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