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Published: April 10th 2017
Well, after making great time from the Exumas to Bimini, our final stop in the Bahamas, we are now stuck here in paradise for likely a week (or more) as we wait for a good weather window to cross to Florida. I know, poor us, being stuck here! Our life on the boat is soooo hard – ha ha!
After leaving Staniel Cay early on Wednesday, we arrived just as the sun set at Rose Island, east of Nassau. Initially, we had thought to stop at Normans Cay and then cross to Nassau area the following day, but the winds and waves were favourable, and it was still early, so we veered NW and headed across.
Our anchorage at Rose Island had a strong surge which sent us rocking and rolling most of the night. Hence, cooking was restricted and dinner was a can of beans (poor Lukus; a whole day of wheeling and all he gets is beans!). After an exhausting day, Lukus was out by 8pm with plans to travel 40 miles the following day to a spot just past the Northwest Channel.
That night, I awoke to Lukus shaking me gently. He had decided since
he was wide awake, he was going to start heading out and he just needed me to go down below to keep sleeping (side note: since we arrived in the Bahamas, we have been sleeping on the floor on cushions by the wheel. Our actual bed (berth) below is full of supplies and it is easier to just sleep on the floor than to make the table into a bed each night…it’s like camping every night!). It was still dark, and I assumed it must be closing in on dawn since he was raring to go. I quickly discovered it was only 2am!
But since he was awake, he figured if he started that early, we could make it all the way to the Bimini area. This is about a 120 mile run from Rose Island, but with wind changes ahead in the forecast, it was the prime day to get through the channel and cross the banks. While there was some good waves, they were coming from the southeast which gave us a bit of a roll but also pushed us along. After 17 hours of running, we anchored sound and safe just off Cat Cay, meeting up
once again with our good friends on the Alexis who had run across the same day.
(For those who have not been to the Bahamas by boat, the Bimini area, which includes Cat Cay, Gun Cay, and North and South Bimini, is a popular “staging” spot to wait before crossing over to the Florida coast.)
After a night at Cat Cay, we headed over to North Bimini, along with our friends on Alexis, to find a spot to anchor for the upcoming cold front moving in. Alexis elected to pull into a marina while we tested out a few anchorage spots before finding a safe little inlet across from the Resort World Bimini. It is funny to anchor so close to a big resort. Here people are paying a minimum of $200 a night, and we are anchored right in front, sharing the view, for nothing!
We spent a couple days just relaxing and recovering from the long passages. Our anchorage was right at the end of a seaplane runway, so several times a day we would watch the planes take off and land, often flying right over out boat. It was pretty awesome to watch these
planes swoop down at incredible speeds, hit the water and come to a stop almost suddenly; sending sprays of water all around.
On Saturday morning, after a few days at anchor, with strong encouragement from our friends on Alexis, and the fact that we had limited dinghy access to the island, we finally broke down and decided to join them at Brown’s Marina. In comparison to many marina’s it is fairly economical (only $1.25 per foot per night, compared with the $3 and $4 per foot at some places!), and it has all the basic amenities we need, like a shower! Yesterday, I had my first “real” shower since the middle of January! It is hard to describe how glorious hot, flowing water can be, and with no time limit. And lucky me, for the next few days, I can have one every day! Or even two 😊
Yesterday, after settling ourselves at the dock, we decided to take a walk across the island to the ocean side. The beach on that side of the island is known for sea glass, so we spent some time hunting out these little gleaming treasures. As we meandered along the beach,
Bartending Bahamian Style
A bartender on the beach making drinks with fresh coconuts, juice and rum, a lot of rum!
a friendly woman came up to let us know that she braids hair. Well, Lukus has been suggesting for a long time that I should try it, and at only $30 it seemed like a good deal (and a way to curtail the endless shedding that is around the boat!). So Charmaine, a lovely native of Bimini, spent 2 hours braiding my hair. According to my dad, I look like my Polynesian twin!! All I know is it saves having to do my hair in the morning!!
That evening, Deb and John invited us for dinner on their boat (as they have done many, many times). After a tasty dinner, feeling satiated and sleepy, we headed back to the boat to relax and settle in for the night. Shortly after returning to the boat, my mom called to chat, and so, while I was on the phone, Lukus went back over to the Alexis to chat with John. By the time he returned, he had gotten a second wind and offered to take me dancing at the bar right beside our marina. Never being one to turn down the offer to dance, we made our way over to Big
Hunting for Sea Glass
Lukus, John (aka Moses - haha) and Deb searching for sea glass
John’s. Because it was still early in Bahamian time (only 9pm), there were a few people eating dinner, but otherwise the place was empty. That didn’t stop us! We were quickly making friends with the staff and having a grand time dancing in and among the tables. By the time we left at midnight, the tables had been cleared, a DJ was playing and the dancefloor was hopping. Amazing for a guy who doesn’t dance, Lukus knows how to cut up a dance floor!!
Looking at the weather, it looks like it will be at least a week before we can cross. There seems to be no viable weather window in the near future. So we will be in Bimini until at least Friday. Beyond that, we will just have to see what the forecasts bring. But hey, if we have to be “stuck”, I think we are pretty fortunate to be stuck here. The waters are still blue and clear, the beaches are fine, and the company is lovely!
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