We Finally Made It
14 December 2022
The weather was promising for a good crossing on Sunday so we were up at 3:15 a.m. to get a good jump on the day. It was a little spooky leaving a well lit anchorage and motoring out the inlet into a dark ocean. As we slowly eased our way out the well marked channel the passage was made even eerier by the sight of a 40' sailboat washed up on the beach. As often happens the forecast isn't always correct, instead of 5 to 10 knots from the north the winds were 15 to 19 knots from the north right against the Gulf Stream. Conventional wisdom says a north wind much over 10 knots makes a Gulf Stream crossing very uncomfortable so we elected to resort to plan B which was to run south down the coast for a few hours until the winds lightened. After our experience with the Motion Ease oil that we had tried earlier we were a little gun shy and didn't want a repeat performance of our trip to Jacksonville. We enjoyed a leisurely motor sail for a few hours and as the wind dropped to under 10 knots and the seas abated a little we made a hard left and struck off for the Bahamas.
We had returned to our usual prep for ocean travel, we each wore pressure wrist bands, Bev took one precautionary Gravel and we enjoyed a great crossing, motor sailing at 7.5 knots in 3 to 4 foot waves arriving at Great Issac light just before sunset. We pushed on until 8:30 before stopping for the night and a well deserved dinner. As usual we moved about a half mile off the GPS track and dropped the hook under a starlight sky. It was still 45 miles to Great Harbour where we had to check in with customs, so once again, up at 3, make coffee and go. This was our first time checking in here and it won't be our last. The marina provides free docking for a couple of hours, customs and imaginations come to the marina to clear boats in and everyone is super friendly. Bev was heading out to walk to BTC for a phone chip when one of the staff loaned her a bike.
Strong south winds were predicted to hit the Bahamas by Wednesday so we had to figure out what to do. We decided to spend the rest of Monday at Great Harbour, relaxing and catching up on some well deserved sleep. It was decided the best place for south wind protection was somewhere along the north side of New Providence Island. So, once again, up at 3, coffee and go as we had almost 70 miles to cover before 4 p.m. We were a little tentative leaving as there were a few isolated thunderstorms around but our new radar helped us determine that our route was clear. We had to motor for the first hour and a half around Great Stirrup until the wind came up and we set our course for New Providence. As the sun rose on a relatively calm ocean we enjoyed probably our best blue water sail, 10-15 knots of wind with 2 foot waves and brilliant sunshine. It truly was an epic day as we skirted along the Berry Islands in ideal conditions.
We had been in contact with friends from Oka who have been sailing here for 20years and have a great knowledge of the area. We caught up to them along the way and after exchanging ideas decided to anchor in Nassau Harbour. It certainly isn't a favorite spot of ours but it does offer the best wind protection we're looking for. So, here we are, probably until Friday morning when hopefully we can continue to the Exumas. In the meantime there's lots to see in a commercial port, the cruise ship dock is literally 200 yards from us and we are constantly buzzed by the excursion boats all day. But, hey we're being entertained, The Atlantis Hotel is having a beach dinner party and their music is great and we just witnessed a barge hammer the end of a wharf. We are easily entertained.
Today's picture is the sunrise Tuesday morning off the Berry Islands