A Berry Good Islands Holiday

Believing is good and I’m not talking about Santa, although maybe our super easy crossing to the Bahamas was a gift from a benevolent higher power than we. Beginners’ luck at the very least.  The temperamental Gulf Stream, known for its strong northerly flow and marching elephant-like waves when the wind opposes the current, was so benign for us that if not for the increase in speed (2kt current sweeping us north) we couldn’t tell we were in it.  Near perfect crossing conditions favored us and made for an easy 28 hour overnight run from Long Key Bight into Great Harbour Cay Marina in the Berry Islands, Bahamas. Excitement ran high when a pod of dolphins joined us for a short swim and play visit.

A Christmas Eve Crossing Approaching Bimini

Clearing in was a simple process of filling out several forms about ourselves and the boat, with each of us completing the usual immigration form. The dock master called in the customs/immigration official located at the nearby airport. Russ brought in the paperwork and our passports. 15 mins later he returned: passports stamped, immigration form stamped with 120 days allowed and $300 lighter.

Russ goes to clear us in

Wi-fi worked… slowly. Email was about all we could do, but that was sufficient. A walk around lead us to a beautiful crescent beach on the eastern shore. Things were quiet due to the holiday and Boxing Day on Monday. A local fishing boat docked next to us; they’d come in Saturday afternoon, unloaded their catch and got right back to building more traps.  They’d take a short break for Christmas then head out for a week or so. The marina had two washers and dryers and since only one of each worked, the crew spent many hours (and $) dealing with that chore.

I did a load Monday morning before we took off. The machines use small, flat, plastic tokens which you purchase for $5 each in the office.

Our day’s journey would take us up and over Little Stirrup Cay then around and south into an anchorage at the southern tip of Hoffman Cay. Norwegian Cruise Lines leases the privately owned Little and Great Stirrup Cays. On Monday the Norwegian Pearl rested in Bertram Cove on Great Stirrup. If nothing else, the cruise ships provide work and income for the islanders; tour and shuttle boats and market wares.

First Bahamas Snorkel: water so clear

A lunch time stop nearby in Great Harbour provided a few trip firsts: crystal clear water, a visual on the anchor and a snorkel. Benj reported spotting several sea cucumbers and an oblong thing with overlapping ½” scutes framed by a 3/8” flat, moss-like material. We found a bunch of them at White Cay, but alas no camera.

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