On Wednesday morning we set out for what we hoped would be a quiet sail (okay, motor) from Miami to the Bahamas. We passed the cool stilt houses on Biscayne Bay on our way out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rich threw out a couple of lines and within two hours of setting off he had a fish on. We were kind of surprised that this happened so early in our passage and weren’t really prepared for this! Rich hauled it in and we were dismayed to see that it was a barracuda. We hear mixed reports about how they can be delicious or give you ciguatera, so we weren’t going to be eating this guy. I was all panicky that the poor fish was going to die for nothing while Rich ran around the boat looking for his gloves so he could unhook him. Thankfully he found them and we were able to set him free.
Not even an hour later we had another fish on, this time a beautiful dorado with that shimmery golden green color that you can’t believe until you see it for yourself. I decided that he was on the small side and we should throw him back. “Too pretty to eat,” Lydia said when she saw a pic. She was right! Rich had mixed feelings but agreed to spare the little guy. (At dinner last night a fellow cruiser admitted she had problems with killing these beautiful fish too. Especially because she’d learned they travel in little families and when she caught one she could see his buddies swimming along beside him trying to help him. Ugh!) Just after we snapped his picture, the dorado wriggled out of Rich’s grasp and bounced onto the deck and then back into the sea! I still think we did the right thing, but Rich says we’re not doing that next time. We did talk about fish tacos a lot for the rest of the trip.
Around 5:30 we passed Bimini. It was incredible to me that we could sail for eight hours and be in another country. The water was the prettiest shade of blue and we could see the bottom. Amazing! We took turns on watch, slowing the boat down to a crawl when we realized we’d reach Great Harbour Cay in the dark if we continued at full throttle. Finally around 7 a.m. we neared our destination. We motored through the manmade entrance, marveling at the rock they had to cut through to create it on either side of the narrow passage. And just like that, we were in the Bahamas!
After we filled out the rather archaic customs forms (“Did anyone die on the passage here? And if so, was it possibly from plague?” “Did any rats onboard perish? And if so, did they show signs of plague?” Um, no and no!) the very nice officials cleared us in, granting us a 120-day cruising permit. Woohoo! We raised our Bahamian courtesy flag and hopped on the marina’s courtesy bikes to check out the beach.
I know everyone says this, but we couldn’t believe the shades of blue and green we saw, kind of like a blue and green rainbow. Gorgeous beyond belief and we had the beach completely to ourselves. We were hoping to snorkel but the tide was way out so we settled on a little dip. I found some of the best seashells I’ve ever encountered. Lots of whitewashed sand dollars and what I’m calling an ice cream cone shell (anyone know what that might be?).
Riding back to the marina we passed all kinds of adorable houses with cute beachy names like Sea Shanti and High Tide (mysteriously, there were two of the latter).
Lest you think it’s all fun and games around here, I did have to get back to the boat to finish editing a book I was working on. I spent the rest of the afternoon working on that and then the next morning was in a panic when I couldn’t get enough data on my phone or the marina WiFi to send the file back. I had to beg the marina manager Samantha to let me use her computer and a flash drive, but eventually the file went out on deadline.
Rich also had some work to finish yesterday and we repeated the same panicked attempt to load the file with our limited data options last night. We wouldn’t be here if we weren’t working along the way, so this part is going to be a challenge, but I’m hoping to get some inside scoop from another cruiser we met last night at a dinner the marina put on. She does AutoCAD drawings for a living and sends them back to her clients from the Bahamas using her phone’s data, so surely I can manage to send out a Word doc?
Meanwhile, we’re off to explore more of the Berries today: Great Stirrup Cay or Market Fish Cays, which we keep pronouncing “kay” because we can’t wrap our heads around the British spelling of “key”…
It really is better in the Bahamas! More soon if we can get some data.