Spanish Cay is privately owned, A small resort on it is open to the public with a grocery store and magnificent beaches. In the early 80’s it was bought by the Dallas Mavericks but later used by a drug Baron for his private retreat and armed with machine guns.
Hailing from Vero Beach a small vessel docked next to Blue Sky. They are staying on the island in a condo for three weeks. It is a very small island.
Give the marina an order for dinner and and they will have it ready to eat on their deck or carry-out what ever time you want. This qualifies for a restaurant on the premises for the guide books.` Spanish Cay is now quiet and Private.
Blue Sky decided to stay at Spanish Cay rather than anchor out another night. Deb was worried about the lightning. “See you tomorrow at Green Turtle” as they waved good-by.
Leaving Blue Sky in Spanish Cay, we had a calm ride to an anchorage at ManJack Cay. The Skies are blue, the seas calm and the winds a pleasant seven miles per hour.
Denny and I jumped into the 86 degree water and let the salty sea pervade our minds and souls. A perfect Bahamian sunset. Tomorrow, the dinghy is launched for some snorkeling.
Crackle! Boom! Crackle! Crackle! Boom! The lightning flashed continually and the rain poured down in sheets. Boom! Jumping out of bed, Denny yelling, lower the antennas! Lower the antennas!
We are at Anchor in Great Sail. it is one o’clock in the morning, the skies are ablaze with color and light. Dream Seeker is rocking and rolling. Can you see Blue Sky? Are they afloat? A moment of silent prayer! The storm continued all night.
Morning brought calm seas and a good cloud cover. OK, Blue Sky come on over and raft up
and let’s transfer some fuel. Put out the fenders, throw us the lines, cut the engines we are ready.
Three hours later, two sweat soaked, tired and fuel covered men were smiling. A job well done!
Passing Center of the World Rock and Crab Key and onto Spanish Cay with
visions of jets refueling mid-air dancing through my head we cruised on to Spanish Cay.
The acquisition of Bahamian WiFI and the bustling fuel dock in West End caused a late departure to our next anchorage, sixty-one miles north, Great Sale Cay. The wind was two miles per hour, the humidity high and the sun beaming down relentlessly through cloudless skies.
Half way to our destination and out of cell phone and wifi range, a call came over the two way radio!
Dream Seeker, Dream Seeker, this is Blue Sky, We are running out of fuel. We are running out of fuel! Over.
“We may have to take a detour to find fuel and meet up with you in a few days. We should have waited in line at West End!”
“Is it worth going 50 miles out of your way just to buy fuel?”
“Where is the nearest fuel”
“This far north and east we are out of cellphone and wifi range”
“Perhaps traveling at 8 knots “would save gas”
Our slow moving trawler carries 1000 gallons of fuel. How about a fuel transfer en route?
We have lots of hoses and clamps.
Let’s slowly limp into Great Sail anchorage and wrestle with this in the morning.
COVID Tests and Health Visa’s are no longer necessary to enter the Bahamas said one website, just proof of vaccination. As we were leaving in three days form the proclamation we chose to believe it.
So it was with fear and a little trepidation that we entered West End, Bahamas flying the mandatory yellow quarantine flag, until we clear Customs.
Pleasantly greeted by the local marina help, stating “you’ve done this before” Denny smoothly put Dream Seeker into the slip.
A small craft full of obviously live conch in the shells floated in the next slip. Joe, the go getter, as he named himself sold us six conk for twelve dollars. He cleaned and shelled them and I put them in the freezer for a few days.. A nice bargain because the guy down the dock from him was selling a small conch salad for fifteen dollars.
If you are not wearing a mask stay out. This sign hung on the Customs door. Denny ran back to the boat and came up with two used masks. When I complained of the stench he said he gave me the clean one. Then I found out the guy selling Pina coladas was also selling masks.
We entered the custom office loaded down with passports, vaccination cards and vessel papers. Almost an hour later, with the help of a kind and long finger nailed customs officer and three-hundred dollars, we were fully documented and allowed to enter the Bahamas.
Next item, Bahamian Wifi! This took a “bit longer”
The waters and skies were clear but the mental atmosphere was very cloudy delaying the start on our three-week journey to the Bahamas.
Six hours later on our way but with a change of course. Snorkeling in Palm Beach was eliminated and a new anchorage in Lake worth scheduled, so we can cross the ocean in comfort tomorrow. Our weather window is small.
“Blue Skies” a thirty-seven foot, 20 knot boat, owned by Deb and Bill Gibson is traveling with us. We are grateful for that. I am not sure how grateful they are, Dream Seeker, like most trawlers, has a top speed of eight knots. Blue Skies leaves later than us and gets there before us.
Flat waves, a fluffy wind and cloudless skies made for an eight hour languid crossing of the great divide.
The Sun was shining, the waves were one to two but the large swells caused us to remain seated on the flybridge. The Inclinometer vacillated between 10 to 30 degrees. Plentiful sea traffic, cruise ships, sailboats and other pleasure craft were also taking advantage of the lull in the weather.
The many cruise ships we encountered were moving very slowly and seemingly without passengers. Why are they there? Do you suppose it costs less to keep these ships moving or at least anchored rather than docked.
Hey Grandma! Is that Florida? Clare woke me up from my nap. Surprisingly, thirty miles from the Florida coast and we could see Miami’s tall buildings. Just a few hours from home!
Clare is leaving us in Fort Lauderdale, flying home to Connecticut and then back to school. We will miss her. Dream Seeker will take the safe and scenic route home for the next three days, the intracoastal past the magnificent mansions and multiple mega yachts and back to Nettles island our second home.
As usual, I am unhappy to see these awesome trips end but the need to check in at home is overwhelming.
Three days in Bimini and we can greet all the natives by their first names. Our golf cart has seen every nook and cranny of this sunny and beautiful island but outside the stone reefs the wind is howling and the ocean is boiling.
Denny has been commiserating with his weather wizards again. He is consulting the online weather sites, the locals and probably a few astrologists. It looks like Thursday will be the mildest ocean crossing available. According to one local he doesn’t read any forecasts he just watches the palm trees. When their fronds are flying he goes back to sleep.
We are going for it. An eight hour journey over the teeming ocean with the aid of the jet stream.
The Bahamas are full of contradictions. North Bimini is no exception.
Alice Town, at one end of this seven mile long island is where the government, the small businesses and the people reside, a hodgepodge of churches, grocery stores, liquor stores and conch shacks. The roads are bumpy and the streets teaming with people, old trucks and golf carts.
The north end of the island harbors a new Hilton with a sparkling casino, surrounded by a private island of newly built homes. Paradise beach is on the west and marinas on the east,
All very quiet and almost empty. The casino is closed. Hundreds of golf carts are sitting in lots waited for drivers.
Ansel Saunders, a native historian and artist, guided us through a sturdily built, cleverly designed monument, made of limestone, concrete, sea glass, old beer bottles and trash from the city dump, that he named, The Dolphin House.
The view from the top floor of this work in progress which incorporates a ten foot tall, well built lighthouse is 360 degrees of Atlantic ocean.
All the weather pundits gave the green light: tomorrow is the best weather day this week to make a safe journey. We are off!
Through the tongue of the ocean and onto the Bahama Banks, an eleven hour journey.
Remember, this is an eight knot boat! If we start out at dawn, depending on the sea and the wind we might get to Bimini before dark. Denny wants to be able to see the coral heads and the water depths. The lighter the color of the water the shallower the water.
The sun was shining, the waves were high, the boat was rolling, the inclinometer noted fluctuations up to 40 degrees. We are all on the fly bridge hanging on and so far we were all still smiling. Moving about in these conditions is very difficult.
Salon furniture slid noisily about the salon, the chairs fell over and the table did its usual 180.
The liquor cabinet and galley had been well secured as was the pilot house and the cabin heads.
Calling on the radio for accommodations, we are closed, we are closed, North Bimini is a ghost town. Followed another trawler into Bimini’s safe harbor. And were welcomed into Bimini Bay Marina, a new marina with floating docks, new electric pedestals and lovely lighting. We were the only two boats in this 150 slip brand new marina for our entire stay.
Dream Seeker slithered carefully out of our dockage over the shallows and into the Tongue of the Ocean once more. Denny has been consulting his charts, reading multiple weather forecasts and his favorite weather forecaster, to stay with fair winds and following seas.
Slowly, step by step from Cay to Cay! We make our way home.
Take one step and wait. Wait three more days and perhaps the wind and the seas will allow us to continue on our journey. The first step, Chub Cay, full of huge, shiny and sleek sport fishing boats, with their multiple rods and reels the size of a basketball and their captains and crews.
Chub Cay has come a destination in its own right for cruising yachts or anglers whose goal it is to land a trophy billfish. A pleasantly thriving part of the Bahamas.
Listen! Children are screaming! Screams of joy and wonder. Let’s check it out Clare.
Children and adults speaking multiple languages, jumping for joy, are pointing and taking pictures. Some are throwing shrimp, some chicken cutlets, others ribbons.
One enterprising young man was slapping his flip flop on to the water. He was the most successful in attracting these enormous Bull Sharks with their entourage of symbiotic fish swimming along side and feeding off the shark. One and then another, yes, four seven feet long and at least two feet wide aggressive hungry bull sharks enjoying the fruits of the Sports Fishermen’s catch.