Our first crossing rewarded us with calm seas, beautiful sunrise and a land of scattered islands full of new adventures.
We waited for over a month for the right conditions to cross the Gulf Stream. At about 2 am we pulled up our anchor outside No Name Harbour in Key Biscayne, Florida and set our course for Bimini. The wind was light and the swell was accompanied by a pleasant rolling 4ft swell. It was our first night sail and the first crossing of this sort, so we were both excited and nervous at the same time.
Under the moonless night our boat gracefully cruised through the troughs and crests. It was a surreal feeling to see, just in the corner of the eye, a gentle wall of water build up higher than the boat but still somberly pass under and lift up our boat under the cover of darkeness. Despite some cruise ships and cargo traffic along the way, the crossing went pretty uneventful and we arrived to Bimini the following day at noon.
As we were navigating down the Bimini inlet to our marina slip, two eagle rays jumped out of the crystal clear water as a welcoming committee to this new watery playground. Exhausted and happy, we checked in with the customs, cleared the boat and called it a day.
With decent weather conditions, we proceeded to cross the Great Bahama Bank the next night and day. About 70 nautical miles from Bimini we ended up bashing nose first into the wind and swell for 16 hours until we reached Great Harbour Cay. We snuggled up in the lee of Bullock's Harbour to wait out the wind blow that lasted for almost a week.
The time went by quickly as we were settling into crusing life in the Bahamas. Between cooking tasty meals, doing a bit of cleaning and maintenance on the boat, exploring the small fishing village and playing at the beach, the week was over before we knew it.
Once the wind died down, we sailed down a chain of uninhabited islands and were rewarded with pristine beaches and anchorages. We tried our luck at fishing with a Hawaiian sling and also found an amazing blue hole on land that was fed from the ocean.
Many times we jumped of the boat for a quick swim to cool off. One time, we decided to take our snorkels with us. As Jeff jumped into the water first, he cheerfully called me into the water as there was a turtle near our boat. Excited, I jumped in the water and started looking for that turtle. A second later, Jeff pointed behind me. As I turned, I saw a 2.5 meter Carribbean Reef shark circling our boat just a few metres away. It circled around us a few times. I had enough excitement for the day, so I ordered a mantatory retreat to swim back to the safety of our boat.
I now write this blog as Jeff is working out some engine problems we started experiencing during our last trip. He is just finishing up bleeding the engine and replacing fuel filters, hoping that it will solve the issue. We anchored for a few days off Rose Island, just outside of Nassau, waiting for the winds to calm a bit. In a few days the weather will improve and we will be on our way to the revered cruising grounds fo the Exumas!
Alena, Jeff & Znakie Boy