A Green Flash!
07 February 2014 | Stella Maris Marina, Long Island, Bahamas
We were headed through the very shallow channel into the Stella Maris Marina yesterday at high tide when we heard someone call us on the VHF radio. It was a boat we have crossed paths with numerous times from North Carolina all the way to the Bahamas. He was right behind us in the channel and was headed in to the same marina to help a friend with his boat. Even though there was only about three inches of water under our keel we made it into the marina and had no trouble tying up at the dock.
When we were all secured and attached to the shore power – the main reason we were at a dock to begin with – we went over and met the friend who keeps his boat at the marina, they have a house on the island. He told us a bit about the marina and highly recommended the restaurant. We decided to join them there for happy hour. As it turns out the friend had two other couples on the island who had come from their homes in Nebraska to visit and he invited us to join them all for dinner and another Rake N Scrape at the Beach Bungalow, a restaurant on the island. We happily agreed and we are so glad we did. We had the nicest time. There were four couples and us, almost all of them Midwesterners, and they were so welcoming and wonderful to talk to. The night just flew.
The next morning the friend drove us to the resort that is relatively close by and we had a wonderful breakfast. We saw a little bit of the island but unfortunately we aren’t going to see any more of it this trip. The weather report says that the best time to go to our next destination, Cat Island, if we want to sail, is tomorrow. That put some pressure on us. Since the approach to the marina is so shallow it can only be done at high tide. The next two high tides were at 3:00pm today or 5:00am tomorrow. We were equalizing our batteries (a process that restores the capacity but requires being plugged into shore power). Our batteries would just barely be done at 3:00pm but we didn’t think we would be able to easily get away from the dock, by ourselves, in the dark, at 5:00am in the morning. So this afternoon it had to be. Bill was thinking maybe we could use the piling in the slip next to us to help us get out but then the dive boat came in and smashed into it, knocking it down. He just barely missed us. He was really moving – we were lucky!
The other day Bill saw someone wearing a T-shirt that said “Bahamas: No Stress, No Problems”. He thinks a better T-shirt would be “Cruising: Different Stress, Different Problems”. As an example, we were a bit nervous about leaving the marina this afternoon. We had to pull the boat away from the dock and negotiate the shallow channel – enough to worry about as it is. Then five minutes before it was time to go a manatee came over and was hanging right next to our boat. If he hadn’t left we couldn’t go without hitting him, and we had a narrow time window because of the tide. And there aren’t even supposed to be manatees in the Bahamas! They live in Florida!
We did manage to get out of the marina though and now we are anchored in the same place we anchored Wednesday night where we got that great sunset shot. Tonight we were given the gift of seeing a green flash! They occur when the conditions are just right, that is you have a flat horizon, as in you can only see water where the sun is setting, and it has to be very clear. As the last of the sun sets over the water you see the green flash of light out of the water. You can see it in the picture above. The left side is the sun just before it completely set and the right side shows the green flash. We will try and get a better picture in the future. We’ve seen a couple before but that was from the stern of a cruise ship. We are hoping to see more, especially when we are making passages on the ocean.