Tale of Two Horns
27 February 2022
Lisa is back on board! Life is good!
We sailed from Miami to Great Harbor, Berries, Bahamas. Fortunately, there isn't much to write about. We left Miami in calm winds which required us to motor/sail. The route would take us across the Gulf Stream, north of Bimini, then across the Bahama Bank to the Berries. Total distance is 130 NM, easily within our average 150 miles/day.
Leaving at 10 in the morning assured we would arrive in the Berries just after dawn. The wind did pick up and we had great sailing for the middle half of the journey. Especially beautiful was the night sail under full moon. Our AIS (automated system showing other boat's position on our chart plotter screen) had quit working so it was comforting to have good visibility at night.
By dawn the wind had lessened. We motor/sailed into the anchorage outside Great Harbor Marina. We dinghied into the marina to clear customs. There was a line of other cruisers waiting to clear in since the weather was perfect for all to cross to the Bahamas from Florida. We received a short dressing down by the customs officer, “You have to bring your boat into the harbor to clear in.” I explained our deep draft made it dangerous for us to enter the harbor. After some stern looks, she agreed to clear us in. It helped that they were hurried. There was still a line of cruisers behind us and they had to move on to clear an airplane in at the small airstrip.
Three hundred dollar bills on her desk caused the paperwork to be stamped. Not a bribe, that's what it costs for a cruising permit in the Bahamas these days. And that is for only 90 days, a year permit is $500. Most countries just charge a nominal fee for paperwork, welcoming cruisers.
The people of the Bahamas are truly welcoming. Everyone meets us with a smile and wave. Lisa and I hiked about five miles from the Bullock's Harbor Village to the Atlantic beach side and back. We waved to every car that passed us. Our waves were returned and often accompanied with a short, happy “beep” of their horn.
What a contrast to the constant honking of horns, especially at busy intersections in Miami Beach.