We made it to Nassau (125 nautical miles) and what a beautiful crossing it was.
Bimini is a very unique place. It's only a half day sail from the USA but has that laid back tropical atmosphere. The Florida Keys has nothing on this place. It's very small and quaint and everyone is very friendly and kind. Everyone we talk to has the same opinion and hope it does not become corrupt by the American influence. We spent 5 days in Bimini awaiting weather, so what else to do except act like a tourist and see the place.
I took a walk to the north end of South Bimini Island. What a lovely place. Small stores with unique names like "Buccaneer Booze & Screws" and the "Thirsty Turtle Yacht Club" that contained a small restaurant and bar with on 51ft sailboat. I still don't know how that got in there.
At the north end of the island there is a small ferry that takes you over to the North Island for $2.00. The flats around there are very pretty and you can watch all the Canadian boats as they arrive from the US.
Did I mention all the traffic on the South Island? Here we were at rush hour. No different than at home ...... The driver had his left foot up on the dash and was talking on da cell phone ... hahaha.
The ground transportation here is free....A little rough at the seams but colorful just the same. Just watch you don't step through one of the rust holes in the floor. The front bumper is held on with a rope and the light above it is wire-tied in place.... Sounds like some of the cars I used to drive.
Oh Yes !!!! I forgot to mention how tough this cruising life has become. We are now down to eating from the sea as we don't want to deplete our supply of frozen food too quickly. Every day the local fishermen come around with an assortment of fresh fish and lobster tails. So far we've bought some 36 tails for about $2 each between the three boats. Peter used to be a chef on cruise ships so he had the pleasure of preparing and cooking them.
When we left Bimini Sands at 0830 on the 28th the tide wasn't high until 1030am and at the entrance there was only 5.3 feet of water. COSTELLO and TANGO made it through OK with their shallow drafts but we had to wait inside the Lagoon until nearly 9 to get enough water to get out.
What a perfect day for a crossing of the Bahama Bank. ESE winds about 8 knots (on the nose again!) and about one foot seas.
Unfortunately it was overcast in the morning and all we had to worry about was water-spouts and shipwrecks.
As you can see, we let Chris on TANGO go on ahead to see if we were going to turn to the east before we got to the spouts.
Our timing for crossing the Great Bahama Bank couldn't have been better. The sun came out and the extremely clear water painted a beautiful picture of what is to lay ahead.
For some 60 miles the depth averaged 12 feet and you could literally see everything on the bottom.
We were making over 7 knots when I took this picture over the bow.
Darkness came as we approached the NW Channel light. Sounds like a major navigational aid but it's just a steel pipe stuck in the sand with a small solar panel and red light on the top. This marks the beginning of the Tongue of the Ocean that leads down towards the Providence Channel and on to Nassau.
So, as we were only in nine feet of water in the middle of the ocean, what else is there to do but drop the anchor for the night. We really didn't realize the vastness of the place until we awoke to a spectacular sunrise.
I told you we were in the middle of the ocean.
Sunday morning brought an even nicer day with light winds (on the nose again) and calm seas. We passed the NW Channel light and continued on with our 57 mile trip. The depth on the chart showed over 10,000 feet as we motored on down to Nassau. You can see that just to the left of our boat it's 10,764 feet deep.
In this picture we were just south of Chub Cay. A few very rich people own property here like Shakira, and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters.
LAND HO !!!!(again)
At about noon we could pick up the twin towers of the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, across the harbour from Nassau. You've seen them in movies such as "After the Sunset".
As we approached you could see the place was full of cruise ships.
The ship (Norwegian Sky) Jan & I went on for our cruise 3 years ago was thee but was dwarfed by the brand new Oasis of the Seas. This thing is massive. Norwegian Sky is to the left in this photo.
Our trip through Nassau Harbour DID NOT go without incident. We saw what we thought was a bag r something floating up ahead when we realized that it was a person trying to swim with a back pack on. He had jumped into the water from shore and tried to swim back to his small boat when he was over-powered by the 4 knot current and was destined for sea. After circling, we lowered the swim ladder for him to hold as we towed him back up throught the anchorage to his boat. He told us he was from Spain and never been on a boat until last month. His name is Ankel.
Rescue Mission Completed !!
So tonight we're all tucked in at the Nassau Harbour Club Marina where we'll be staying for a few days of sight-seeing and getting some fresh produce, etc, and awaiting weather before heading down into the Exumas.