To celebrate our big push across the Atlantic, we made a big batch of guacamole and some fresh limeade. We also cut the motor to give our ears a break and tried sailing. After two hours barely making two knots, we made the command decision to suck it up and motor the rest of the way (having a motor grinding away can really wear at you though, so it certainly was not our first choice). The only positive to motoring at that point was getting some sort of breeze because, FYI, it's warm in the Bahamas! When sailing properly, there is usually enough of a breeze to keep things pleasant, but trying to sail with no wind in full afternoon sun and three hours of sleep...let's just say our victory buzz wore off pretty quickly.
Fast forward several more hours and the two of us finally spot a little spit of land in the distance.*
Almost immediately after anchoring off Mangrove Cay we received a transmission from Brian's friend and former co-worker Don checking to see if we arrived safely. Unfortunately, we were just far away enough that we could receive his call, but he couldn't hear our response. After a couple of failed calls we turned our attention to our respective cans of vegetables for dinner and resolved to try again in the morning.
After the same futile attempts the next morning, a larger boat offered to relay a message, counting on his higher mast to get a signal to us. Success! And with that we headed off towards Don. Brian got to sail off his anchor for the first time that morning (much to his pleasure), but the winds starting waning again and we were forced to start the motor. A little ways into the morning, Luna** started cutting out a bit. Uh oh. So we tried sailing as Brian pulled the motor apart. After a bit of tinkering, Brian managed to get things working again. He thinks it was probably some water in the gas line which seemed to pass through on it's own. Now things were (and still are) running like a champ.
By mid-afternoon we reached Great Sale Cay and Don came over to greet us in person. After a visit to the beach to explore, the two of us went over to Don's boat ("Hermes") for some fresh snapper. It was a vast improvement over our cans of vegetables the night before.
|Don's Pearson 33 "Hermes"|
The next morning Don and Brian went over to the rocks just offshore to look for lobsters. About an hour later they returned with half a dozen crustaceans on which to sup that evening. With that eventful morning behind us, we set off for Crab Cay. We spent the night in a large bay which we had all to ourselves, and the next morning we started for Green Turtle Cay. Another front was to come through in the next few days, and White Bay in Green Turtle Cay was a safe spot to wait it out. Green Turtle is also home to one of the customs offices, so Brian and I took advantage of one of the days there to get ourselves checked in. During the three mile trek from town back to the dinghy, the clouds started rolling in. About half a mile from our destination someone with a golf cart took pity on us and drove us the rest of the way back. We arrived not a moment too soon; almost as soon as we took shelter under a porch the clouds opened up and it poured rain. I took advantage of the fresh water pouring off the roof and washed my hair as best I could. Brian decided he would rather be dirty than wet and cold. To each his own, I suppose.
Once things started dying down we got a pint of celebratory ice cream to share (for $9 I might add); boy was it good! Had it not been so expensive we could have easily had another one (calories are not a factor when you live on a boat).
So there you have it. After a week in the Bahamas we were finally legally in the country. Keep checking back to hear more about Green Turtle Cay and beyond.
*For those who don't know, the islands in the Bahamas are comprised of eroded coral and sand, so they are relatively flat; that means they don't show up on the horizon until you are almost on shore. This is excellent for those who wander around and plunk their anchor down whenever they see fit, but for those who actually want to know where they are, it's best to have some fancy charts or a gps handy.
**The proposed name for Brian's new motor. Since Jackson got him all the way to Jacksonville, we figured Luna will either get him to the moon or it will never die. Either outcome seems favorable at this point.