Happy New Year from the Bahamas!

We began New Year’s Day early – awake before dawn to head out the Fort Pierce Inlet at dawn.  We had to wait over 2 weeks for a good weather window but this is why we wait!

Our friend leading the way crossing to the Bahamas!
Next up was this guy – he circled around again & again until he too lost interest, so we had to find the rest of our way ourselves. Perfectly flat seas, considering this is the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
On this first day we continued an hour or so past sunset anchoring around 7 PM at Great Sale Cay.
Up anchor at dawn the next morning with continued beautiful, flat seas – just as we like it!

By the afternoon of day 2, we were safety docked at the Green Turtle Club on Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas. We originally were going to have to wait & clear Customs the following day, as the Customs official usually leaves back to the mainland on the 1:30 ferry.  Our good luck was continuing as she was still there at 2:30 – I rushed up we & our boat were soon cleared into the Bahamas for another season.

Off to celebrate by golf-cart across island to the Tranquil Turtle Beach Bar as our friends on m/v Adventure (Gene & crew Maryella) had also arrived.
It was time for us to continue on – unlike this unlucky boater. This was near the “Don’t Rock” passage – a narrow, but deep-enough route past “The Whale” – apparently named as there can be large, whale-sized swells coming in from the ocean.  In fact, Disney built a small cruise ship stop on nearby Guana Cay in the ’80’s but had to abandon it was it was often too rough for the cruise ships to pass thru. We like it calm just like this so we don’t rock nor hit the rock!

We only spent a few days in Abaco before heading down to Spanish Wells, which is on Eleuthera, the next island 50 miles further south.

Along the way, my only catch while trolling was this barracuda which I threw back. They can have ciguatera, a serious toxin poison which may not kill you, but …
Spanish Wells has the most industrious waterfront you’ll see in the Bahamas. If you’ve ever had lobster at a Red Lobster restaurant, it probably came off one of these fishing vessels. Down here are Caribbean lobsters (no claws). They are loading concrete blocks which weigh down their “lobster condos” (which look like wooden pallets). The lobsters think they’ve discovered a good hiding spot … until divers tip the “condos” up & grab the surprised lobsters.  Each one of these boats will travel over a hundred miles, towing 4 – 5 smaller boats so that once at their “condos”, they can split up & cover more ground, meeting back every evening to unload & rest.

From here, we will continue down to the Exuma island chain to George Town where we’ll spend about a month.  On our return trip, we’ll take it slower, stopping at our favorite spots back along the way including more time in Abaco.

Hurricane Nicole

Our two days of prep paid off with zero issues.  The highest winds in Vero hit 60 MPH, with almost 70 MPH nearby.  At our marina, the highest gust was likely closer to 50 MPH.  We missed some of the heaviest rainfall as well, so it was easy & safe to walk around to check on lines, etc. At 2:45 AM the wind & rain completely stopped, as the eye went right over us. Our neighbor looked up & saw stars – I forgot to look up!

The eye of Nicole begins to go right over us around 3AM. The wind & rain completely stopped for nearly 1/2 hour – very eerie!
This wind graph shows a peak wind of 60 MPH, followed by less than 2 MPH as the eye went overhead.
The morning after.  Overnight the high water had begun to reach the top of docks, leaving behind some debris.
In the morning, everyone was checking on each other.

By this afternoon, the winds should lie down & hopefully the water will recede as well. Waiting for the marina to re-open & turn our power back on!

Tomorrow we’ll un-prep & get back to normal – oil changes & lots of boat projects!