Turquoise water; pictures update   Leave a comment

First things first. I have to tell my Manatee story. It’s not really a story, I’ve just decided that I love Manatee’s. There were signs warning boats against running over them in Palm beach so I was on the lookout the whole time we were there. Finally, on one of our last days, I was standing on deck and heard a sea mammal breath near the boat. I looked over to see two Manatee’s coming up for air a short distance away. They flopped their disc-shaped tails and were gone. Hey, I saw Manatees! I’m in love!

There are tropical fish in this harbor. Fish with stripes swim around under the docks in water so clear you can see all every detail of the sandy bottom.

So far, the Bahamas is an otherworldly, sometimes bizarre place. Crossing the gulf stream itself was pretty strange. Imagine sailing across a river, perpendicular to the current, with the wind blowing the boat somewhat into the flow of water. We expected some steep waves but nothing too terrible since the wind wasn’t directly opposing the gulf stream.

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As it turned out, the waves were occasionally 6 feet or so and very close together when we first entered the stream. It was a roly passage to start out but Pirat broad-reached along at about 7 knots. Things calmed down as we worked our way east. It was impossible to sail a straight line due to the 3+ knot current pushing us north.

The ocean water was eerily warm. Lee persuaded me to stick my foot in so I could see how warm it was and he was right – it felt like a bathtub!

The wind remained steady at 15-20 knots, dying only as we sighted Great Bahama Island and knew we were almost to our entry port of West End.

I docked Pirat masterfully in our first foreign slip and then served as captain (the only one allowed off the boat for the time being) to clear customs. My first encounter with the entrance procedure was hilarious. I was so nervous and I’d dropped the paper work in the water so I had to fill it all out while the customs agent watched. He talked ridiculously fast and I could barely understand his accent.

At one point he asked “Just the two women on board?”
I stood bewildered, then answered “You mean two men?”
He looked confused.
“I mean one man and one woman!” I corrected.
I have no idea what led to the confusion but I wasn’t helping things by being half brain dead.

I did finally get everything sorted out and walked away with a stamped cruising permit/fishing license etc. and an overwhelming feeling of relief.

Lee and I spent one night at Old Bahama Bay Marina in West End. On our morning run there yesterday we saw some local sights. The homes and businesses closest to the marina were somewhat run-down, pastel painted, one-story buildings. People passed in regular cars but drove on the left side of the road. The police cars were Volkswagons and looked very european. The shore was littered with old, half-sunken boats, makeshift beach bars, and piles of conch shells.

Yesterday afternoon we motored (not much wind) East along Great Bahama island to a much cheaper marina near Freeport and Lucaya. Getting through the entrance channel was a little hair-raising. We knew we had to come in a high tide but didn’t get there till about an hour after. The depth sounder went down to 7 in a couple place and we held our breath while I shifted into neutral. With Lee spotting shallows from the bow and me driving we eventually crept in to a dock at Sunrise Marina.

That was yesterday. Sunrise Marina has been pleasant so far. There are a few boats here but no people other than the resort employees. The hotel looks empty but is very well kept and tidy. There’s a tiny pool and a deserted “sport’s bar”. Everyone is very friendly and I’m getting a little better at understanding the Bahamian accent.

We ran to Freeport and back this morning (6 miles round trip) to get the lay of the land. My first impression is that people here are really into painting. All the buildings look like they have a fresh coat of bright paint on them and we saw a guy painting a Burger King a nice tropical beige color.

There are palm trees with genuine coconuts in them all over the place! The water really is turquoise and there really are tropical fish in the harbor!

Now we’re resting up for a possible bike into Freeport for dinner. Maybe we’ll just go play pool in the sport’s bar.

Disneyworld to the Bahamas

I finally got some pictures uploaded to Picasa. This album covers Disneyworld through the Bahamas.

Posted January 30, 2011 by Rachel in Uncategorized

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  1. wooo hoo!! Welcome to the tropics!!! We’re getting closer and closer to each other 😀

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