02/11/2009, Spanish Cay
Yesterday, we were up and gone before sunrise. Another beautiful sailing day in the morning. After noon however, the winds and seas began to build on our nose. It wasn't too bad and we still managed to make Spanish Cay Marina by 4:00 in the afternoon. We're the only boats in the marina.
They opened the restaurant just for us. It was really cool! We had a shower and a couple of drinks in the hot tub before dinner of course, then crashed. Today we're going to stay here a second day and just explore the island and enjoy the facilities. The weather (wind) looks better for the trip to Green Turtle Cay tomorrow.
02/09/2009, Great Sale Cay
This morning I was awake to watch the sunrise and it was as pretty as the sunset last night. We had the anchors up early and I followed "Radical Jack" out of the anchorage and around the island. Jason was up last and followed me on "Veronica."
Today the winds were still out of the east but somewhat lighter. It was sunny and warm and the waters were fairly flat. We enjoyed a beautiful day and a great sail to Great Sale Cay, another uninhabited, but much larger, island.
I have another dolphin encounter to report. I know, I know but hey, I'm from Central Illinois so bear with me here! Now these dolphins were traveling in the opposite direction as I was. I first saw them about 300 yards away and they were coming toward me. They passed me and turned around and started swimming along side me and started to jump and play in my bow wave. This was a pod of about ten dolphins with two babies. They did this for about ten minutes and this time I have pictures to prove it!!
Now think about this..... They were obviously going somewhere with babies in tow. Spontaneously, they decide to alter course to play for a few minutes before continuing on their way. No wonder people (including me) are so fascinated by dolphins. I mean really, what other non-domesticated adult animals just suddenly decide it's play time, let alone decide to play and interact with people in the process. OK, I'll shut up about it...(for now)... but it was freakin' cool!!!
Anyway, we dropped the hook at Great Sale Cay...blah blah blah....beautiful anchorage....beautiful sunset....yadda yadda yadda. Full moon rising (I guess tonight is technically the real full moon) over the water while we gathered in Radical Jack's cockpit for cocktails. Plan is for an early start tomorrow to make it to Spanish Cay before dark. Here's to dolphins...Cheers!!
02/08/2009, umm..Mangrove Cay
Well, as I write this I am anchored behind Mangrove Cay under the most beautiful full moon you can imagine. Mangrove Cay is an uninhabited island miles and miles from anywhere so there is NO ambient light. If there were no moon it would be pitch black. However with the full moon on a cloudless night everything is illuminated in a pale blue.
This morning, Jason, a fellow single-hander and a former Marine (I think I would have known even if he hadn't told me), aboard "Veronica," and Pete and Heather, a great couple from Nova Scotia aboard "Radical Jack", (a boat Pete built by the way) and I, left West End. (I will be back there someday!)
We sailed back into the deep blue depths of the Atlantic and headed to "Memory Rock" and the entrance to "Little Bahama Bank." Coming in past "Memory Rock," it was really exhilarating watching the depth-sounder go from "infinity" to 100 feet, to 35 feet to 15 feet in a matter of minutes. The water went from deep blue to pale green in the same amount of time and very soon you could see the bottom.
We sailed for hours in 15 feet of crystal clear water with no land in sight in any direction. I've never seen anything like it! I kept walking up on the foredeck and looking over the side. I could see the shadow of the Norma Fay passing over the bottom. About 3 hours after we entered the bank, a pod of dolphins came along and were playing in my bow wake. It was amazing. I kept trying to get a good picture, but those buggers are fast....
We got to Mangrove Cay and anchored before sunset. We got to watch the beautiful sunset over the water and the full moon rising over the island at the same time. Jason, Pete and Heather dinghied over and joined me for "sundowners" before we all crashed. We couldn't stop marveling at how bright it was outside because of the moon.
Anyway, tomorrow we're headed for "Great Sale Cay," another uninhabited island where we plan to anchor and spend tomorrow night. I'm sure I'll start to miss civilization eventually....won't I? Whoops, the ice is melting in my coconut rum and pineapple juice, gotta run!
01/31/2009, Grand Bahama Island
Well... I feel like I'm settling into "Island Life" pretty well. On Sunday, we decided to just relax and take it easy. We spent the afternoon on the beach where Captain Bob and Jo Anne took out one of the complimentary Hobie Cats and did some more sailing. I took the opportunity to hold down one of the beach chairs and have some rum! We also hung out at the beach bar and heard a really good local band.
On Monday, we decided to take the public "bus" (window van) into Freeport. We then took a second "bus" to the Port Lucaya area where they have a casino and hotels and such. The locals on the bus were very friendly and talkative. After stocking up on Bahamian Rum and other essentials we headed back.
On the return trip, school had let out and there were a lot of school kids each wearing the uniform of their school. One of the things that I noticed about the Bahamians is that they all make it a point to greet each other as they get on the bus and say goodbye when they leave. One school girl, after exiting the bus, even made it a point to approach the open window where I was sitting to tell me goodbye.
The weather was great all week and we continue to avail ourselves of the amenities of the resort and marina. A cold front came through last night with the accompanying strong northerly winds.
Its only going to be in the upper sixties and lower seventies the next few days. (poor us) Anyway, until the winds relax a bit, I'm gonna stay put. Besides, they're going to have the Super Bowl on in the marina bar tomorrow!
01/25/2009, West End, Grand Bahama Island
As promised, my friend Captain Bob came through again. He arrived on Thursday and we finished provisioning the boat. Our friend Jo Anne had arrived earlier in the week. We began looking (and looking and looking and looking.....) at weather windows and ultimately decided that Friday night / Saturday morning looked like the best time for a crossing.
In the mean time, we met a Canadian couple on a Bennetau 36 that were also planning to cross. We got our heads together and decided to "buddy boat" accross.
We left at about 0300 and headed down the channel to the inlet. Once there we entered the Atlantic. Judging from the lights of other boats in the distance, we weren't the only ones who thought the weather looked right for a crossing. It was very dark as there was no moon, and we were able to see the green bioluminescent "sparks" in the water caused by our wake.
It was a fairly calm and relatively warm night. There was about a 2 foot swell on the ocean. This continued until we got to about the middle of the Gulf Stream where the waves built to about 4 feet. We watched a beautiful sunrise and Jo made breakfast.
About 8 miles from West End, our Canadian friends began experiencing engine problems which forced them to reduce speed. We turned to go back to them but they assured us they were fine. They were able to continue and made it into the marina not long after we did. Luckily it turns out that their engine was fine and that they had picked up a large sheet of black plastic with their prop shaft.
We got into the marina about 2:00 in the afternoon and tied up at the marina. I then completed the check-in work with Customs and Immigration and we were then able to hoist the Bahamian Courtesy Flag!
A big thanks to Captain Bob and Jo Anne for making the trip!
01/24/2009, West End, BAHAMAS!!
Well, I'm sitting in the cockpit of the Norma Fay at Old Bahama Bay Marina at West End in the Bahamas.....AND YOU"RE NOT!! (hee hee...sorry!)
We left at 0300 this morning and got here at 2:00 this afternoon. I promise I'll provide more details and pictures later but right now I'm tired and I need a beer and a shower. On second thought, screw the shower!
Here's a pic from the crossing of the sunrise on the Atlantic