After our fiasco with our engine work at Dinner Key, we spent the rest of the day working on the outstanding boat issues that had kept us from leaving for the Bahamas the night before. The main one was our power monitoring system. By pulling the monitor out of the wall and trying a new Cat 5 cable to connect it to the power hub, we finally determined that the monitor was fine, but the cable seemed to be shot. We'll need to run a new cable through the boat to get it back to its original spot, but for now we have it hooked up and sitting under the kitchen sink.
Given that our alternator seemed to be working, and we had managed to start the generator, there really wasn't anything keeping us from heading across the Gulf Stream. And the forecast showed that Wednesday would be our last day of good weather. After that, there was a week of strong northerly winds coming through that would make it impossible to get across. So, we decided we would get up at 2 a.m., have another look at the wind and weather, and if everything seemed OK, we would give it a try. We were clear that if for any reason either of us was uncomfortable, we would just go back to bed, even if it meant waiting another week.
When the alarm went off at 2, we both woke up full of hope and optimism. We let the kids stay asleep, and after quickly getting everything ready for our first passage, we headed out into the Dinner Key channel. Sara sat on the bow with our super bright Lupin headlamp, picking out markers for me and watching for anything in the water, and I used that and the GPS track from our inboud trip to carefully guide us out. It was tense work. At one point early on, as we were getting our system sorted out, we came as close to a marker bouy as I ever want to be. But with some careful work, after about an hour, we were heading out into the Atlantic.
|The receding lights of Miami, from the Gulf Stream.|
|Sailing in the dark, dodging freighters.|
|A welcome sunrise.|
|Catching 40 winks.|
As Sara and the kids started to organize the boat, I raised our yellow Q flag, then lowered the dinghy, and headed back down the channel to where the guidebook said customs and immigration was. It took a little bit of figuring out, and another trip back and forth to Monashee to get all the right paperwork done, but eventually we were cleared in to the Bahamas!
|Monashee flying her colors over the Gulf Stream.|
|He was even bigger than he looks in this picture. We think about 4 feet long. Really.|
Today, we got up, and could see the forecasted north wind and overcast skies had arrived. We were pulling hard at our anchor in about 15-20 knots of wind, which was predicted to go up to 30 in the next couple of days. The boat was sitting right at the edge of the little dredged bay, and we would only have to drag a few feet to be aground. We discussed pulling up the anchor and trying to drop it further into the middle of the little harbor. There were no other boats here, so there is lots of room, but the harbor is really busy, with sea planes and tourist boats coming and going all day. We didn't really want to be sitting in the middle of that.
So, I jumped in the dinghy, and checked out the marinas right next to us. They are both really empty, with only a couple of boats in them. I went ashore, and realized that they are part of a huge resort complex, which reminded me of Arbutus Ridge on Vancouver Island. I checked out the price for a night in the marina, and it turned out it was less than what we paid at the civic marina in Miami, but included full access to all the resort amenities, including 2 pools, nice showers and wifi.
Once I was back at the boat, it was a quick conversation to decide we were moving over to the marina. With strong winds coming in, and still exhausted from our passage, a couple of nights tied to a dock seemed to be just the thing.
So tonight, we are the only boat on this entire pier, and are firmly tied to the dock as the wind picks up in our rigging. The whole resort is dead quiet. This is definitely their low season, and one of the employees said the ferry that brings guests from Miami has been cancelled for the next few days due to high seas in the Gulf Stream. We really just squeaked in to the end of our weather window.
|Looks like we left all the boats back in Miami. No problem finding a spot for us here.|
|Infinity pool and grey skies over the Bahamas.|
|We found a mermaid in the pool.|