After an almost three week stay in South Bimini at the Bimini Sands resort Marina (waiting for a weather window and taking advantage to make a quick business trip to Orlando) we found another narrow weather window and charted the course for Nassau. (New Providence.)
We really did enjoy our stay in Bimini. Great Conch salad, awesome beach we had practically to ourselves, plenty of provisions to include plantains, mangos, Bimini bread and our new favorite breakfast - tuna and grits. Yes, I know it does not sound appetizing, but the locals love it and Jeff and I are big on doing what the locals do - so we tried it. (I admit, he went first.) Guess what, its yummy! Promise I will post the recipe later. Big Game Fishing Club Marina in North Bimini always has something fun going on, but our South Bimini marina (Bimini Sands) had a great happy hour and awesome views of the sunset. Yet, all good things must end and our last day in Bimini was Thursday, Feb. 1st.
Leaving from Bimini it’s a 24 hour trip to Nassau - so how do you prepare? Well, first you have to realize you’re going over open ocean so you must secure your gear. Anything and everything that could fall/break and then be an obstacle needs to be stowed or secured. Do all your laundry, provision, clean the boat, fill fuel and water tanks and make meals that are ready to go because unless you’re a “salty sailor" (read not prone to seasickness) - you may be nauseous if you spend too much time down below cooking.
There you have it - that all happened within a few days and we left at high tide on Thursday - that was about 10:30 AM. We need to watch the tide to move out of the channel with our draft. We had looked at several weather apps and no two were in complete agreement and we knew it may get a little sporty - 12-15 knots on our nose is what we expected……you’ve read this before from us - it was NOT what we expected. We had higher than expected wind and gusting, as well as wave heights. It was supposed to calm down by midnight/1:00 AM. More like 4:00 AM. Jeff is my hero. He stayed awake most of the night and I got to take a 2 hour nap. About 5:00 AM I took over and took us into Nassau while he navigated and took a break. Palm Cay Marina and Resort was our destination - about 1.5 hours around New Providence and we arrived about 10:30 AM on Friday. Exactly 24 hours. Let’s just say we could not wait to tie up, eat something quick and hit the rack. Sleep depravation is not something I’m good at. We played music, talked, looked at stars, sang - anything that would keep us awake and alert. All was good until about 4 - that’s the hour when we start to hit the wall. That’s when I decided to break up with Jimmy and Kenny. All these songs about how romantic it is to be on the water at night and this type of travel/lifestyle. Ah ha! I felt quite beat up, tired, nauseous and again wondering why I’m out here in the middle of the Tongue of the Ocean (second deepest spot in the oceans only to the Mariana Trench). Yes boys it's officially over. I'm sure Jimmy and Kenny will never hear about me but their ears must have been ringing that night as I cursed the day I became a "parrot head" and subscribed to "no shoes nation." Thank goodness for friends like Becky and Chris who remind me what I love about this.
One thing for sure, we should have taken turns on watch, but this was my first 24 hour overnighter and I will admit I was very nervous about the whole thing. Thank God for a full moon as we could see clearly. I practiced my navigational light ID - how to tell if a boat is coming at you or away from you at night. Anything to keep me awake and stay positive. Hard at times.
We only spent 3 nights in Palm Cay. Enough to recoup, do some sightseeing and prepare for the next leg of our trip - The Exuma Island Chain. Today we are on the hook in Highbourne Cay as I write this. Private island with a great beach and small marina. Beautiful blue/green water. Cell service. One of our friends asked today if we were here because I’m trying to justify my existence with work - truth is if I have to work then this is not a bad office.
Last night we had friends on our boat for boat drinks, the night before we were invited on a beautiful custom built catamaran for dinner, tonight we’re on our own. We had some unexpected rain showers last night - we mistakenly left some topside hatches open for air circulation, since we’re no longer tied to a dock with electricity. So, this morning we had some items that needed to dry out. (I’m being polite). Live and learn. Don’t go to bed with all the hatches open Lib - Got it! Water consumption is an issue now. Quick Navy showers and cleaning/dish washing is minimal water usage. Here on Highbourne Cay, Trash disposal is $5.00 for the first two bags and then $25 each one after that - so compact and biodegradable over the side. Electrical consumption, we have solar power but we also use solar lights indoors to conserve power for the fridge and other items we need to charge. Keeping things organized and clean are a major priority. Not just because I’m a clean freak but sanitation and identifying issues such as a leak from the fridge into a bilge which I had to clean up this morning. Had I not been cleaning, the water would still be there and my beautiful deck plate would be rotting away.
Some people will tell you this way of life is easy, some will say challenging, I say it’s hard. It’s not for everyone and quite frankly I’m still not sure it’s for me but I’m sure giving it all I have and I’m doing my best to stay positive. Do I get grumpy sometimes, yes - hot and grumpy because I hit my head again when I made the bed. Last night my stuff got wet. We had a rolling night with swells and it was hot. Today I had a deck plate fall on my foot and the head always smells funky even after I just cleaned it with baking soda, vinegar and Mr. Clean. Then again, I had my morning coffee in the cockpit overlooking unbelievably gorgeous waters and could see the fish swimming by our transom. I took a conference call, wrote a proposal and wrote this blog from the same place with the same view. So please, don’t feel sorry for me/us. We have our share of “boat bites” but within the hour - it’s over. Tomorrow we head out again, to another island in the Exuma chain. Shroud Cay. What awaits us…..who knows. Mangrove exploration in our dinghy. What I do know is that I don’t need to go looking for my adventure - adventure seems to always find us.