The clouds rolled in and gave us an impressive display, with the worst of the storm just skirting by us. We enjoyed Jamaican blackened blackfin tuna for dinner, compliments of Neil’s fishing prowess on the way over from Florida! The night stars put on another spectacular show for free, and we had fun slapping the water to energize the biophosphorous life in the water. Their turquoise fluorescence is magical and so pretty.

Enjoying swim off the boat at Great Sale Cay anchorage
A beautiful day to cruise from West End to Great Sale Cay
The chef prepared blackened tuna for dinner. From sea to plate!
Threatening weather that passed to the west

We left the anchorage on the morning of July 12th at 7:30 to cruise to Fox Town anchorage, arriving just after noon. After some fun snorkeling, we had thought we’d go into town for dinner, as the restaurant is known for it’s amazing cracked conch. However, the weather had other plans, so we had cocktails on the “Lido Deck”, and a gourmet dinner of grilled canned-tuna and cheese sandwiches. We had a bit of a hiccup when the generator suddenly shut off, and Neil had some sweaty work diagnosing and fixing the problem – turned out to be a loose connection in the control circuit, took a while to find, in a very hot and sweaty engine room. The fun of boatlife never ceases… We had a stormy night with some high winds, but our anchor held.

Enjoying a cocktail while at anchor off Fox Town
Fox Town, Grand Bahama Island

Tomorrow the 13th we continue our Bahamas adventure and head to Allans-Pensacola Cay …

6 thoughts on “Bahamas Bound!

  1. Glad you made the passage safely into paradise! We will have to talk again soon, Julie and completed our 11 night sailing adventure in the BVI. Other than riding out a huge storm, 40 kt winds, 20+ waves and heavy rain going to Anegada all went well. Headed to check out SW Florida at the end of Aug for a possible new home so we can sail more often.

    Stay safe, look forward to catching up again soon!

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  2. Congrats on the passage! Just curious – isn’t it hurricane season from June through November? Does your insurance cover you in the Bahamas? Love that your out there and wondering what the plan was for the rest of the season? Cheers!!

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    1. Hi Ricardo. Yes our insurance covers us for the hurricane season while in Florida and the Bahamas. We plan to stay in the Bahamas into August if there are no tropical storms brewing and possibly heading our way. We will then head back to our Vero Beach, Florida marina which is located in a well regarded hurricane hole (hopefully not tested this season!).

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