Our adventure to the Bahamas had a rocky start, several delays for various reasons held us captive. I felt like Neptune might have been trying to tell us something. Or maybe it was Salacia, his naughty wife, upset that we had sold her namesake.
Well cast off we did and we had barely anchored our first night south of Stuart when a squall arrived. Lightning aplenty with gusts to 60 knots and then quarter size hail! Really! In Florida in 80 degree weather, who would have guessed. Our anchor held firm and fortunately both our bimini and solar panels survived the onslaught. We thought maybe that was just a test to see if we were worthy to become cruisers once again.
The next night we anchored at little Lake Worth for a short nights sleep. Before 5 AM we were navigating the channel to the inlet and watched the sun rise on our way to West End, Great Bahama Island. Two foot seas gave us a bit of a chop but they were on the stern and only DeeO'gee felt a bit out of sorts. It was a very easy check in process, they just took our forms and $150 and told us to enjoy.
Keeping in line with our slow moving spirit we anchored a few nights on the Little Bahama Bank preferring to only travel a few hours a day. Picture this: Anchored in 8 feet of clear water off a small uninhabited island with no other boat as far as the eye can see, sipping an adult beverage and petting the best dog on earth. Jeleous? All kidding aside, we all have our own version of paradise. For some paradise is a lovely marina with gourmet restaurants, for others a popular harbor with tiki hut beach bars, and for some it is a deserted stretch of white sand leading out to crystal aquamarine waters. And everyone's paradise will always change based on circumstances! Having our RV parked next to any one of the phenomenal highlights of our National Park system is also paradise. When we can live our own version of paradise, well, that is living the dream!
After receiving reports of oncoming weather, we decided it was time to renter civilization at Green Turtle Cay. The two protected anchorages have mooring balls and marinas that make anchoring difficult so we spent a windy week on a ball with easy access to shore. Pleasant walks around this quaint island showcased it's friendly residents, clean streets and amazingly polite children. The annual Heritage Festival took place then, honoring the Loyalists who left the New World during the American Revolution to stay loyal to the King and all of their mother land. Lobster was available at many of the food stands along with other local specialties complete with arts and entertainment.
With only one month planned in the Bahamas, and less than ideal long range weather forecasts, we decided not to go farther on down to popular island and instead find some quiet paradises. Weather was expected to be mild for 4 or 5 days, and when you get a window you need to move as you never know when the next one will be. No name has pigs on the beach that beg as tourists approach, Manjack stingrays and small sharks will follow you around in shallow water, Allen's Cay has famous signing trees that cruisers hang miscellaneous items on that display their boat's name. We never anchored in over 8 feet of water and could clearly see our anchor and chain from the boat at each stop.
Our short lived mild weather had us running for cover way to soon and at this point Steve was ready to head back to Florida. I remembered hearing about a marina on Grand Bahamas Island that was amazingly affordable so we decided to transit the Lacayan Waterway to the south side of the island. Several weeks at a dock with free shuttle service, wifi and activities would be our paradise during this time of high winds and squalls. Ocean Reef Resort and Marina had several other boaters when we arrived, even a few Loopers. DeeO'gee loved being able get off the boat often and had some other dogs to play with. He was even allowed on the pool deck so he could join us for our daily swims. Before long all the boaters and staff were calling him by name.
We departed a week ahead of schedule to returnto Florida and to the dentist in Stuart that had not properly cemented my new crown. Steve and I both had dental work done before leaving Stuart and neither of us had very good luck with it. Oh well, since we are back in Stuart for a few days we will run errands and see old and new friends.
Our trip back across the Gulf Stream was amazingly calm but we entered Lake Worth Inlet on a Saturday afternoon to a welcoming committee of hundreds of party boats kicking up wakes or anchored along every sandy shore.