Passage to Paradise
26 March 2012 | West End, Bahamas
Merry and Wiley - Sunny, 80+, Light winds from the Northeast -
Opening a bottle of bubbly to celebrate traveling for 8 months at 5mph and perhaps 2,000 miles - finally arriving in the Bahamas was a dream come true! We made it to the Bahamas - Woo Hoo!
The passage took us about 12 hours. We left at 2AM on a moonless night and arrived shortly after 2PM. The night passage out of the inlet was exciting and a bit nerve wracking for the two of us because it took us a while to get our night bearings - looking for the green(starboard) and red (port) lights to the channel and avoiding other boats.
Once off proceeding down the channel we encountered a couple of power boats deciding to have a chat in the middle of the channel at 2 in the morning! They moved aside (thankfully!) and we were off /out of the channel.
It is a great inlet to leave from as it is well marked and a short distance from the anchorage near Peanut Island where we spent the night. Prior to our exit from Lake Worth we had traveled from Old Port Cove Marina to East of Peanut Island. On our way we almost hit a man in a small Zodiac with a “dead” outboard. We could not see him because of Dimples on our foredeck. We heard him shout - and altered course at the last second. We missed him by maybe 3 feet. When we set our anchor near Peanut Island we were in the company of 13 other boats waiting for the crossing. Moonsplash, Ubuntu, Celebration, Indulgence, Southern Journey, and Folly were some of the boat names we jotted down, so that “just in case” we needed help we would have some names to call out to.
We were out onto the Atlantic Ocean and near the inlet and for a short distance the waves were around 4 -6 feet. It settled down as we continued East. The stars became more and more brilliant as we loss the ambient light from Lake Worth. It was absolutely gorgeous. It took us a little while to set our course and have Fernando (our self steering) take over for us. We studied every light in the distance with our binoculars to understand what type of vessel it was and if it was coming toward us, crossing our path, or traveling ahead of us. The waves settled down but unfortunately the wind was "on our nose" so we were not able to sail or motor sail. We relied on our "iron Genny" (Yanmar Engine) to get us across. During the early morning hours it start to rain and the wind picked up a bit. The sad part was we lost our view of the stars that were overhead. However, it was shortly after the light rain that we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise. The sky changed from the early morning warning of daylight coming to brilliant orange.
We were thrilled by the color of the waters that ran from indigo, to royal blue, to aquamarine, and finally teal blue. At points during the crossing we were in waters that were over 2,400 feet deep (deep indigo) and as we entered the Bank the waters changed to these multiple beautiful hues. We were greeted on the radio by a young woman Laquel, her Bahamian accent was a delight as we listened for directions to our slip. Jamal, the dockhand, greeted us at our slip and brought the necessary paperwork to clear customs. We had run our yellow Q flag (quarantine flag) up about 3 miles out from the islands.
Most of our paperwork had been completed since Mark, a dock master at Old Point Cove Marina, had provided these in advance to our crossing. We finished up the final paperwork and Wiley went ashore to customs. He greeted the officer with an announcement, "We have come all the way from Chicago and ask permission to enter your beautiful country." A smiling Bahamian responded back with a laugh, "Permission granted!” Once the paper work was complete we raised the Bahamian flag and then we both went ashore to complete the paperwork for our stay at the marina. The Old Bahama Bay Marina is not inexpensive (about $2.00 a foot, $15.00 for all the water we want, and an electrical fee). However, we have access to all that is offered for those who stay at the resort - health club, large swimming pool with a waterfall, a Tiki bar (that serves Yellow Birds our favorite rum drink!) and of course showers. As we look out from where we are staying we see the ocean in all of its hues, the beach, and swaying palm trees. It truly is paradise and we are eager to go snorkeling. We have arrived!