The Crossing

Sounds like the title to a movie or tv show, or novel, doesn’t it?

We are no longer “Bahama Bound” – we did it, we made it, and we are in the Bahamas! Our crossing was uneventful, which means it was exactly what we hoped for – no stress, no danger, no nasty conditions. That’s what “waiting for a weather window” means.

We exited the Lake Worth Inlet  on Tuesday, December 10th, at first light, around 6:20 am, following a Canadian sailboat, Lucia.

Heading out to sea through the Lake Worth Inlet

Heading out to sea through the Lake Worth Inlet 

The sunrises over the Gulf Stream

The sunrises over the Gulf Stream

The cruise ship, Bahamas Celebration, passed right by us on her way into West Palm Beach. A different way to see the Bahamas!

The cruise ship, Bahamas Celebration, passed right by us on her way into West Palm Beach. A different way to see the Bahamas than our approach!

The first hour was the roughest with winds and waves, but nothing that was upsetting. After that, things settled down as expected and we were able to sail for about 3 hours. We headed more southward for the recommended S-curve navigation to cross the northward flowing Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream will push the boat north so you must compensate for that by heading southward. Otherwise you will be farther north than your intended destination.

Once we were in the Gulf Stream our depth finder stopped working as the water depth plunged to over 1,000 feet and later to 2,500 feet. The water became the most beautiful clear, deep blue – a sapphire color that was deep, but not dark.

Beautiful deep blue sapphire water

Beautiful deep blue sapphire water

 

A beautiful day to cross the Gulf Stream!

A beautiful day to cross the Gulf Stream!

Eventually the winds slowed to a point where we needed engine assistance. The sailing was so nice while it lasted. Throughout the crossing , we watched the funny flying fish, sometimes they leaped out of the water and “flew” a short hop and other times they seemed to be skimming the surface by standing on their tail and skipping.

Nothing but blue ocean

Nothing but blue ocean

At 2:30 that afternoon, we reached Memory Rock, the “doorway” to Little Bahama Bank. Half way there, to great Sale Cay. We were out of the Gulf Stream and in the Bahamas!! The water depth suddenly goes from 1200 feet to 20 feet!! And it is as clear as can be, a turquoise color now.

We have arrived in the Bahamas - on the Bahama Bank!! Just 50 more miles to go today.

We have arrived in the Bahamas – on the Bahama Bank!! Just 50 more miles to go today.

The day became totally different at this point in the voyage. As we crossed the banks there was no wind, no seas – flat and calm. You could look over the side and see straight down to the sandy floor.

Little Bahama Bank - What a calm day we had!

Little Bahama Bank – What a calm day we had!

 

This is us looking over the bow at our reflections in the clear calm water.

Can you see us reflected in the clear, calm water as we look over the bow?

The sun set behind us over Little Bahama Bank

The sun set behind us over Little Bahama Bank

As the sun set behind us, the clouds to the south painted a different picture.

As the sun set in the west, the clouds to the south painted a different picture.

 

Just a glow on the horizon

Just a glow on the horizon

And then, it was dark with hours still to go until we could anchor at Great Sale Cay. Everyone says there is nothing to hit, no shallows, and it is perfectly safe and easy to do this in the dark. And it was. We could keep our eyes on the other sailboats who made the crossing as well (Windswept, Dreamcatcher, Lucia, and Neesa.) Occasional conversations on the VHF among us all brought a sense of community and comfort for the rookies like us.

We anchored off the western shore of Great Sale Cay, an uninhabited island that is most useful as the first stopping point for boats who have made the crossing over to the Abacos. It was so quiet. I have never “heard” quiet like that. 102 nautical miles, 15.5 hours. There were 7 boats anchored around Great Sale Cay for the night.

Up again early the next morning for the trip to Green Turtle Cay where we will clear customs and check in. We hoisted our yellow quarantine flag, hauled the anchor, and left Great Sale at 6:30 am.

Great Sale Cay, our anchorage for the night. Not much to look at, but a great spot to stop in the dark.

Great Sale Cay, our anchorage for the night. Not much to look at, but a great spot to stop in the dark.

The yellow quarantine flag must fly until a boat and its crew has cleared customs.

The yellow quarantine flag must fly until a boat and its crew has cleared customs. You can’t do anything on land until that is completed.

The Captain enjoys his bagel

The Captain enjoys his bagel

What a curious looking rock

What a curious looking rock

Enjoying the ride from the bowsprit

Enjoying the ride from the bowsprit

More cloud paintings in the sky

More cloud paintings in the sky

We had a good trip to Green Turtle Cay and are now cleared and checked in. More about that later. We have wifi, but it is slooooooooooooow. 😉

 

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