The excitement and anticipation of the crossing to Bimini made it easy to wake early. We weighed anchor and pulled away from No Name Harbor and had a glorious sunrise to help welcome the day.
The conditions could not have been more perfect. There was little wind as we began which made it feel more like a lake than ocean. The water became a deep blue unlike any we had sailed in before and had a notable temperature change as we entered the Gulf Stream.
We were greeted by countless Portuguese man of war. Not something you would ever want to swim with but they were beautiful as they floated over the water. I thought they looked like little rainbows but Paige said they had mohawks :)
The picture doesn't do it justice, the ridge is iridescent and the base is a dark royal blue.
As the Miami skyline faded into the distance, the excitement was palpable! The sun was shining, the girls played on deck, dowsed each other with buckets of water to stay cool, and kept a look out for marine life. A scream went up when Andrew spotted the recognizable spout of a whale in the distance. We were lucky enough to watch two North Atlantic Right Whales making their way south and they put on quite a show for us with the grand finale of fluke waves from both of them as they dove away.
North Atlantic Right Whales
We thought the day couldn’t get any better until Paige spotted land in the distance! Both girls stood on the bow and watched as the water changed from the deep ocean blue to the clear turquoise of a swimming pool. Even though the depths stayed over 10’ in the entry channel to Bimini, you could see directly to the bottom. The shouts from the girls got louder and more excited as they spotted schools of fish, starfish, stingrays and sharks. We did it, we made it, we actually left and now we were in Bimini. It was crazy!
We docked at Bimini Blue Water Marina and Andrew went to check us in at customs while the girls and I stayed aboard under the quarantine flag.
We were supposed to be tidying up and getting settled in but it was so hard to not want to chat it up with all the new neighbors that came by to greet us, watch all the different fish swim by and squeal everytime the local 8’ bull shark came by for a visit. The locals were very friendly and welcoming and some of our new dock mates split a freshly caught wahoo among all of us neighbors. What a way to end the day!
We’re having fish tonight!
Even though Bimini was beautiful, we decided to keep moving while the weather was good. So we headed out the next morning. We made a pit stop at our first snorkeling adventure, Sapona. The Sapona was a concrete ship made for World War I that never made it to battle. It was privately owned as a casino boat in the 1920s and sunk in a hurricane in 1926. In World War II it was used for target practice. We tied our dinghy up through a few of the remaining bullet holes. It was kind of creepy to be in the water beside it but we saw some great marine life!
Our crossing of the Great Bahama Banks was surreal. It felt very "Life of Pi" watching schools of flying fish dance across the water. There was no other soul as far as the eye could see and at times it was even difficult to tell where the water ended and the sky began.
Great Bahama Bank
We took advantage of the calm ride to clean Abby’s decks and have a dance party aboard :)
Girls working hard and having fun.
The next few days mesh together like a blur, that seems to happen when you spend days at anchor without stepping on land :) We watched movies, did school, took naps, and did a few small projects as Andrew diligently watched the anchor alarm making sure we did not drift.
Saturday night was a long night as the blow the day before seemed to loosen our holding and we slowly but continually drifted closer to shore. We were up 2 different times resetting the anchor before finally giving in and getting under way around 5:30am.
Even with the lack of sleep we had high spirits aboard as today was the day we were heading into Nassau! We had a beautiful sail across the tongue of the ocean with rolling seas of 6-8’. The girls love when we have good waves! We’ve gotten better about securing things below so there wasn't near the mess when we made it to Nassau Harbor.
Paige was so excited when she spotted Atlantis in the distance. We are getting the lay of the land today as we will be here for about a week waiting on the weather to calm down. We will be spending the next 3 days at Atlantis enjoying Paige's 13th B-day present. And the rest of the time re-provisioning -how can we already be out of stuff?! And trying some of the local fare as we have heard most of the small islands that make up the Exumas don’t have restaraunts, etc. Sounds like this girl is going to be putting in the galley hours!
Things learned aboard this week:
I get crabby when I'm hot! I pride myself on being a pretty pleasant person at all times but the truth is my family has to see my true colors. I thought our few days at anchor were going to be rewarded with a marina with pool (even though Atlantis is only a day away) and I might as well have thrown a tantrum when I found out it was having repairs done :( Hopefully I'm making it sound worse than it was, I usually just stay below and get things tidied up while I'm feeling fowl so I don't affect everyone else's happy hearts :) But being face with your own short-comings on a daily basis is humbling. Luckily, my family loves no matter what.
The girls are troopers. Other than getting on each other's nerves occasionally, we don't hear a peep from them about "are we there yet?, can we swim yet?, I have to eat what?, you want me to scrub what?". They are embracing this life full on. They make us proud!
Don't want to rub our good fortune in your face while you are experiencing winter but we are enjoying a beautiful high 60s with a stiff breeze at the local Starbucks in Nassau using up their free wifi to update you ;)
Hope you enjoy!