Friday, January 7, 2011

Bahamian Blues

Not blues as in sad songs, but blues as in incredibly beautiful hues. We had a fast sail through the gulf stream with a reef in the main and the jib out. The wind was steady from the south at just under 20 knots. We left Key Biscayne early in the morning and watched the water temp rise from 64 degrees to 74 degrees in just a few hours as we traveled into the stream. 

Cape Florida lighthouse at the tip of Key Biscayne 
Gulf Stream clouds
There were flying fish everywhere (‘flocks’ of flying fish?) and man-o-war jellyfish floating by with their bubble top sails visible on the surface.

The waves got bigger when we reached the channel into North Bimini and we rocked and rolled pretty hard as we turned into the wind to take down the main. Apparently we haven’t learned our lesson yet about stowing things well on both sides of the boat even though we’re on one tack for the entire passage. In the big rolling waves at the channel entrance, my computer, safely stowed for day long starboard tack, came loose and hit the floor. Aside from a few dings it seems to be OK. Lesson learned…hopefully.

We tied up at a local marina and ran our yellow quarantine flag part way up the mast, signaling that we'd arrived but hadn't gone through customs and immigration yet. Skip got us checked in and Saralane is now flying the Bahamian flag part way up the mast as is customary for vessels visiting other countries. (In answer to an email question… yes, we still fly our country flag off our stern.) We have 180 days to enjoy these islands before they kick us out. 

Captain Skip raising the Bahamain flag
Just across the dock from us were some more ‘kids’ – Tyler and Michelle are from New Hampshire and seeing our home port of Newport, they struck up a conversation with us as soon as we arrived. They invited us to their boat ‘Alida’ for dinner that night and we were happy to go. It looks like these hot spots would have been our only other options…

It was really rough on the ocean side, where the first photo was taken, but we walked around the island and found a calm little cove that was just right for a swim. We’re not sure if we’ll move on today… a big cold front went through last night and the water is pretty wild looking out there. If it calms down we’ll head south to Gun Cay so we’ll be in a good position to cross the Great Bahama Bank and head over to the Berry Islands.

A big sleek sport fishing boat came in yesterday afternoon and tied up behind us… blocking our nice view, but also giving us an under water light show in the dark last night! We watched a few barracuda swim around and snack on the smaller fish in the light.

If we sit in just the right spot on the concrete steps by the showers here at the marina, we can get online through their wifi. We were able to catch up with family and friends on Skype after we arrived and will try to connect again before we leave. (Get some cameras on those computers so we can see you too!) 

Sounds like there's another snowstorm heading for the northeast. Yep... we're pretty happy to be here.


Kerry said...

So glad you are finally there! Enjoy and relax! Everything is fine here! :)

Penelope said...

Now I'm really jealous ! We're waiting for the snow in New England while I look at your fabulous photos of the warmer climes.

About those kittens in the previous post, they were too cute to leave behind ! This is not the first cat reference you have made. I think Saralane definitely needs a Boat Cat.

Congratulations on meeting a huge milestone on your Caribbean adventure (leaving US waters, that is).


Kim said...

OMG...good for you!! It looks lovely! I think the pic of Skip raising the flag is great! As is the underwater night show you got. That is so fun! Yes, it's snowing, so I am exceptionally jealous! :-) So glad you two arrived safely. Much love to you both!

Cindy said...

All sounds excellent. You sailed! All day! a milestone!
sorry we weren't home to skype with you. We are at Miles's for the weekend. Keep having fun. Xoxo

John and Judy said...

Congratulations on your arrival in paradise. The pics are beautiful.

Madeline said...

Hi all.... we're glad you're enjoying 'hanging out' with us here! Your comments are a great way for us to know you're out there!

We're still trying to slow down mentally (no jokes please) and relax, instead of feeling like we should be moving on. It's another beautiful sunny day here and we're going to check out the north end of the island and the town.

Saralane is in great shape.... the only thing missing is a boat cat (or two). They must have some extras around here...