We did it. We made it. It’s pretty dang cool. We arrived in North Bimini, Bahamas yesterday, January 27, 2014 at about 2:45 in the beautiful afternoon sun.
It all fell into place, as things often do, and there wasn’t even a moment where we second guessed our decision to cross. We had so much wise advice from friends who have done the crossing before, and we managed to surround ourselves with other cruisers whose decisions we respect. It also helps that JR has been listening to Chris Parker on his SSB receiver for the past week :) We “staged“ for our crossing outside of No Name Harbor, essentially in the Cape Florida channel, but the night was calm and quiet (until we used our water maker and had to run our generator, my bad) and we were in good company. Lots of boats we had met along the way like my WWS friend Rebecca from Summertime Rolls and our cruisin’ besties Sea Major and Adamant were also anchored near by which felt really, really good.
We left under a thick blanket of stars at about 5:20 am, before the sun rose and before most of the other 30 or so boats, also staged to cross, began their day. There is so much talk about where to point because of the current of the gulf stream. If you followed us on SPOT, you know we pointed a little too far south and had to swing up a little, but no harm was done. We congratulated ourselves for being over-thinkers and at the same time laughed at ourselves for being over-thinkers… We made good time, about 9 hours and 30 minutes from anchor up to dock lines tied, 54 nautical miles.
We had both sails up for a majority of the time but also kept the motor running. We averaged about 5.7 knots and the wind and the waves were very consistent and calm. It may have been the best day of JR’s life because we were sailing, he was fishing, and he was playing with his early birthday present, a GoPro video camera. Today he said, “This day sucks compared to yesterday.” What a spoiled, spoiled boy. And you guys thought I was the spoiled one! The video turned out great. You can see it here. (And he was just kidding.)
The wind and seas were so steady, it was uneventfully monotonous, believe it or not. At about 9:30 am, JR yelled, “Fish on!” Truthfully, I didn’t believe it at first, I figured he snagged something like a boot or sea grass. Silly considering the depth of the water was about 2000 feet as his reel hissed and he muscled something in. We hadn’t really considered how we would deal with a big fish. He had searched for a gaff before we left Coconut Grove, FL, but gave up on it because they were a bit pricey. I also never considered how I’d react to watching a big old muscle of a fish take it’s last breaths on the deck of our boat… But this story is about JR and his crazy big catch of the day. He got it up close and decided it was a wahoo. Once on deck, he gave it a couple of swigs of whisky and the fishy passed relatively peacefully on Journey’s starboard deck.
Jake took it up to the bow and fileted it all up while underway. He made about 11 nice wahoo steaks. I took lots of pictures (again, without looking) and tried my best to cheer JR on. He was feelin’ pretty good about his catch. After it was all cleaned up, he put his line away. We couldn’t fit anymore fish in the fridge! Boat problems :)
The fish was the excitement for the day, for sure. It got HOT and at about 1pm we got our first glimpse of Bimini.
The water was a deep, deep blue out in the ocean, but as we approached the island, you could start to see the anticipated turquoise water and white sandy beaches. As we approached the channel, in a matter of seconds, the water color changed and Journey was surrounded by beautiful clear water. It was amazing.
We made our way to the Blue Water Marina, where we had a reservation. We passed our friends on Sea Major docked at Brown’s Marina, pulled in near Summertime Rolls, and welcomed Adamant shortly after. The dockhand immediately pointed out a bull shark that hangs out near our slip. What?
Leo was pleased that the trip was over and spent sometime exploring the docks and acting as if he could catch a bird if he really wanted to. He walked around the dock for a bit, but settled back aboard Journey to observe his new surroundings.
We had to do some official stuff like immigration and customs which meant that Jake had to get all spiffy and check in as captain. They gave us our cruising permit, charged us LESS than what we were expecting, and the green light to ditch the quarantine flag and raise the Bahamian courtesy flag. We were official!
It didn’t take long to plan a “We In the Bahamas, Y’all” dinner. Jake and I cooked most of the wahoo and our friends brought side dishes and libations. It made me “joy-drunk” as my friend Tammy put it, to have friends over on Journey after one heck of a day for all of us. We ate and drank and laughed and debated until way past crusiers midnight, and when the rum ran out and our bellies were full (and Mitchell was in Phase 5), our friends trickled off of our boat and crashed on their own, currently located in North Bimini, Bahamas <3
Thanks so much for your words of support, encouragement, and keeping an eye on us in the Gulf Stream. You guys make us happy.