|The moon to light our way
|Loading the dinghy onto the boat with a halyard
We arrived a day early at the anchorage outside No Name Harbor near Miami with a one day weather window to cross to the Bahamas. No problem, we can do an easy daytime passage and be there by mid afternoon. But our weather window began to tighten and it looked like, once again, we would be stuck here in the good old U S of A.
|Stephanie Dawn Arrives!
|Kelly Nicole - another Morgan boat
At about 11 pm we woke up to the sounds of rain and gusty winds. Dread crept in for those few moments as we imagined our crossing opportunity draining away with the rain through our scuppers...
But the rain and wind lasted only a few minutes and was replaced by clearing skies, a big bright moon and almost calm flat waters. Stephanie Dawn texted us: Would you guys consider leaving earlier?
We considered it for all of about two minutes. We're awake, we're ready... Let's DO THIS! Kelly Nicole would wait a bit, so it was just the two boats picking our way out of the anchorage between the flashing red and green channel markers. Somehow I got volunteered to go first. Lucky ME!
With the help of the recorded track our friends on S/V Magnolia had sent us, I felt as confident as one can when traveling in unknown waters, in the dark, for the first time... But I found the flashing navigational aids and it all fell into place. Suddenly we were out of the gate and heading for open water and the Gulf Stream.
|Our SPOT Track
S/V White Pepper... A new ritual is born!
|Do you think they know something is different?
|Even though we couldn't see them, it's nice to know they were out there...
Bruce takes his place on the bow to direct me away from possible shallow spots. This entry is notorious for those. We have a rising tide just about 3/4 ft. above mean low water. I think that's a good thing because if we do get stuck, we can expect to float free with the rising tide.
The water goes from deep blue to impossibly turquoise and we're giddy! Bruce does a good job of spotting and we never see anything less than 7.5 ft. The other two boats bumped briefly but came on through.
The current was running swiftly as we radioed back and forth with Brown's Marina. They had four boats coming in all at the same time and they were directing us like air traffic controllers. I saw a guy waving for me to bring the boat in and I fought the current to get the boat back around while Bruce scrambled to get the dock lines ready... they had told us Port side tie, but it turned out to be Starboard... Oopsie!
The raising of the "Q" Quarantine flag is a rite of passage. We have arrived in another country on our own boat. We must segregate ourselves until we can gain approval from Immigration and Customs.
|A moment we've dreamed of for years!
The rest of our day was spent getting settled and getting our first look at what the coming months have in store for us. This is it. We've left our old lives behind for a while to become... I'm not sure what.
Here are some highlights from the rest of our day.
|Bruce and Sandra checking out the fish lurking below
|Conch shells lining the top of a wall fence
|The beach on the other side of the island
|Simple streets - could be anywhere in the Caribbean
|Bahamian guys just back with a boatload of conch