We were in Georgetown waiting for a weather window to go east toward the far Bahamas and maybe to the Dominican Republic when we got an email from Amy’s Family. Amy’s uncle Peter was going into hospice. We had a family meeting and decided to return to the United States. While we were sitting in Georgetown, it seemed as though one thing after another conspired to keep us from going east. Now, as if by magic, a terrific weather window opened up. It was a perfect window to head east. But, we were going west. The calm winds and smooth seas stayed with us as we sailed and motored back up the Exumas and on toward Florida.
Our first leg was from Georgetown to Staniel Cay. We were out on the Exuma sound for the first 30 miles and then we came in through the Galliot Cut on to the banks against a 3 knot current. This is a really beautiful wide cut with cliffs that reminded us of Ireland. We were back in the crystal clear waters of the Exumas. We headed for Big Majors Spot, where we knew we could find good anchoring and, surprisingly, decent wifi coverage with our high gain antenna as we were trying to stay in touch with the folks at home.
Our next day was a relaxed motor and sail up to Highborne Cay. We passed right by the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park which had taken us more than 10 days to visit last time we were there in February. We anchored west of Highborne Cay. Graham and I swam over to another boat for a chat. Lots of rays and sharks in these waters.
Our next leg took us across the Yellow Banks to Nassau. We motored through the numerous coral heads that make up the banks. We planned our crossing so that we could easily see the coral heads in the morning sun. We were also able to sail a good distance toward Nassau as well. Nassau was a huge adjustment after the sparsely populated Exumas. There were two cruise ships in port and the resorts were busy with sun seeking tourists. We couldn’t resist a little trip over to Atlantis where the rooms range from $400 to $25,000 a night although we stayed at Nassau Yacht Haven for $50.
The next morning we set sail again in moderate winds and seas. Unfortunately the wind was right on the nose for this leg across the Northeast Providence Channel. Our destination for this day was Chub Cay in the Berry Islands. However, I didn’t like the look of the anchorage in Chub so we picked up a mooring at the Berry Islands Club on Frazer’s Hog Cay. It was a delightful spot. Once the moon set, the night sky was awesome. We have a new iPad App called Star Walk that helps us identify stars, planets, constellations, and even man made satellites. The night sky is so visible here where there is practically no light pollution to detract from the viewing.
We left the Berrys early. This is our longest leg of the trip. We will be going for 24 hours nonstop. We cross on to the Great Bahama Bank past the NW Channel Light at around 11 AM. We keep going past Mackie Shoal and then pass the North Rocks of North Bimini and out into the Straits of Florida at 10 PM. The wind is still on the nose so we are motoring for this entire leg. At about 2 AM on April 3rd we enter the Gulf Stream and pick up speed. Arriving about an hour before sunrise, we wait for the light to navigate into Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale. We have to wait for a couple of bridge openings and then we pick up a slip at Las Olas Marina so we can get some rest.
After a couple of days in the Marina, Amy flies to the Twin Cities and Graham and I move Troubadour to an anchorage off the Middle River. Our friends, Jon and Jill, helped us find this convenient spot. It is close to their home as well as to lots of other services like groceries and restaurants.
After 5 months in the Bahamas, it takes us 5 days of sailing and motoring to get back to the States.