Coming to you from the BAHAMAS!!!
154.5 miles (Lake Worth Inlet to Green Turtle Cay) and 28 hours…we are here. It was the longest, but one of the easiest crossings we’ve had. By far the hardest part had been the days prior trying to decided on which weather window to take. our choices were either winds 10-15kn gusting to 20 kn out of the South (good sailing) but with seas of 5-6 feet, Gulf Stream warnings, and numerous squalls (not good sailing)…or wait one day and have a very calm wind and settled weather. We chose the calm option. Then we got very nervous that with NO wind and still some kicked up seas that we would be in for a slow, rolly, sloppy, uncomfortable ride, so we changed our minds and thought a swift, brisk sail actually sounded more comfortable (or at least faster). All poised to go, we listened to the weather the morning of and heard lots of phrases like “salty”, “sporty”‘ and “squally”. The weatherman kept mentioning how much “milder” it would be in 24 hours. And…..right back to the calm option. It was already squally and blowing 15-20kn in the anchorage, we aren’t really salty sailors and I didn’t feel like trying to become one.
At just before 3am we headed out of the Lake Worth Inlet (West Palm Beach) with not-a-breath-of-air conditions and almost a full moon. Our fears of it being a wallowy, floppy mess were unfounded for the most part, though the west side of the Gulf Stream did get quite rolly, and it was an easy motor. At first light Keith threw out the fishing line and within 15 minutes had a small Mahi onboard. Really, what a great start to the crossing and the first fresh fish since July!
Just before lunchtime we came onto the bank at White Sand Ridge, a deeper entrance 15 miles north of Memory Rock. For me, coming onto the bank is a magical, bucket-list worthy moment. In a matter of yards you go from water that is thousands of feet deep and has a deep, dark inky purple-blue color that seems never ending, to a brilliantly bright turquoise water that is so clear that you can watch the ripples of white sand less than 30 feet below as the shadow of the boat glides over them. The seas flattened to absolutely nothing, yet, for a little while we raised the sails and sailed through a little piece of heaven on Earth.
By sunset we were passing off of Walkers Cay and though it is where we always clear in, we kept sailing all through the night and at first daylight we dropped anchor in front of Green Turtle Cay. By now we were excited and in a hurry to get cleared in…we had our own welcoming party to get to! We inflated and deployed the dinghy, cleared in, and we’re back on the boat raising the anchor by 10am. We re-traced our last hour’s path back up to Manjack Cay. (if you’ve been reading us for a while, I know you can’t be too surprised to read that 😉 )
As we rounded the corner we were greeted enthusiastically by our friends, Ben and Lisa, on Saraid who were waiting for us! HELLO!!! HELLO!!! They were our dock neighbors back in Satellite Beach. We both arrived at the marina within months of each other and we were both “only a few months from getting under way”. Months turned into years and we began a friendly race to get off the dock. Between talking boat projects we would dream about meeting up together in the islands. They were only three weeks behind us when we left in May and we said we would have a fresh fish dinner waiting for them when they arrived, but they had some delays (as happens in life) and we arrived back in Florida before they left. This time around they left before us. Their turn to greet us!!
Keith and I both expected to be drop-dead exhausted but the clear water and the excitement of seeing old friends energized us enough that after only a few minutes of catch-up we jumped into our bathing suits, grabbed the snorkel gear and hit the water together. Between the four of us we collected a enough conch and lobster for a delicious meal served aboard Saraid. Although, we were having so much fun diving that we pushed coming back on the low tide just a bit too far and the dinghies ran aground. Lisa and Keith had to pull them through the shallows. They had shoes, Ben and I didn’t; we sat in the boats and got towed.
We didn’t waste any time diving back into this life we love and missed!