Friday, April 10, 2009

In the Bahamas, Mon!

We left Key Biscayne last Saturday morning 4/4 heading to the Bahamas. We had a beautiful, uneventful crossing of the Gulf Stream. It took about 8 1/2 hours. During our trip we saw a whale! Well, we saw its spout but Tidehiker, our buddy boat who was behind us, actually saw the whale. It was moving pretty fast for something that big.

Our destination was a small, private island, Cat Cay, which is just south of Bimini. (Cay is pronounced Key.) We got into a slip at the marina and filled out all the paperwork for customs. This is certainly still a very paper intensive place! Only the captains from the boats can actually check in and that they did with the very nice Mrs. Kara Bowleg, a Bimina native (yes, that really was her name). Neither Vicki nor I was supposed to leave our boats until they got back but we decided it was margarita time. After all, we are in the Bahamas. Below is the entrance to Cat Cay harbor.
The flag etiquette is that before we arrive to clear customs we fly the yellow quarantine flag from the front of the boat. Then when we have officially cleared customs, and paid our money, and have our permits, we change that to the Bahamian flag so that the government knows we are 'official'. Then the rest of the crew is allowed to leave the boat.

We left the next morning for another long day. The trip across the Bahama Banks to the Berry Islands was 81 miles due East in about 15' of water the entire distance, which took 11 1/2 hours starting at 5:00 am (yes, folks we do occasionally see that 5:00!!!) . Below are pictures following Tidehiker in the dawn light. It was black when we left and a good learning experience for both of us. As the sun rose it was a beautiful sight.We ended up in a very small marina on a very small island called Frazer's Hog Key. I don't know who Frazier is and we didn't see any hogs but we did have a good time. The marina only held about 4 boats and the marina restaurant consisted of 2 tables and 5 chairs at the bar! Bad weather was coming in (read that big winds) so we stayed there for 3 nights. Marinas usually charge by the foot, anywhere from $1 to upwards of $4. The Berry Island Marina only charged us $15 a night plus electricity which was $25 a day because they have to generate their own electricity. Good deal. We enjoyed the rum punches made by Herbie and the conch fritters made by his aunt Hilda. Below Lynnie is walking down the dock. Tidehiker was on the left and Rickshaw was on the right.
Above, Rick, Lynnie, Herbie and Vicki. What a great time we had.

Click here to see our location on Frazer's Hog Cay. You can zoom in to see the small 'T' dock where our boats were (although you can't actually see the boats.)

We were happy to get going to Nassau yesterday morning as the small island was getting really small! Nassau is the jumping off point for the Exumas. The trip to Nassau crosses a very deep (about 6000' ) body of water called the Tongue of the Ocean. Both Rick and Norm tried their hands at fishing in the deep blue water, hoping to catch a big Mahi Mahi. Rick got one good strike about 5 miles from Nassau.However, Rick's fish made off with one of his new $7 lures. I hope the fish enjoys it. There is always tomorrow!! We are now in Nassau with great internet access so we thought we should update the blog since it may be a while until we have access again. Yesterday we washed the boat and did some boat chores.
We're at the Nassau Harbour Club marina where water is $8/day which is cheap in the Bahamas - no kidding. It's typically 20-40 cents/gallon. This is why we invested in a watermaker to make our own H2O onboard from ocean water - quick payback. Electricity is also out of sight in the Bahamas - up to $50/night or 65 cents/kw hour. This is why we anchor out and use our own generator to make electricity. We paid the $8 here for water to wash the boat, but plan to run the generator for power instead of plugging in. Below are the sights entering Nassau Harbor. The first is the Atlantis, a combination of Disney and Las Vegas. The second was just a pretty sight of some new condos on Paradise Island which is aross from our marina. Click here to see our location in Nassau Harbor.

Today we walked down to the area known as Potter's Cay where there are many local food and vegetable stalls. Because it is Good Friday, many of them were closed. This is a 4 day holiday here. But we were able to get some of the famous conch salad and fried red snapper. It was great fun to watch them work and the food was delicious.

Tomorrow morning we will leave for the first of the Exuma islands, Allan's Cay to meet up with 3 or 4 other DeFevers. We haven't seen these guys for several weeks and are looking forward to catching up with them and hearing their adventures. We'll blog when we are able.