Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from Bimini!

Merry Christmas from SeaClearly!
Merry Christmas to everyone!   I hope that this morning finds you happy, healthy and enjoying Christmas and all that goes with it. We will miss all of our friends and family. Our Christmas is a little different this year. We are at the Bimini Big Game Club Marina in Alice Town, Bimini, Bahamas. We made it!

We actually arrived here on December 23 but it has taken this long to get ourselves straightened out and settled to the point where we could kick back a little. We dropped the mooring ball at Dinner Key at 6:00 am on Monday morning. But leaving was, really, the end of the beginning of the trip. The Sunday before was an interesting mix of stuff.

Anybody got one of these
in stock?
I was frustrated with the lack of cooperation from the weather. Why couldn't we have a perfect Gulf Stream crossing forecast? The winds and seas were expected to settle down during the day. But, if we waited for that to happen before we left, we would not make it to Bimini before dark. So, do we take our chances with 6 - 8 ft waves with a 5 second period on our nose the whole way? The next crossing window looks like it could be more that a week away. Would we be stupid and risking our lives if we decided to go?

Fortunately, as a distraction, the galley foot pump failed at just around noon on Sunday. Now, we are getting ready to leave for the Bahamas and expect to anchor out quite a bit. It is kind of important to be able to conserve our batteries and not use the water pressure pump.We spent the next 4 hours locating a West Marine that had a replacement, dinghying in to the dock, riding the bus, walking a couple of blocks to get there before they closed, returning to the boat and installing it. OK, done.We made our final decision to go in the morning, prep'ed the boat and took Roux in for his late afternoon shore trip.

Lobster Bisque
Then, we came back and took quick on-board showers and dinghied back in, in the dark, to go out to dinner. Jeffrey and Alyssa had given us a wonderful Christmas gift of a certificate to the Chart House restaurant right at Dinner Key. Guys, you have no idea how much we appreciated this. It was very nice of you to understand our route, know where we would be and set this up. After a week of being on a mooring, we felt like real people again, sitting in the AC, sipping wine and eating great food. It was fabulous. As an added bonus, the Coconut Grove Christmas Boat Parade went by while we were dining.

Chocolate Lava Cake
Macadamia Crusted Mahi

 But, we weren't done yet. When we got back to the boat, we needed to run the generator for a while to recharge the batteries while we completed the preparation for an offshore run. About 30 minutes later, the generator quit. Hmm. Also kind of a necessary piece of equipment. After a bit of troubleshooting, we got restarted. At that point,I said, "OK, one more negative sign and we pull the plug on this trip". It was almost 1:00 am and we had an alarm set for 5:00.

No more issues came up before morning so we got up, left Dinner Key behind in the dark and motored across Biscayne Bay towards where the sun would be coming up shortly - in the direction of Bimini. It was grey morning light as we went back out through Stiltsville and, at 7:00 am, we entered back into the ocean. We had about 5 or 6 other sailboats accompanying us.Obviously, we weren't the only ones anxious to get going. Several of them pointed more north, probably to go around Bimini and on to the Bahama Bank. We just wanted to make Bimini.

Entering the ocean at sunrise

We got exactly the weather we expected. Instead of a picture perfect sail to the islands, we had an uphill slog with the wind and current conspiring to keep us from even raising a sail. The Gulf Stream pushed us about 30 degrees north from our course and took away about 1.5 knots of our speed. We took several nose dives that sent water rolling down the sides of the boat and into Roux's spot on the afterdeck. He looked at us like,"Hey,you see this, right? I am sloshing around in seawater here."

Land Ho! Bimini.
At 4:00 pm, we passed through the markers for Alice Town harbor and started hailing the marina. In typical island fashion, they didn't respond. We were sitting right next to the dock when someone finally came out waving and pointing to a slip. We backed SeaClearly into her slot with limited drama in the strong current (once again, confirming our decision to get bow thrusters) and tied her off. Arrived!

Well, not quite officially. Technically, only the captain can get off of the boat until all of the customs and immigration paper work was completed. Roux didn't like this rule much. I scurried off to get us cleared in, worried that we might miss them for the day and be stuck on the boat overnight. It took about 30 minutes to get it all straight, including filing the Roux papers but we got cleared in. We were in the Bahamas!

Some kind of fish. Not the sharks. They are huge Bull Sharks.
Junie is afraid Roux will fall off the dock.
The water is clear, the sun is shining and we can Sea Clearly now. Right to the bottom. And see tropical fish. And game fish. And sharks! Oh my!


  1. I was happy to see that you have "reached." Merry Christmas!
    Betty and Gil (Ice Tea Too)

    1. Thank you Betty and Gil! Merry Christmas to you.
      Duane and June