Thursday, February 9, 2017

Bimini or Bust

The mooring field was reassuringly calm.  An almost full moon shone orange in an inky black sky scattered with stars. At 3 a.m., we turned on the engine, slipped the lines from the mooring ball, and turned into the channel.

   I was extremely apprehensive about the propeller shaft. Bill had fixed it only the day before (a more complicated fix than we originally thought); it had been tested but, not to the extent that we were about to push it. As we made our way further out into the channel, the calm weather abated my fears but, only slightly.

  It was an hour-long ride out to the open ocean.  During that time, I checked the shaft and the engine frequently.  Each check showed smooth running parts and no leaks . . . the knot in my stomach was beginning to unwind.

  Once out into the Gulf Stream, the weather proved to be a bit too calm; great for crossing but, enough wind to sail.  We had to motor sail.  That knot was starting to grow again.  I was expecting to be able to let out the sails and give the engine some rest.  Now the engine would have to stay on with the sails assisting.

Furry Sailors
   As the glow of the moon was slowly replaced by a beautiful pastel-colored sunrise, that knot in my stomach was again starting to subside.  The morning proved to be the tonic that my nerves were so desperately needing.  Easing-going rollers, plenty of sun, and enough wind (paired with the engine) to reach an average of 6 knots . . . we were going to make it.  No unusual noises from the engine, a smooth turning propeller shaft, no leaks. . . we were going to make it . . .


Quarantine Flag
   About 10 hours from pushing the ignition switch, Bill and I turned in the the channel toward Bimini; half an hour later we were tied up in the marina preparing our paperwork  for customs and immigration. Bill soon left with paperwork in tow (only the captain is allowed to leave a vessel until everyone, including the boat, is legal).  I tidied up the cockpit and the salon, arranging and cleaning things as I went, all the while thanking God for a safe crossing . . . and the release of my stomach muscles . . .

This one's for you CJ, Courtesy flag #1

   When Bill returned with the documentation, we pulled down the 'Q" flag (to be flown upon entering a country) and replaced it with a Bahamian Courtesy Flag (showing that we are cleared into the country).  This is the first of many flags we hope to fly.

   Understandably, we went to bed right after supper; 3 a.m. is not my preferred time to start the day . .  .  The next day (today) we slept in, ate a good breakfast, and then set out to explore the island. Most of this time was on the beach. of course, enjoying the pristine blue waters of the Bahamas again.  We treated ourselves to lunch at one of the other marinas and even ran into some West Marine customers that remembered us and our story.   Enjoyable conversation flowed long after the food was gone.  I sat down to write the piece that you are reading now as soon as we returned.


   What's next? . . . We are waiting for the wind to change.  So, we will be here through tomorrow morning.  After that, we will make our way across the banks to the Berrys or make a short jump down to Cat Cay (whichever the wind change allows for). We are safe, we are here, and we are finally back on our journey.  I'll keep you posted.

   Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)


  1. Congratulations on a successful launch! We must have passed you on the ICW. We left our slip in Hollywood on February 1st and have been gunk-holing our way towards Marathon. We've been in Key Largo the past 4 nights as there's a 40-boat wait list at Boot Key Harbor so no need to rush.

    I've been posting notes and photos to Facebook. Look me up there for more details.


    1. Thanks! Maybe we'll see you out here one day. We'll check out Facebook page. Don't forget to check out that fisheries restaurant once you pick up a ball . . . And order the mussels.

  2. Yaaaay! Can't believe you're there (we just got an email from Bill). We're in Stuart, FL right now after being on land up north for nine months. No Bahamas for us this year but at least we're on the boat. We're looking forward to future posts of your adventures!

    1. Glad to hear you're back on the boat! Thanks for keeping up with the blog. We miss sailing with you guys and Wilbur.

  3. So sad to read all the challenges you had to overcome. So glad you both have made it thru these challenges that were thrown your way. Nice that you are back on track with your plans and you made it safely across the gulf to the Bahamas.

  4. Glad your crossing to the Bahamas was uneventful. We hope our paths cross again soon. We leave StPete on March 1st, heading down to Marathon and then over to the Bahamas. Key West visit this year won't be the same without you!

    1. Hopefully we can make plans to see you guys while you're out . . . Have a frozen key lime pie slice for us :)


Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments.