Promise Ship's Log

Port: Watson Bayou Marina, Panama City, FL
18 August 2011 | PC
13 August 2011 | PC

Highbourne Cay to Spanish Wells

30 December 2016
On 12/27/2016 Promise got underway at 0644 from Highbourne Cay to Nassau. The winds were supposed to have dropped considerably, but did not drop throughout the day
and were around 18 knots with stronger gusts, which kicked up the seas with some swells being approx. 6 ft. With this said, it was a fast run of over 6.5 knots, which
got us to Nassau within 5 hrs. We came across the yellow bank instead of the white bank, which equates to having to steer around some of the coral heads, but this
was not a problem due to the fact they were very visible.

We were pleasantly suprised when we called Nausau Harbour Club on VHF channel 16 that they responded immediately and were waiting for us on the dock, and helped us to
tie up. However, we had read numerous good reports about this particular marina and they are well known for being accommodating. The owner, Peter, is Greek, and is
well thought of by cruisers and boaters.

First order of business was to tackle the ever growing pile of laundry. As usual the laudrymat is where you meet other cruisers. We met Mark and Robin, which have both
been in some form of sailing or boating business all of their lives. They are currently cruising on a 39 ft. Pearson, which has been totally refitted and is in
immaculate condition. The marina has a swimming pool, which is clean and quite refreshing. We were going to take a dip after completing our laundry but could only make
it in to above our knees due to the water being quite cool. However we were able to take a swim the next day when the sun had warmed the water.

We took a stroll the next day down to Potter's Cay for lunch and to buy produce. Potter's Cay is a series of approx. 16x16 shacks that all open to the back to the
water for delivery of fresh seafood. They all serve basically the same Bahamian fare of conch fritters, cracked conch, snapper, etc. They all try to get you to come
eat at their establishment as you pass. Once again, very pricy in comparison to what we are used to in the states. We also made a grocery run to Fresh Market, which
is now located directly across the street from the marina we were staying in. This used to be City Market. The Fresh Market here is just as well stocked as the
Fresh Markets stateside, but of course even pricier, if you can imagine.

We walked down to Ft. Montague, which was built in 1742. It guarded the eastern approach to Nassau harbour for many years against pirates and potentially invading
countries. We were able to tour the fort on the inside the last time we were here, but this time it is locked due to disrepair.

We stayed in Nassau a total of 2 nights and accomplished much in terms of cleaning the boat and other assorted chores that are difficult to complete underway.
We headed out to Spanish Wells on 12/29/2016 at 0700 and had a smooth ride. We were docked at Harbour Breeze at 1530. We intend to stay here a couple of weeks and
enjoy this area along with Eleuthra.

Dale and Christina
S/V Promise

Blackpoint to Highbourne Cay

30 December 2016
The next day we took the dingy over to the end of the island for some snorkeling on the reefs. The Atlantic rollers were coming in too strong, so we opted for smaller
reefs in more protected waters. Christina was snorkeling on one of the smaller reefs and saw numerous colorful fish and rays. She was turning around to see where
the large ray was located and saw a 9 ft. shark hovering over the reef. He was not agressive, but she opted for common sense and cut him a wide berth and slowly and
methodically returned to the dingy.

We took a dingy ride over to the marina for a few vegetables and ice and to drop off a bag of trash. It makes you very thankfull for our reasonably priced vegetables,
etc. in the U.S. To drop off one bag of trash was $5.00, a 10 lb. bag of ice was $6.00, and the total bill,We which also included 2 potatoes, a lb. of cheese, a lb.
of carrotts and a small head of lettuce was $30.00. You become very conservative with you meals and you notice you do not unnecessarily throw anything away. Dale
inquired as to whether we could walk around the island, since it it privatley owned, and we were informed it would be $25.00 per person for the day. We opted to
stay on the beach. As long as you are not above the high tide mark you can walk on the beach free of charge.

Since we are pyning for our pets that we left behind in Ga. we have made some new friends here in the Bahamas. We noticed that several small sharks were hanging
around Promise so we fed them some left over cornbread. They loved it. It is interesting to see small sharks up close and were totally amazed at how fast and agile
they are. Although we firmly believe that sharks for the most part get a bad rap, there is no way either one of us would have jumped into the water while these little
guys were feeding. We took some pics and included one on the blog.

We intend to head out to Nassau tomorrow morning, 12/27/2016 and stay in a marina for a couple of days to regroup, get laundry caught up, etc, and then head out for
Spanish Wells. Will keep you posted.

Fair Winds and Following Seas:
Dale and Christina
S/V Promise

Shroud Cay to to Blackpoint

23 December 2016
We got underway from Shroud at 07:40 on 12/16/16, because the storm that we were expecting had not really arrived. As we
got further from land, the seas blowing from the Exuma Sound onto the Bahama Bank really kicked up. Fortunately it was
only a 5 and 1/2 hour run to Big Major's Spot. As we approached we saw three mega yachts anchored, but due to their draft
we would be a mile closer into shore than they were. Two of the yachts hailed from British ports. We heard one of them
on the VHF going by the name of "Peppa Pig". We are thinking this is more than likely the same Peppa Pig children's
educational cartoon. Funny how much $ one can earn writing a sucessful children's TV cartoon. More than likely, at a
minimum, a 30 million $ mega yacht. We passed them and dropped the anchor in 8 ft. of crystal clear water near shore.

This is also close to Staniel Cay, which has many services for boaters, but is an approx. mile and a half dingy ride one
way, which is usually not a problem but is difficult in 25 knot winds. Promise however, is sitting in calm water and is
protected from high winds from the East. We did however, make the dingy ride to Staniel for a $6.00 ten pound bag of
ice and to drop trash at $6.00 a bag. Odd what becomes a priority and will take you half a day to accomplish when you
are travelling by slow sail boat. The ride was a little rough, and we did get wet, but we wanted to visit the Yacht club
again. It was in good shape, and as usual some construction was occurring.

This anchorage is full of pigs, literally. So we took a can of corn over to the beach to feed the famous Exuma pigs. The
pigs swim out to greet you begging for food. We fed them on the beach, with the biggest sow consuming the majority of it.
The restaurants bring over their scraps to the pigs by boat daily. There are two fresh water ponds nearby. We set up our
umbrella and chairs, and spent hours watching the tour boats bring over groups of people to feed and swim with the pigs.
These pigs belong to no one in particular, but generate a good amount of tourist income. They all look healthy and happy.

On Dec. 20th 2016 at 8:15 am we got underway for a short run south to Black Point, which is on Guana Cay. The reason for
the move is that we may be here for quite a while, even until after Christmas, and this anchorage provides for a calm
and short dingy ride to numerous services. The anchorage is well protected. When we arrived, we dingied over and picked
up some fresh vegetables and snacks. The town of Black Point is very well maintained. The people are all friendly and
glad you are there. This is a very good move, but we will miss the pigs..:)

Bimini to Shroud Cay

18 December 2016
We were underway from Bimini at 06:30 am 12//13/2016. There was pretty much a max exodus from Bimini to make the best
of the limited weather window to go further south. We travelled north along the northern coast of Bimini with water depths
of approx. 1000 ft, until we reached North Rock, and entered the Great Bahama Bank, which averages approx. 12 ft. of
water. The trip across the Bank is 74 miles, and we dropped anchor on the Eastern edge of the bank, along the tongue of
the Atlantic ocean, after dark. The water on the Bank, like most of the Bahamian waters, is very clear with great
visualization of marine life in the water and around the boat. We fished all day, but did not catch a thing. We heard
on VHF that a sailor caught a skipjack tuna, but they wisely released it due to concern over cigatera, which is found in
larger fish that consume reef fish. Cigatera is a neurotoxin, which can cause numerous complications, including paralysis.

The next morning at 6:15 am 12/14/2016, we passed through the NW channel, off of the Great Bahama Bank, onto the tongue
of the Atlantic ocean. Water depth changed from 12 ft. to bottomless within a few minutes.

Our next intended stop was West Bay, located off of the Island of New Providence. Nassau is the major city, and the
Capital of the Bahamas. Most people are familiar with Nassau, and will often tell you they do not like the Bahamas, but
this is usually due to them visiting only Nassau or Freeport, which is not a good representation of the Bahamas as a
whole.

We arrived at West Bay at 4:00 pm, after motoring all day due to the winds being directly on the nose. They were however
light winds and we averaged 5 knots. When we arrived, we immediatly jumped in for a swim. Water was very clear, but we
did not see much marine life while snorkeling. We were able to tune into an awesome radio station, relaxed for a while,
got really good showers and turned in early.

The next morning at 6:30 am we were underway to the Exuma chain of Islands, which runs North and South for over 100 miles
with most of the islands uninhabited. The Exumas is one of the main places that the English Loyalists fled to with their
slaves during the American Revolution. The poor soil of the Bahamas and the abolition of slavery in England made the
Exumas unsuitable for cash crops. The majority of the British returned to England and left the land to the slaves as
generational land, which means it cannot be sold, but must be handed down from generation to generation, which still
exists today.

We picked up a mooring ball at Shroud key at 4:15 pm. Shroud cay is a large island, but is one of the more desolate
locations in the Bahamas. We were surprised to see the 6 mooring balls placed there by the Bahamian Govt. We are
now approx. 105 miles from our destination of Georgetown, and once again, waiting on a weather window to safely
travel further south.

Bimini, Bahamas

12 December 2016
Bimini was made famous by Hemingway and rumrunning. To us it is famous for its beautiful waters, unique atmosphere and
friendly people. Promise is sitting in water so clear that she appears to be suspended in air. Even with the weather
being blustery with intermittent rain, we have gone to the beach several times, snorkeled and collected sea glass and
shells. We saw a variety of fish, but since there is no reef close to shore, it is nothing like we will see further south.
As usual, we saw a barracuda, which have a bad reputation and are very territorial. However, we have never experienced any
hostile behavior while swimming with them. They will and have attacked people if provoked. It is also not a good idea to
wear anything shiny, since they may mistake you for a fish.

When we first arrived we were approached with what we initialy thought was a deal, 12 fresh lobster tails for $45.00;
however, we were later offered 12 lobster tails for $25.00, which of course is a better deal. The first guy obviously
looks out for the new and uninitiated and you never see him again. Pretty sure the second price is the usual and
customary one.

On a sad note, the Earnest Hemingway Museum and Angler Bar, which we have enjoyed visiting in the past, has burned down.
There goes some real history up in smoke.

There are more Americans visiting Bimini since they now have a cruise ship coming here. Before it was just a few
Americans on private boats. Some Bahamians like it and are seeing a profit, but a lot of them do not like the increased
traffic and congestion. The infrastructure is not designed to handle it. Hopefully the increase in tourism will lead
to an improvement in the infracstructure and a better quality of drinking water for the good people of Bimini. As it
stands right now, the water that comes into their homes is sightly brackish, and is not suitable for drinking. There is
a water depot where they must go to purchase potabe water at $1.00 a gallon.

Every day a couple of very large bull sharks come into the marina and patrol for food. This is not a good time to work
on your boat below the water line or accidentally fall in. We had a fellow boater with two large dogs state that one of
his dogs fell in the water at the dock. Fortunatley the dog swam to another boat and got out of the water on the boat's
ladder. The sharks come in because they clean fish and throw the scraps into the water. This is prohibited in marinas
in the U.S because of that reason. Have to admit though it makes for some interesting entertainment. Pretty cool to be
able to look into clear water and see a shark cruising around your boat.

We have met some nice fellow cruisers here. We had a sundowner social at the dock one night, complete with guitar and
harmonica music and singing. A few that we have met include Benny and Lisa from New Hampshire, David and Jane from
Maine, Tinsley and Scott from Alabama, and Greg, a single-hander from Texas, who plays the guitar and tells jokes. There
are also quite a few of Canadians, some of which speak mainly French, but will engage you in an interesting conversation.
Interesting enough most of them are well-versed in American music, especially Delta blues.

The people of Bimini, as always, are very friendly and greet you with a salutation and a smile. Great gateway to the
Bahamas. We expect to be shoving off from the dock here in Bimini on Tuesday Dec. 13th, 2016 and will not have internet
service again until Georgetown.

Dale & Christina
S/V Promise

P.S Pic is of Christina at Bimini Beach with Atlantic ocean in background.

Marathon to Bimini

12 December 2016
We had a good weather window to go to Bimini, Bahamas on Dec 7th, 2016. The winds were forecast to be out of
the SW at 5-10 knots. We left Marathon on Dec. 6th at 6:30 am, NE along the Keys to Anchor at Rodriquez Key.
Most people with be more familiar with Key Largo, which is near Rodriquez. We arrived just at sundown and had a well
deserved chicken salad. We had not been able to cook earlier due to the seas being a little high. We intended to leave
Rodriquez Key at about 3:00 am, and with a little help from the Gulf Stream which flows 3-4 knots, arrive in Bimini before
Customs and Immigration closed. If we did not clear, we would not be allowed to leave the boat until the next day.

Promise did not get underway until 5:30 am on Dec. 7th, 2016. We had a bad thunderstorm that slowly moved SE along the
Keys throughout the early morning hours. A wise sailor does not pull up 40 ft. of metal chain attached to a metal anchor
in sea water while lightening is striking all around.

Approx. 5 miles off of the east coast of the Keys, we picked up the Gulf Stream. We noticed an increase in our speed and
had several minutes of 8.7 knots, which is unheard of in our boat. We averaged 6.8 knots, and were in Bimini in record
time. It was without a doubt the smoothest crossing to the Bahamas we have had. Winds were light, seas were relatively
calm, and the shipping traffic was light. We did see 3 or 4 container ships and a couple of oil tankers, but they passed
well to our stern. The color of the water in the Gulf Stream is such a deep blue it is diffult to describe. The depth
meter was flashing at 760.2.

Upon arriving to the channel into Bimini, we noticed that it is now well marked, which was quite a change from our
previous trip where we had to "shoot the range" by lining up the markers. We also noticed there was a rather large
cruise ship anchored out as well. There is also a relatively new casino on the north shore. We of course have mixed
feelings about the cruise ships. We understand Bimini wants the increase in tourism, but one of the things we liked
about Bimini was it's lack of commercialization. Hopefully they will be able to maintain some type of balance between
the two.

We arrived in Bimini at 4:45 pm and tied up to the fuel dock. As usual Bimini Blue Water Marina would not answer the VHF
to assign us a slip. Dale had cleared us through Customs and Immigration within 30 minutes, and we were able to lower our
Quarantine flag and raise our Bahamian Courtesy Flag.

It is good to be back in the Bahamas Mon..:) For the uninitiated, Mon is Man in Bahamian..:)

Dale & Christina
S/V Promise
Vessel Name: Promise
Hailing Port: Watson Bayou Marina, Panama City, FL
Home Page: http://sailingpromise.webs.com
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Promise's Photos -

Port: Watson Bayou Marina, Panama City, FL