Is Spam in the Bahamas really $9.00? Find out in the November issue of SAIL Magazine, featuring an article by Yours Truly! Peter Nielsen over at SAIL asked me a while back for a piece with tips on preparing for a trip to the Bahamas. So, Phillip and I put our heads together and came up with a few key factors to consider when prepping for the Bahamas and what provisions and supplies we would recommend stocking the boat with. For us, it all started with the Explorer charts. Those are a must! I hope you all grab a copy of the November issue soon and let me know what you think of the article. Many thanks to the hard-working crew over at SAIL Magazine for putting this one together. We love it!
And, stay tuned next time as we will be announcing our cruising plans this winter in a fun new video next week. You’ll never guess where we’re going!! : D
Enough with this maintenance in Marsh Harbour! It’s time to get sailing and set our hopes on Hopetown. This was one of our favorite stops in the Abacos. Many cruisers live here full-time on a ball in the harbor which gives the place a very welcoming, community feel. There are lots of quirky little shops, beautiful flower-lined roads and bike paths, great restaurants and the stunning Hopetown Lighthouse, one of the oldest manual Kerosene-lit lighthouses in the world. Phillip and I were incredibly fortunate to score a ball in the harbor our VERY FIRST night there (some people have waited years for one) and enjoyed a stunning three-day stay at Hopetown. Enjoy the snorkeling in Marsh Harbour, our sporty sail over to Hopetown, and a bike tour around picturesque Hopetown in the video and photos below. Stay tuned next time for a trip to Little Harbor, a little-known hurricane hole at the south end of the Abacos where we were welcomed by friends who had just built an amazing little bungalow there. Plenty more to come!
On our way back to Marsh Harbour. We were thrilled to find that a Delta flight opened up recently from Atlantic directly to Marsh Harbour, so that makes leaving the boat in the Bahamas while we fly back and forth to handle issues at home much easier!
I love the view from a plane window. So much to see!
While we were thrilled to return, after leaving out boat in Marsh Harbour for six weeks while we flew back to Pensacola to handle some work things (and another huge thanks (and yet she still deserves dozens more!) to fellow Marsh Harbour live-aboard, Diane, who sent us amazing photos of our boat every couple of days while we were gone), we had plenty of work to do to open up and clean the boat and re-provision and prepare her for another two months of cruising in the Bahamas. We spent the first day cleaning her, filling the batteries and propane, grocery shopping, turning the engine over, etc. And, we were pleased to find our baby was just as excited as we were to have us back and she was full of juice and cranked right up on the first try! Way to go Plaintiff’s Rest!
We were pleased to find, having left our Kanberra gel bins full while we were gone, that the boat smelled super fresh when we opened her up for the first time in six weeks and there was hardly any mold on the ceiling. (In Pensacola, pre-Kanberra, we used to have tons of mold that we had to constantly wipe away with Clorox wipes during the summer). This Kanberra stuff is the real deal people!
Filling the batteries. Ours are Trojan wet cells that we have to fill with distilled water about every 30 days – 6 weeks. I always laugh because Phillip looks like a coal miner when he does it!
We were thrilled the find our fancy wine bags were still in tact!
It had rained a good bit in Marsh Harbor while we were gone, which was actually a good thing because it kept the bilge flushed out and fresh. We emptied her one time down to bone-dry to watch anew for any possible new leaks.
Then after all that work, it was time to go snorkeling in Marsh Harbour! I got some great footage of the fishies and plant life in the video. Hope you all enjoyed it!
Post-snorkel meal at the Jib Sheet. Oh yeeaaaahhhh!
We packed away our Bahamas courtesy flag while we were gone. She was only a little tattered from her first six weeks in the Abacos!
Back to our happy place! Sundowners and read-time in the cockpit of Plaintiff’s Rest!
I made a new friend at the marina, too. This amazing Labradoodle was so cute. She would sit in this chair, looking very much like a human being, and watch as people walked by. She was darling!
Sunrise over Harbourview Marina!
Time to de-dock (that’s a word in Annie land) and get this boat moving over to Hopetown!
It was a great day sailing, with winds of 18-20 kts. On the nose, but we’ve got much better at reefing down our offshore 90% working jib (“Wendy”) so now anything up to 20 kts is still comfortable for us on the boat. That did not used to be the case with our 135 genoa!
Following our waypoints on the Explorer charts to a “T.” I love those charts! They make cruising the Bahamas, even with a six-foot draft effortless. Just follow their lat and lons and play the tides and you are golden!
We couldn’t reach anyone via the radio to see if there was an open ball in the Harbor at Hopetown (we were pretty sure they’re wouldn’t be as folks had told us cruisers covet those balls and hold them often for years), so we dropped the hook on the outside and dinghied into the Harbor to get a lay of the land. It was kind of nice, too, to traverse that narrow inlet for the first time in our tiny little rubber boat, not the big beauty!
And, we totally scored!! After talking to a few boats, asking around about a potential open ball (and having a few of them lightheartedly chuckle at us), we were finally sent to a guy named Dave on a catamaran who unofficially monitors the balls, and he got us in touch with this amazing guy, Truman, who runs the balls at the Harbor, and as luck would have it a couple was leaving that afternoon, so we were going to spend our evening ON THE BALL! Phillip and I knew exactly how lucky we were and we were super excited! But, the ball would not open up for a another few hours, so we headed to shore to grab a bite and explore!
And Hopetown, of course, did not disappoint. Stunning Atlantic shores, crystal blue waters, stretches of white stunning beach. It was everything we hoped it would be (no pun intended … okay maybe just a little one ; ).
We ate here at Brandon’s Bar on the beach, an awesome little salty lunch spot overlooking the Atlantic Ocean!
These pictures don’t really do it justice. But the sunsets and sunrises in the Harbor at Hopetown were breathtaking. It was all you could do to just sit and watch and look around. Something about all the boats floating around you and the colors on the water were just mesmerizing.
Time to go see what this lighthouse is all about!
Beautiful little flower-lined streets guided us along the way. One of my favorite things about the Abacos are all the rich, luscious colors that greet you just walking the streets. All of the pathways and roads are also very narrow, which means no freaking stink-pot, tank-sized SUVs. Thank goodness! Just little golf carts and foot traffic. I have to say there is no part of me that misses the consumerism and traffic of the states. None.
You cannot NOT go to the Bahamas and NOT get conch fritters (three times at least to compare at different places! ; )
There’s the lighthouse! One of the last remaining manual, kerosene-lit lighthouses in the world. This beauty was completed in 1864 and used to guide ships around the treacherous Elbow Reef.
We signed the book! S/v Plaintiff’s Rest was here! 101 lighthouse steps we never fear!
Isn’t the view from the top amazing? The striking colors of the water is always what catches my eyes and breath when we view the Bahamas from up high.
Got myself a little Hopetown Lighthouse trinket (and proceeds for buying this beauty go toward lighthouse preservation and restoration). Cute huh?
Then it was time to explore more of that awesome little island. We rented bikes (24 hours for $24, very reasonable) and spent the next day and a half biking around Hopetown.
It was even cooler to see the lighthouse from our ball in the Harbor after we had walked all the way to the top and saw the view from up there.
We left this little thank-you note and our “ball fees” ($20/night) on Dave’s catamaran, along with a bottle of white and one of my books as big thanks for his help in enabling us to score a ball our very first time there. We certainly enjoyed our time and can easily say Hopetown is one of our favorite stops in the Abacos. But, gees, it’s hard to even pick favorites. There are so many. Hope you all enjoyed the video and photos. Next time, we will take you to Little Harbour at the south end of the Abacos and Pete’s Pub! Stay tuned!
Ironically, it wasn’t a great “sail” at all to Great Sale Cay, but it was one of the most memorable trips Phillip and I have made on our boat. Visually, the most striking, for sure. As Phillip put it: “It was like motoring across a swimming pool.” AND IT WAS.
Hello followers! We sure hope you guys are enjoying the tales from our Bahamas Voyage. And, some pretty cool videos to boot! Last time, we took you from our check-in point at West End, through our first tricky inlet into Little Bahamas Bank at Memory Rock (we made it! Whew!), and then on to Mangrove Cay—the first cay (pronounced “key”) we stopped at in the Bahamas. It was also our first time diving into those crystal green waters and—albeit a little bit chilly—it was very cool to look down and be able to count almost every link of the chain. The water was just so clear! But, we had no idea what was still in store. After a beautiful night on the hook at Mangrove Cay, Phillip and I weighed anchor at sunrise again the following day, early because we wanted more time before sundown to venture off the boat and go exploring, and the passage from Mangrove to Great Sale Cay turned out to be one our most memorable legs of our entire Bahamas Voyage. Enjoy!
Everywhere I looked, it was mesmerizing. My eyes couldn’t travel fast enough to take it all in. Over the toerail, the water was a crystal, shimmering green. The sand at the bottom, a blinding white. Up ahead, the sky a blaze of pink. The water ahead of our bow mirroring it perfectly.
I hate to say it, but after a while, with every moment looking something like this, we were almost numbed by the beauty. After a few weeks in the Abacos, with a dozen stunning Bahamian shorelines under our belt, Phillip and I would sometimes poke our way through thick, mangrove-laden trails, step out to the shoreline on the other side and say, “Oh just another beach.” When it, in every way, was NOT! Every beach was unique. Every shoreline is beautiful in a different way. See?
But, we encountered views like this so often, they somehow started to become the norm. This is just what life looks like over there. I had to slap myself sometimes to try to bring back that “first time” feeling of our first day in Little Bahamas Bank when it stole my breath away. Christmas Eve Day, 2017, Phillip and I made our first trip cay-to-cay across the Little Bahamas Bank, and I will never forget the feeling when I saw the bow of our boat gliding over shimmering green waters. While the day before motoring to Mangrove Cay had been stunning, our view to the bottom, while still very pretty, was a little more shimmery and disturbed:
Now, without a wisp of wind in the air and water so still you could count blades of grass on the bottom, our view on the way to Great Sale Cay looked like this:
Believe it or not, that boat is moving. We are underway. But even then, you could make out just about every sand dune on the bottom. Hell, every grain. The clarity was alarming. And I felt like I could feel the boat’s excitement, too. She was looking down, looking left then right, then left again and saying to us: “Can you see? Can you see? Look what I’m swimming in!”
It was just … stunning. My words can’t do it justice. Neither can these photos, but they can at least give a sense of the “swimming pool” effect we experienced that day.
Try to guess how deep that is. Seriously. Take a moment. Really look at what you’re seeing: little dunes in the sand, grains of sand, the very texture of the bottom. Now close your eyes and give it a mental guess.
What number did you choose?
If you said thirteen you would be right. But, that’s just the water depth. Though you would never guess it, including the freeboard, our bow, as you see it right there, is about eighteen feet from the bottom. Eight. Teen. Crazy, right? Water so clear it even reflected our bow in the water.
And completely melted the water into the sky. Can you find the horizon?
Amazing, right? While I knew the Bahamas would be beautiful, the things that seemed to strike me the most were phenomenons I couldn’t have imagined. Like seeing to the bottom in 13 feet of water. Seeing a crisp shadow of ourselves waving in water. And not seeing the horizon. It was about a six-hour motor from Mangrove Cay over to Great Sale Cay and Phillip and I spent the day on a lavish, sun-soaked passage—reading, napping, and lounging on the deck.
Oh, and eating. We love to do that, too. Phillip made French Toast from the fresh-baked Bahamian bread I had bought from the lovely lady who came by our boat selling it out of a dock cart back at West End, and it was nothing short of scrumptious!
Phillip took his plate topside, held it out with arms open wide and shouted “I’m Phillip and THIS is my world!”
It’s an often-repeated rendition we like to do of the famous Johnny Walker, who crewed with us, under our esteemed Captain, Yannick, when we helped Yannick deliver his 46’ Soubise Freydis Catamaran from Pensacola to Roscoff, France across the Atlantic Ocean in 2016. I believe it was day two or three after we had shoved off, when Yannick, Johnny, Phillip, and I were motoring across the Gulf and Johnny threw his arms out side-to-side and shouted: “I’M JOHNNY, AND THIS IS MY WORLD!”
That Johnny Walker (his real name by the way) was quite the character. Well, Johnny, if the Atlantic Ocean was your world, we’ll claim the Little Bahamas Bank as ours that day. And what a helluva way to spend Christmas Eve Day!
Not to mention, we were only half-way through the day, too! After one of our most exquisite passages, Plaintiff’s Rest dropped her anchor around noon that day and the crew immediately set off exploring. We jumped in for a refreshing rinse, then Phillip blew up our SUP to paddle to shore. We had read in the Explorer Charts and Steve Dodge’s Guide to the Abacos (we cannot recommend those highly enough) that there was a part of Great Sale Cay so narrow it’s a walk-over cut-through to the other side.
Phillip, ever the adventurer, wanted to paddle to shore to check it out and see what he could find on the other side. Off you go Paddington!
“I have a little surprise for you on the GoPro footage,” Phillip told me, an hour so later, when he came back. Do you know what he found over there?? Can you see him?
Yep! Our first stingray! But, boy was I surprised to see Phillip had got this close to him. Watch that tail. Eek!
Here you can see Phillip’s reflection on the stingray in the water. Right after he’d stirred up the sand to lay a nice coating on himself for camouflage. So cool how they can do that. You’ll see in the video!
“Alright let me at it!” I told Phillip after I’d seen the footage and he told me where he’d spotted the stingray. Time for this sailor to go exploring too!
While it was a bit of a haul to shore (as cautious Bahamian-cruising newbies, we had anchored way, way out), with calm, glassy waters and beautiful views, it was definitely worth the trip!
And, I was surprised that I was able to find the very stingray Phillip had. He was probably still sitting in the very same place! First Stingray Selfie! Heck Yeah!
With the sun just starting to set, however, and our boat now sitting still and calmly anchored, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Watching the sun sink slowly while I’m twirling, spinning, and hanging from silks is one of my favorite things to do. And, it doesn’t hurt that the photos and footage that come from it are pretty darn stunning, too.
A fabulous silks-at-sunset session for you all in the video below. Some of my favorite silks photos on our boat yet. Life is so good. Hope you all are enjoying the Bahamas blogs and videos. Next up, we make our way over to spend Christmas Day at Pensacola Cay. (I mean … our namesake!? We had to!). And show you what we decided to leave there at the “Signing Tree.” Stay tuned!
“What’s in the Goombay Smash?” I asked the our dark-skinned Bahamian bartender.
“Well, first you start wit da coconut rum … ” she started in. When she finished, Phillip piped up:
“What’s in your Bahama Mama?” he asked.
“Well, first you start with da coconut rum … ” she rattled on again. Every drink it seems, in the Bahamas, “starts with the coconut rum.” And you have to say that with an “Island accent, Mon.” You can also probably guess Phillip and I said it plenty during the entire trip. Every happy hour began with us concurring: “First you start wit da coconut rum.”
Heck yeah! Cheers!
Ahoy followers. In HaveWind time, we have just entered the Bahamas. How cool is that? Last time we took you along on a beautiful, glassy passage across the Gulf Stream. Thankfully, we had a wonderful window open up for us which allowed a smooth two-day passage all the way from Key West to West End with winds of only 5 kts or less (albeit north) in the Stream.
Our decision to explore the northern Abacos first was both weather- and wind-dependent. We knew, right off the cusp of hurricane season, in December and January, that frequent north fronts pop up which are usually brief but intense, but the “Christmas Winds” (often 15-25 kts) definitely blow. Fellow cruisers (shout-out to BaBaLu if you see this Bob! : ) had told us the barrier islands in the northern Abacos offer many good anchorages and marinas, that could provide reliable protection during those frequent fronts. For this reason, rather than choosing to shoot straight across the Great Bahamas Bank first and head first for the more remote, spacious islands of the Berries and Exumas, we decided to ride the Stream as far north as we could (to West End) so we would enter the Bahamas near the Little Bahamas Bank and begin our exploration up north in the protected Abacos.
Here are some of the various routes cruisers often choose to traverse the Bahamas:
We also knew the first thing we would want once the winds started to blow, would be a nice stretch of beach on the Atlantic shore to allow us to tear up some ocean surf on our kites. The fact that we like when the wind blows 20-25 kts was one very big advantage for Phillip and I, because we did experience many, many, (many!) windy days in the Bahamas in December and January. If this was typical of a winter season there (which the locals seemed to say it was, albeit a bit colder and windier), then plan to have your wetsuits for winter water activities because the water was a bit cold (around 68 degrees once we got further north and into the Atlantic). And, as far as the wind goes, either make sure you have enough books and games to occupy you for those days spent on the boat or … just a suggestion … but you can always pick up kitesurfing!!! It’s never too late! Phillip and I had some wicked sessions in the Bahamas, that we cannot wait to share with you!
But, first, we must check in! There are only about two dozen places you can check in (i.e., clear customs) in the Bahamas. We chose West End because it was the furthest north point of entry. We were pleased to find the channel to West End was well-marked and easy to navigate. As you guys already probably know, Phillip and I always try to plan to enter a new port during the daytime, and we came in around 8:00 a.m., well after the sun had risen, so the channel was easy to spot using our Explorer Charts and Steve Dodge’s Guide to the Abacos. Highly recommend those. If you are planning a trip to the Bahamas, they’re the first thing you should buy and start studying.
The deck hands at West End were really nice, too, helping us get docked safe and sound and telling us everything we needed to know about the check-in process. It was really exciting to see our baby girl docked in the exotic (okay, exotic to meee) Bahamas for the first time! Just look at her!
The cruising permit for the Bahamas is $150 and allows the boat to stay in the islands for one year and you (the cruiser) are permitted to come and go for 90 days, then you have to renew if you are planning to stay longer. More info about the customs process and cruising permits if you are interested here. We found the check-in process to be super easy. They opened at 9:00 a.m. and it was just a quick 15-minute run-through, then we were stamped and official!
Our next chore (as it always is when we dock up after an offshore passage), was to wash the boat down. Even at $0.35/gal for the water at the marina, it was well worth it. Our baby was salty. But once clean, she was ready to proudly don her new colors! The brilliant yellow, blue and black of her Bahamian courtesy flag! See you later “Q!”
We really knew nothing about West End and found it to be a fantastic little quaint resort with a tiki bar and restaurants, beach games, poolside cabanas and music, surfboards and paddle boards all lined on the beach for you to play with and use on the stunning Atlantic coast.
What was the most important “toy” on the beach, though? These huge hammocks for napping!
Because boy did we. One goombay smash and a belly full of conch salad and this team was out!
“First you start wit da coconut rum … ”
“Add some tasty conch salad, yum … ”
“Then you’re out for the count, Mon!” ; )
That siesta will probably fall up there in one of my Top Ten favorite naps. Man, I may need to recount those some day, as a few are whirring through my mind right now. That would be a fun blog! Do you think you could recount your Top Ten siestas?
Our next big treat in West End was something we had both been looking forward to, you could literally say, for years. I’ll never forget Pam Wall’s energetic little booming voice when we first saw and heard her speak at the Miami Boat Show in February, 2015. “Go to the Bahamas!” she squealed. Visions of green waters, sea turtles and palm trees instantly filled my head. And Pam chimed back in with “Fill yourself with their fresh Bahamian bread!” Mmmmm … Phillip and I had been talking about that Bahamian bread ever since. Pam probably mentioned it 8-10 times in her speech. They should make it a drinking game. Go to one of her Bahamas seminars and each time she mentions “Bahamian bread,” you each take a shot of rum. I can promise you’d be a happy sailor after that speech. *hiccup*
But, I didn’t know where we were going to get the bread initially. Did they only serve it at restaurants, or perhaps in bakeries? Or only the locals baked it for themselves and you had to know someone who knew someone who could buy a loaf for you? I had no clue, but that’s what makes it an adventure. I had just wrapped my first “spa experience” of the trip (this is what Phillip and I now call a nice hot marina shower, thanks to some friendly cruisers in Pensacola Cay who coined the term for us).
Ahhh … a whole new person! Post-shower selfie to send to the (other) Captain!
And, I was setting up our cockpit table on the boat with a perfectly-chilled bottle of wine that we had been saving for this specific event: the day we made it across the Gulf Stream and had finally docked in the Bahamas. I was waiting for Phillip to finish his “spa treatment” to join me. I don’t know if you know this, but Phillip is a bit of a shower diva. If he is craving a luxurious long, hot shower, he’s going to get it. Trust me! I’m usually back from the showers before him, but I was perfectly content to wait.
Just then I saw a cheerful-looking elderly black woman with what appeared to be her granddaughter happily walking the docks, her granddaughter heaving and pulling a dock cart that was about twice her size behind her. I didn’t know what she was doing, but I watched for a bit as she and the adorable little girl walked the cart down our finger pier and the woman began to look eagerly at each boat, I sensed looking for people aboard. I also sensed she may be trying to sell us something that I figured I wasn’t going to want. I’m not much of a souvenirey-type person and I didn’t know if the locals would try to panhandle a bit or sell you their wares. I had no clue and I was prepared to politely decline and send her along so Phillip and I could enjoy our celebration alone. But, then she said those magic words. Words I could in no way turn down. Words that would have prompted me to invite her right down into our cockpit and pop the bubbly with her myself.
“Would you like to buy some fresh-baked Bahamian bread?” she asked.
A little stunned, I struggled to answer at first. Thinking to myself, ”Oh, so this is how you get it? They just come dockside and sell it? How freaking convenient!”
“Yes!” I practically shouted. “I want two!” And two I got. A fresh white loaf (I figured you have to try the original) and, upon the woman’s expert recommendation, a cinnamon raisin loaf as well. Only $5.00 a piece for those heavenly loaves. Phillip and I then enjoyed a true Bahamian feast. Crisp popped champagne to celebrate all the months and prep work that went into our voyage to the Bahamas with fresh Bahamian bread to boot! Still warm from the oven. Pam, you would have eaten the whole thing! (We almost did!)
Definitely a memorable moment worth celebrating. Cheers! The celebration continued with our first night out on Bahamian soil at a glorious, decadent little restaurant right next to the marina where we indulged on even more Bahamian bread and lobster tail. Mmm-mmm-hmmm!
While West End was a very cute little place, Phillip and I had already made our mind up that we wouldn’t stay long. It was just for us to check-in, clean the boat, fill the tanks and get ready to toss the lines the following morning to make our way into Little Bahamas Bank. Our study of the Explorer Charts in the many months before our departure date told us there were essentially two routes you could take from West End into Little Bahamas Bank. One is known as the “Indian Cut” and–we were told–this route could be, in some places and depending on the tide, a “very skinny six feet.” Leery of this option, particularly as it would be our first trek into the Bahamas, we opted for the longer route up north to Memory Rock, where there is a well-known inlet right next to Memory Rock that, albeit narrow but if followed closely, allows a good 10-12 feet of clearance into Little Bahamas Bank, even at low tide.
“Yeah, that one,” I remember telling Phillip many months ago. “The ten foot one.”
We do not like skinny water. Some more info on those two different routes, Indian Cut and Memory Rock, for you here. While our time in the Bahamas has definitely made us (because you just have to get used to it) more tolerant in shallow depths, we still do not opt to risk depths that are too shallow for our boat if we can avoid it. With many Bahamian cays and harbors now behind us, I can now say we have traveled in depths of 5.8’ and we didn’t touch bottom. While our manufacturing specs on the Niagara claim we have a draft of 5.2′, that’s a testament to the boat when it is dry. Not when it’s loaded down with the many, many bags of wine, booze, canned goods, water, oil, engine parts, sails, etc. All that stuff that is necessary for cruising, but that brings the boat down lower in the water. Well, we can now safely saw we are least not 5.8’. But how close we were to hitting bottom at that point in time, I do not want to know. Thankfully we knew it was soft, so we were clenched and braced for a sandy bump or two. But we’re thrilled it did not happen!
Phillip and I had also decided to leave West End as early as light would allow so we could navigate Memory Rock in the bright, safe light of day as well as make it to our first intended stop, Mangrove Cay, also before the sun went too far down so we would have sufficient light to safely anchor. Our next intended stop thereafter would be Great Sale Cay before we made our way north into the Sea of Abaco. Here is a map of our destinations:
I’ll admit, Phillip and I were both a little nervous about navigating Memory Rock. Much of our work, education and training this past year (particularly my Sea School and Captain’s License courses) were meant to prepare us for encounters just like this–hairy, rocky inlets that would require keen and precise navigation to ensure our prized possession and our ticket to world travel didn’t collide into a reef or rock and cause significant damage. Following the explicit Explorer Charts headings and Pam Wall’s incredibly helpful and adamant advice to “not turn east into Little Bahamas Bank until you are with 1/4 mile of Memory Rock. 1/4 mile!” she screeched to us via the Delorme (which by the way proved very helpful in making navigation and weather routing decisions such as these).
So we didn’t. We watched the depths as they dropped from 20 to 15 to 12 ft and did not turn right into the Bank until our GPS coordinates were within .25 of the coordinates for Memory Rock. Then we turned, watched the depths, which remained between 11 and 13 and carefully traversed our way along the path detailed by the Explorer Charts. Soon we found ourselves back in a safe 17 feet of water breathing big sighs of relief, so happy we had our first “hairy” entrance behind us.
While planning and dreaming about the Bahamas for many months in 2017, navigating the sometimes tricky and dangerous reefs and rocky inlets was not something Phillip and I were looking forward to. But it’s something you have to accept and prepare for if you want to travel to places like this. It’s the “eustress” (I call it) of cruising, the good kind of stress. And, it was well worth enduring this time, because Phillip and I were rewarded with crystal-clear, lush water soon after we made our way into Little Bahamas Bank. Both of us could not stop staring. There were so many shades of jewel-toned greens, crystal blues, pearly whites, all swirling and flowing underneath our boat. The water was breathtaking!
It was the first time we were watching our boat traverse over the crystal waters of the Bahamas, and I swear it’s like you could feel her perking up, raising her bow, looking around and taking it all in. Plaintiff’s Rest was just as excited to be there as we were. We knew when we saw those colorful, can’t-really-describe them waters that we had made it–into the Bahamas! We motored over to Mangrove Cay just in time to drop the hook, with an hour or two of daylight so we could do our first Bahamian anchor check, which can practically be done from the boat, because you can see down, even to 13 feet and almost make out the anchor exactly. You’ll see in the video! But we were ready to get wet!
A quick dip and it was soon time for happy hour, a stunning sunset, and a special Chef Phillippe dinner on the boat. (I believe it was Cuban-style mojo pork tenderloin with black beans and yellow rice that night, but don’t quote me on that. We eat so good on the boat, every night is finer than a five-star gourmet feast!)
Our plan was to get up with the sun again the next day so we could make it well within daylight to our next stop, Great Sale Cay, and spend more time playing and exploring there before nightfall. And while I would have never believed it, the water that day was even more beautiful, easily the most breathtaking of our entire trek through the Abacos. Just. You. Wait. There’s a little preview of it at the end of the video, and some footage we are very excited to share, coming at you next time. Can you say a Silks Session at Sunset??
Yeeeessss. That’s all coming to you next time. For now go with us! Check in at West End, down your first Goombay Smash (followed by a hammock crash) and join us as we make our way into Little Bahamas Bank! Enjoy!