Don’t Rock the Boat, Baby!

Time to head south, but heading south from Green Turtle Cay can be tricky because you must go through one of the toughest passages in the Bahamas…..”The Whale.” Even the name is spoken with respect by sailors. There is a sandy shoal that extends from the tip of Treasure Cay on Great Abaco Island to Whale Cay which prevents “deep-draft vessels” (translate that to almost any sailboat) from traveling directly through the Sea of Abaco. Instead they must take the detour out and around Whale Cay into the ocean for a brief time.

The Sea of Abaco is flanked by Great Abaco Island and the out islands (Green Turtle Cay, etc). This diagram also shows the shoal area from Whale Cay to Treasure Cay Beach.

The Sea of Abaco is flanked by Great Abaco Island and the out islands (Green Turtle Cay, Maniac Cay etc). This diagram also shows the shoal area from Whale Cay to Treasure Cay Beach. (from drralph.net)

Before you consider this trip south, you watch and listen to all the weather reports of the wind and sea conditions for “the whale,” and look for a relatively calm and quiet passage. If a vessel picks the wrong day to go through the whale, it will face a “rage.” That sounds as nasty as it is. A rage is when deep ocean waters are churned up from easterly winds or stormy fronts. These high seas break through the narrow cut between the small islands and force themselves into the shallower waters – angry, churning waves and whitecaps that are not kind to you or your boat. I have heard people talk about seeing elephants dancing on the horizon,” which is what a rage looks like from a distance, but I’m having trouble with that image ….. elephants??

Sooooo…. On our first trip in the sailboat, we did the Whale Cay passage (had no choice.) We picked a benign day and everything went well. I even had some nice photos of our passage around the whale (Clearing Customs in Green Turtle Cay). Now that we have gone to the “dark side” (a trawler with a 4-foot draft) there is another option, known as “Don’t Rock Passage.” The advantage of this option is that the route is a shorter distance and takes less time. The disadvantage is that this passage is affected by the same conditions as The Whale is – if there are breaking waves on the outside there is likely to be breaking waves on the inside. Not only could it be just a rough in Don’t Rock Passage, but there is the risk of running aground. The weather forecast indicated that the wind and waves would be settling down on Monday. The only other factor would be the tide so that we could go through with plenty of water beneath our keel.

This nifty little diagram shows both options for a passage southward from Green Turtle.

This nifty little diagram shows both options for a passage southward from Green Turtle. (from Abaco Island Boating Tips on www.triptutor.com/travel_guides)

Before we were out of bed that morning, Al pointed out the moon and a star that he could see through the hatch above our heads.

If you can see the moon and a star, doesn't that mean there are no clouds? Good sign for the day??

If you can see the moon and a star, doesn’t that mean there are no clouds? Good sign for the day??

Another early morning and we were up while it was still dark. We planned to leave White Sound at first light shortly after high tide to have as much water as possible under the boat. We promised ourselves that if things did not look good out there we would just come back to Green Turtle.

A little sunrise

A glance back at White Sound.

A glance back at White Sound.

Things became interesting very quickly and it had nothing to do with a whale or a don’t rock. At about 6:45 am, Al heard a boat named Ambergris on the VHF asking for anyone with an SSB (single side band radio). Ambergris! I recognized the name from a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) on FaceBook. Yes, FaceBook, can you believe it? Al had seen it via Live Aboard Sailors and I had seen a posting by our friends on Magnolia. Ambergris had left Florida the same day we had, December 2nd, and had not been heard from since then. Al quickly responded on the VHF asking Ambergris if he was the missing boat. Brian, single handing on Ambergris, seemed calm and unruffled. Under sail only, he was heading to Marsh Harbor for engine repairs and was hoping someone could get a message to his friends and family that he was ok. Al told him that we did not have an SSB but would be with a boat that did in just a few hours, thinking of Magnolia in Hope Town. With the very last remnant of internet access, I messaged Annette on Magnolia about our contact with Ambergris. It was hours later that we finally heard what happened after that. I’ll let FaceBook tell that part of the story.

BOLO for Ambergris

The BOLO for Ambergris is canceled, but this posting includes the initial information that was posted.

xxx

xxx

A message form another buddy who saw it on FaceBook.

A message from another buddy who saw it on FaceBook.

It felt really good to be a part of the sailing community and help out in this team effort. Kinda cool. 🙂

Back to our passage. Heading out to the Sea of Abaco, there was a cloud with rainbow colors in the sky, an iridescent cloud. This happens when especially tiny water droplets or small ice crystals individually scatter light.

Iridescent cloud. This happens when especially tiny water droplets or small ice crystals individually scatter light. It's a tiny one but just visible in the center of the photo.

Iridescent cloud. This happens when especially tiny water droplets or small ice crystals individually scatter light. It’s a tiny one but just visible in the center of the photo.

It wasn’t a great day for this passage, but it was doable. Besides the overcast skies, again, there was a whole lot more bounce in the waters than I expected! Here we go again – 4-5 foot seas coming in from the Whale were rocking and rolling us.

It's really hard to snap a picture when everything is tilting.

It’s really hard to snap a picture when everything is tilting. I am tilted way more than the boat as I balanced myself. Maybe it was the wrong time to use the camera?

My herb plants were tied down under the solar panels on the flybridge.

My herb plants were tied down under the solar panels on the flybridge.It was even messier than it looks as the soil drifted around the bridge. The mint came totally out of its pot. I was planning to write about my onboard gardening attempt in a future blog. If they survive their traumatic travels, I will.

We experienced a near broach at one moment, as a large wave hit us broadside and rolled us over farther than anytime before. Or perhaps it just felt farther because we were up on the flybridge? Al calmly steered this baby through it all, keeping control and holding steady. The drama was short-lived, and not that awful, overall.

We could see The Whale to the west.

We could see Whale Cay to the west, those barely visible humps of land.

 Then it was time to go through the shallow water of Don’t Rock Passage. We had researched and studied the route ahead of time, finding several diagrams on the internet that showed the way,  as well as our own detailed guides in chart books. Al had the route carefully charted in both the Garmin plotter and on the iPad.

A graphic of the Don't Rock Passage

A graphic of the Don’t Rock Passage. In reality it wasn’t that straight a path. (from drralph.net)

We cautiously maneuvered through the passage, from Sand Bank Cays to the other side, Don’t Rock rock. At least, if we grounded while going slowly it would only be on sand. The depth was at least 5 feet most of the way through with an occasional 4 foot. We churned up a little sand behind us, but never touched bottom. Whew.

Sand Bank Cays, named for the sand that surrounds them, and much more visible at low tide.

Sand Bank Cays, named for the sand that surrounds them,  more visible at low tide.

Sand Bank Cays are behind us, just a little farther to go!

Sand Bank Cays are behind us, just a little farther to go!

My picture of the infamous Don't Rock is disappointing. I had been eager to get a picture of this rock as we passed it by, but without sunlight, it isn’t much to look at.

My picture of the infamous Don’t Rock is disappointing. I had been eager to get a picture of this rock as we passed by, but without sunlight, it isn’t much to look at. Isn’t “Don’t Rock” a curious name for a rock?

This is a photo of Don't Rock from the internet. This rock is featured in many guides and chartbooks about the Abacos. I never knew it was this specific rock until we researched the passage. This is what it looks like on a pretty day.

This is a photo of Don’t Rock rock from the internet. The rock is featured in many guides and chartbooks about the Abacos. I never knew it was this specific rock until we researched the passage. This is what it looks like on a pretty day, at a much lower tide.

This is our planned route (in brown) and our actual route (in green). We chose to put Don't Rock on our port side because of the direction the winds, knowing that either side of the rock was considered passable.

This is our planned route (in brown) and our actual route (in green). We chose to put Don’t Rock on our port side because of the direction the winds, knowing that either side of the rock was considered passable.

Everything was much calmer on the other side, but in tones of grays and blue-grays.

The water and sky remained a grayish.

The water and sky in tones of gray.

A little more blue??

A little more blue??

We calmly carried on towards Elbow Cay for another 2 ½ hours.

We both smiled at each other as the candy-striped lighthouse came into view.

We both smiled at each other as the candy-striped lighthouse came into view.

Feels like coming home when we see this sign again, "SLOW DOWN YOU ARE IN HOPE TOWN."

“SLOW DOWN YOUR IN HOPE TOWN.”

 Anthony greets and meets us by dinghy and points the way to a mooring.

Anthony greets and meets us by dinghy and points the way to a mooring.

The Elbow Cay Lighthouse in Hope Town Harbor.

The Elbow Cay Lighthouse in Hope Town Harbor.

We are here. Our home away from home for the next month. Or maybe longer……Who knows?

Kindred Spirit

Kindred Spirit, now in Hope Town

A “Grayish” Green Turtle Cay

After a crossing (either a good one, bad one or a so-so one), it is time for a little R&R for a few days in Green Turtle Cay. We continued to hope for better weather so that we could explore this charming island. The island is charming, but we sure didn’t get to explore it in better weather. Although it remained mostly gray, overcast, and humid for three days, that didn’t prevent us from enjoying our time here. Cruising isn’t just about the places and pretty beaches, it’s really about the people and friendships forged along the way. Spending time with Sam and Kayda and their friends on Green Turtle was priceless.

Green Turtle Cay is one of the barrier islands off the mainland Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas, and is included as part of the “Abaco Out Islands.” It is 3 miles long and 1/2 mile wide, and was named for the green turtles that were once plentiful in its waters. I guess that means the turtles are no longer “plentiful” here. Green Turtle Cay is also one of the places you can clear customs here in the Abacos, in addition to Marsh Harbour, Spanish Cay,Treasure Cay, West End, or  Walker’s Cay. We prefer stopping here in Green Turtle Cay.

Green Turtle Cay - We are moored in White Sound. The "town" of New Plymouth is at the other end of the island so we either dinghied there by water or rode with Sam and Kayda in the golf cart.

Green Turtle Cay – We are moored in White Sound. The “town” of New Plymouth is at the other end of the island so we either dinghied there by water or rode with Sam and Kayda in the golf cart.

On our first trip we had anchored in Black Sound on the southern end of the island. We were rookies and did not realize that it was too shallow at low tide for a departure. 🙁 The silver lining to that was a few more hours of exploring New Plymouth while we waited for the tide to rise. This time, we picked up a mooring in White  Sound from Brendal’s Dive Center.

We decided to take a mooring from Brenda's Dive Shop instead of anchor in White Sound.

Because of forecasted strong winds, we decided to take a mooring from Brenda’s Dive Shop instead of anchor in White Sound.

Sam & Kayda were temporarily staying in this adorable cottage near Brendal's while prepping their boat Solstice for her launch.

Sam & Kayda were temporarily staying in this adorable cottage near Brendal’s while prepping their boat, Solstice, for her launch.

Kindred Spirit sitting pretty in White Sound, Green Turtle Cay. This was the view from the porch of the cottage.

Kindred Spirit sitting pretty in White Sound, Green Turtle Cay. This was the view from the porch of the cottage.

Sunrise over White Sound

Although there was not much sunshine during the day, the sun did attempt to give us a sunrise in the early morning over White Sound.

Proof that we have been experiencing some rains here in the Bahamas..... Quite a puddle in this road. And yes, that is a road.

Proof that we have been experiencing some rains here in the Bahamas….. Quite a puddle in this road. And yes, that is a road.

Always remember that the rainbow follows the rain.

It wasn’t all gloom and dismal days – The rainbow follows the rain and reminds us that better weather will come (I keep telling myself that ….. over and over.)

Al found a surprise visitor in our dinghy one morning - a shrimp! He had barely survived the night by laying in a puddle of water. Wonder what made him jump high enough to land in our dinghy????

Al found a surprise visitor in our dinghy one morning – a shrimp! He had barely survived the night by laying in a puddle of rain water. Wonder what made him jump high enough to land in our dinghy????

The town dock at New Plymouth is a nice large one with a trash container (this is an important feature for a boater) and a very nice welcome sign.

The town dock at New Plymouth is a nice large one with a trash container (this is an important feature for a boater) and has a very nice welcome sign. Please note that AL is wearing his foul weather gear. We both were. And you know why — the threat of showers continued.

Love these pastel colored picnic tables outside of a little snack shop on the bay.

I always loved these pastel colored picnic tables outside of a little snack shop on the bay. They have had a new coat of paint since our last visit. Some day we will find the time to grab a bite to eat and actually sit here and enjoy them.

'Tis the season, just like back home in New England.

‘Tis the season, just like back home in New England.

 

The Christmas spirit is alive and thriving in the Abacos. We joined other cruisers, cottage folks, and locals at the St. Peter’s Anglican Church’s Christmas Bazaar that Saturday evening. This was a nice opportunity to support the local community, socialize, and begin the holiday season here in the Bahamas.

St. Peters Episcopal Church on the bay.

St. Peters Anglican Episcopal Church on the bay.

We ate dinner at the bazaar, but didn't buy any raffle tickets for the gift baskets. The winning tickets would be drawn at 8 pm and there was just no way we could stay out that late; we're cruisers and that's past our bedtime!

We ate dinner at the bazaar, but didn’t buy any raffle tickets for the gift baskets. The winning tickets would be drawn at 8 pm and there was just no way we could stay out that late; we’re cruisers and that’s past our bedtime!

A taste of local food - curried chicken and sweet & sour chicken.

A taste of local food – curried chicken and sweet & sour chicken.

On our ride in the golf cart to the church bazaar, we passed house after house with Christmas lights bright and shining. As a New Englander, it still seems odd to see this in such a warm climate, with palm trees, coconut trees and sand instead of evergreens and snow. But I have to say that I really appreciate the spirit that radiates from the decked out homes.

Chirstmas lights GTC

Island homes spreading Christmas cheer to all who pass by. Love it!

The town of New Plymouth also gets decked out for the holidays. Lighted arrangement on every pole and a wonderful festive "tunnel" that we passed through on our way into town.

The town of New Plymouth also gets decked out for the holidays. Lighted arrangement on every pole and a wonderful festive “tunnel” that we passed through on our way into town.

The colorful Green Turtle WELCOME sign also looks Christmasy with the red announcement of the Festival of Lights.

The colorful Green Turtle WELCOME sign also looks Christmasy with the red announcement of the Festival of Lights.

Sunday, December 6th, was a brighter day and we took advantage of it with a walk to the beaches. Hurrah!  Stretching our legs, we began with a walk to Coco Bay.

The road to Coco Bay from White Sound impartially cut through a section of limestone rock.

The road to Coco Bay from White Sound impartially cut through a section of limestone rock.

A little farther the path is covered with a canopy of feathery trees above.

A little farther the path is covered with a canopy of feathery trees.

Coco Bay! I can't tell you what a thrill it was to finally be on a Bahamian beach.

Coco Bay! We were thrilled to finally be on a Bahamian beach. Look- there is blue sky peeking through above those clouds!!

Al inspects a homemade hammock. Notice how the low lying tree branch is supported by the forked branch in the sand. All of which is partially supporting the hammock.

Al inspects a homemade hammock. Notice how the low lying tree branch is supported by the forked branch in the sand. All of which is partially supporting the hammock.

Some one has collected a lot of buoys that have washed up upon the beach.

Some one has collected a lot of buoys that have washed up upon the beach.

Once is awhile I get to be in a picture, enjoying my rest upon a natural bench.

Once in a while I get to be in a picture – enjoying my rest upon a natural “bench.”

We came upon a sign that led to a path that said  the ocean beach was just 1500 feet “that way.” Hey – why not?? Off we went to see the Atlantic Ocean. Silly us, we were barefoot so our feet took the first step to toughening up. That, plus a mini-swarm of mosquitos made this a quick walk.

And there it was!! The Atlantic Ocean!

And there it was!! The Atlantic Ocean!

We appreciated this notice to everyone that the "beaches are public." We need to share these beautiful resources, as long as we all treat them with respect.

We appreciated this notice to everyone that the “beaches are public.” We need to share these beautiful resources, as long as we all treat them with respect.

The greenery up above the high water mark was varied and lush.

The greenery up above the high water mark was varied and lush.

The surf was BIG due to many days of strong winds.

The surf was BIG due to many days of strong winds.

Lots of breakers even far out off shore. Not going out there today.

Lots of breakers even far out off shore. Not going out there — It is just for viewing today.

All along the beach, caught in the seaweed and ocean debris were these little round balls. Both of us were rather surprised when we touched them and they squished. We think they are seed cases for something or someone....

All along the beach, caught in the seaweed and ocean debris were these little round balls. Both of us were rather surprised when we touched them and they squished. We think they are seed cases for something or someone….

Our beach combing was fruitful, not in quantity, but in specialness. Al found a sea bean heart. A sea bean is a type of “drift seed,” seeds that drift on the ocean and are carried great distances, even from the African coast. They are buoyant (an internal air pocket) and very hard-shelled so that they can survive the trip. We think this one may be a “sea heart” although its indentation is not very prominent. Sea hearts are the seed of the monkey ladder vine, which grows in wet lowland tropical forests of the Caribbean, Central and South America.

Al had the best day of beach combing - look what he found at the high water mark!! A purple fan and a sea bean!!! Our first one ever.

Al had the best day of beach combing – look what he found at the high water mark!! A purple fan and a sea bean!!! Our first one ever. I’ve been told that finding a sea bean is good luck. He’s my hero.

We ended our time in Green Turtle Cay (but we plan to return in a few weeks!) visiting with Sam and Kayda. We will all connect again in Hope Town at some point.

Crossings – It’s All About the Weather, HaHa

 Like all cruisers we had been watching the weather and looking for a good window to make the crossing to the Bahamas. I re-read my old blog post about “Watching for a Weather Window, (WWW) and recalled how we had waited in Lake Worth for the best crossing day back in 2013. We decided that we really didn’t want to wait there again (not our favorite spot), so we stayed in Vero until we could see an upcoming window on Wednesday/Thursday of the week following Thanksgiving.

We left Vero Beach on Monday, stayed overnight in Fort Pierce, and then headed down to Stuart on Tuesday. In Stuart, we had lunch with Bill and Barbara, Al’s brother and sister-in-law, and spent the night at the Stuart Corinthian Yacht Club.

Stuart Corinthian Yacht Club, our last U.S. stop for a while.

Stuart Corinthian Yacht Club, our last U.S. stop for a while.

All of the weather apps looked promising for a crossing on Wednesday, December 2nd. Even the revered Chris Parker, weather guru, said that Wednesday would be fine. We were as ready as we could be, and  we were not alone in choosing this day for a crossing of the Gulf Stream. There have not been very many good weather windows for crossing in the past month, so perhaps we were all a bit anxious to take advantage of this one.

The wind prediction for Wednesday, December 2nd from 7 am to 1 pm to 4 pm. Looks okay -

The wind prediction for Wednesday, December 2nd from 7 am to 1 pm to 4 pm. Looks okay -We would be passing through the pale blue (5-10 knots)  to slightly bluer blue (10-15 knots.)

The wave height predictions were also in the lighter "blues." Color code translation = definitely less than 2 feet, which would be nice.

The wave height predictions were also in the lighter “blues.” Color code translation = definitely less than 2 feet, which would be nice.

Early Wednesday morning, just before we left the dock. So calm and peaceful, even if it was damp and humid.

Early Wednesday morning, just before we left the dock. So calm and peaceful, even if it was damp and humid.

The St. Lucie Inlet. Not many people choose this inlet for a crossing. It's a little farther north than Lake Worth, which added an hour to the passage. We balanced that with taking another whole day to travel to Lake Worth before crossing.

The St. Lucie Inlet. Not many people choose this inlet for a crossing. It’s a little farther north than Lake Worth, which added an hour to the passage. We balanced that with taking another whole day to travel to Lake Worth before crossing.

Heading out the St. Lucie Inlet.

Heading out the St. Lucie Inlet.

From my 2013 blog post —

Graphic of the water temperatures of the Gulf Stream. This time we did watch eh water temperature as it rose from 75 degrees to 84 degrees on our temperature gauge.

Graphic of the water temperatures of the Gulf Stream. This time we did watch the water temperature as it rose from 75 degrees to 84 degrees on our temperature gauge.

“The Gulf Stream is one of nature’s most formidable forces. This “stream” of warm water runs northward along the American coast traveling from two knots up to four knots with a mean of 2.5 knots. It is actually part of a larger ocean-wide system that flows from southern Florida up the eastern seaboard to the Arctic, over to England, and finally back down to Africa, along the equator, up the coast of South America, past the Caribbean Islands and into the Gulf of Mexico, and then back up the coast again – a big clockwise current of water in the ocean.  Here, in Florida, the Gulf Stream rushes through a deep narrow strait about 25 miles wide between Florida and the Bahamas. A successful (meaning not scary and frightening) passage should only be attempted when the winds are south/southeast, less than 15 knots, with seas less than 2-4 feet. Any wind out of the north will cause the seas to build in the northward flowing Gulf Stream, resulting in a very rough ride.”

Sooooo, how was this crossing?? Well, it was not fine. At least not my definition of “fine.” One recurring thought (among many) during the 16 hour passage, was that I wouldn’t even bother to write about this. I’d rather remember the first crossing or the second one. (The Crossing  and Crossing Back)

The seas were lumpy and bouncy. Instead of less than 15 knots of wind (that’s how I interpret the graph when it says 10-15 knots), they were more like 15 – 20. The waves were not less than 2 feet, but were more like 4-plus feet. That may not sound significantly different in the big scheme of things, but let me tell you, it feels very different! I rarely (meaning only once in my life) feel seasick, and I was queasy for hours this time. I resorted to drinking ginger tea and even took a meclizine pill (motion sickness pill). Occasionally, I took some photos, but when I look at them now, it just doesn’t look like what we experienced. On the other hand, I never once felt frightened or afraid, just plain old uncomfortable and nauseous. That’s bad enough.

Our wake in the seas behind us.

Our wake in the seas behind us.

IMG_0172

IMG_0169

For those of you who prefer a little “action”, you can take a look at this 14 second video that I thought might capture the feeling a bit more than still shots. This was 14 seconds out of 57,600 seconds of crossing from Florida to Great Sale Cay, Bahamas. Click on this link —  Crossing the Gulf Stream

Things were rocking and rolling in the cabin, so I slipped an old sock over the middle mugs to keep them from crashing and banging.

Things were rocking and rolling in the cabin, so I slipped an old sock over the middle mugs to keep them from crashing and banging.

We had hoped that the seas would be calmer once we crossed the Gulf Stream and reached the Little Bahama Bank where the water rapidly decreases from 2,000 feet to 30 feet. Not much calmer.   🙁

The sun set behind us, providing some color in the sky, but nothing spectacular. Too cloudy.

The sun set behind us, providing some color in the sky, but nothing spectacular. Too cloudy.

After 16 hours and 40 minutes and 110 nautical miles, we anchored off of Great Sale Cay on the Little Bahama Bank just before midnight. By then, the wind and seas were calming down significantly, but the air was still seriously humid, with some lightening shows in the distance.

Great Sale Cay on the chart. It's the best I can do since it was too dark to photograph.

Great Sale Cay on the chart. It’s the best I can do since it was too dark to photograph. We anchored on the northwest side (upper left) of the island. Most boats anchor in that southern fork.

Eager to get going again, we pulled up anchor and left Great Sale Cay at 6:30 am.

Good Morning

Good Morning

Early morning at Great Sale Cay -- now those are calm seas.

Early morning at Great Sale Cay — now those are calm seas!

Al hoists the "Q flag", the quarantine flag, that must be flown once you enter the Bahamas, but before you have cleared customs.

Al hoists the “Q flag”, the quarantine flag, that must be flown once you enter the Bahamas, but before you have cleared customs.

The conditions were far better today on our second day of this crossing from Florida into the Bahamas, but the weather was hot and humid, with some rain and some sun.

Passing by the "Center of the World" rock. We remembered it from our return trip last time, but still don't know how it ever got that name.

Passing by the “Center of the World” rock. We remembered it from our return trip last time, but still don’t know how it ever got that name.

We also remembered this sailboat from the first trip. Still there, not eh same rock, but minus the mast now.

We also remembered this sailboat from the first trip. Still there, on the same rock, but minus the mast now.

The best part, the very best part, of these two days was finally reaching water that is clear and shades of beautiful blues and greens.

We can see the bottom!

We can see the bottom!

Changes in the color of the water - the paler blue .out there is a very shallow area

Changes in the color of the water – the paler blue out there is a very shallow area.

water color changes3

BLUE water, pretty even in the hazy conditions.

Seven hours after leaving Great Sale Cay, we approached Green Turtle Cay, our destination for now. We anchored just out from the New Plymouth harbor so that we could  clear customs.

Kindred Spirit, anchored off of Green Turtle Cay

Kindred Spirit, anchored off of Green Turtle Cay

The Captain is signing documents, after the Admiral is filling them out. The lovely customs lady is so sweet and helpful, it is a pleasure to clear customs here.

The Captain is signing documents, after the Admiral (me)  fills them out. The lovely customs lady is so sweet and helpful, it is a pleasure to clear customs here.

After we cleared customs, we decided it was time to celebrate! At the "Suga' Shack" with ice cream!

After we cleared customs, we decided it was time to celebrate! At “Mo-Mo’s Suga’ Shack” with ice cream!

"Pirate's Plunder", an appropriate chocolate flavor, and quite yummy.

We may be very tired, but ice cream always tastes good. “Pirate’s Plunder”, an appropriate chocolate flavor, and quite yummy.

Next step is to move over to White Sound, the northern part of Green Turtle Cay where we will take a mooring for a few days.

Next step is to move over to White Sound, the northern part of Green Turtle Cay where we will take a mooring for a few days.  Follow the green and red balls that mark the channel!

We are so fortunate to have our friends, Sam and Kayda, waiting for us in Green Turtle and ready to welcome us here to the Bahamas. While they are prepping their boat, Solstice, for  her launch, they took care of us — hot showers, good dinner, and air conditioning in the house they are staying in. Ahhhhh, relief.

Sam and Kayda welcome us with open arms! :-)

Sam and Kayda welcome us with open arms! 🙂

Although we were tired, we revived enough to join Sam and Kayda and a few other cruisers at the Leeward Yacht Club in Black Sound for drinks and music.

Although we were tired, we revived ourselves enough to join Sam and Kayda and a few other cruisers at the Leeward Yacht Club in Black Sound for drinks and music.

Al, me, Sam and Kayda at Leeward Yacht Club

Al, me, Sam and Kayda at Leeward Yacht Club — Yeah!!! So good to be here.

WE ARE IN THE BAHAMAS ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

We did it, we made it across. A bouncy crossing, but we are here now.  What lesson did I learn?? You can’t always trust the weather forecast, so whatever “they” say, increase the wave height and the winds. Does that mean we only cross when the winds are 0-5 and the waves are 5 inches or less????