March 17, 2010
We made it to the bahamas. It is a St Patricks Day Miracle!
After waiting a week at anchor in west palm beach for the right weather, Harmony stuffed to the gills with ships stores, we finally got it (or mostly anyway). We woke at 3.30 am in Lake Worth, weighed anchor and left the inlet at just before 5am. Incoming was a huge cruise ship called Bahamas Celebration which we took as a good sign. The seas were calm, unlike our aborted attempt a week before when huge rollers greeted us at the inlet, so we headed south-east looking forward to sunrise at 7.30am. There were swells but from behind us so they weren’t too bad and by the time we reached the gulf stream about 15 miles out they had started to drop and the conditions improved all morning. We saw a lot of portuguese man-of-war jellyfish floating by, translucent blue bubbles on the surface with long poisonous tentacles hanging below, and small flying fish which flitted over the ocean surface so fast that they were impossible to capture by camera.
We didn’t see another boaton the horizonall day until the last hour or so when the tip of grand bahamas island was in sight and we were engulfed by a sudden squall, with lots of rain and gusty winds. Having had such a pleasant gulf stream crossing we didn’t care, and with a sheltered harbor ahead Harmony slogged through the rough waters with ease and we tied up to the dock at the Old Bahama Bay Marina, West End, drenched but happy at about 4pm. Even in bad weather the water is an incredible turquoise blue and we are looking forward to spending a lot of time in it.
We had to go through customs and immigration before we could do anything else, and pay a $300 fee for a cruising and fishing permit; we then replaced the yellow quarantine flag we were required to fly until clearing customs with the bahamas flag, in addition we must fly the US flag while in foreign waters, and today in honor of st patricks day the irish flag is also aloft. Next stop glorious hot showers and then we hotfooted to the restaurant where we had a few bahamian beers and dinner: conch chowder and mahi mahi and red snapped, all delicious.
It is still very windy so we will stay here at least 2 nights and then head east again across the little bahama bank to start exploring the abaco islands, we will spend a month or so working our way slowly south, and have some quality island time mon!