Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Waking Up In The Bahamas

I can’t believe we made it.  I woke up with a cool breeze and the sound of gentle waves lapping against the hull.  The scent of the islands wafting in through the overhead hatch told me we’re back in the Bahamas.  Pinch me!!!

Did I dream the last few months?  Did I dream that we road-tripped across the country and saw our daughter get married?  Did I dream that we spent endless days at the dock working on this project and that…?  It wasn’t a dream.  It was a mere drop in the bucket of time and here we are back from where we left… Cat Cay.

Better get up!  We have a long day ahead of us crossing the Banks if we want to reach the Northwest Channel by dark.  We had considered continuing on across the Banks traveling at night, but why?  We’re already a day ahead of the cold front… Today will be an easy day on flat water with light winds.  

Chris Parker wound through his weather report on the SSB radio while Bruce and I had our coffee and got ready to leave.  I sat in the cockpit with my cup and watched the sky become light in the east.  First a glow, then a layer of light progressing up from the water.  I breathed in the smell of smoke from Cat Cay mingled with the other unknown elements that is uniquely Bahamas.  

The sun was just up when we started the engine and motored happily out of the anchorage.  Today we make water.  We are down to our last two tanks, less than 40 gallons left.  Today we take advantage of the luxury of having a water maker.  We started the pumps and while they were filling our tank with lovely tasting water, I decadently hosed the salt water from yesterday’s passage off the decks.  It still feels naughty to use water so indiscriminately.    
Bruce wiped our enclosure down with fresh water and we tidied up the cockpit, then I suggested breakfast.  Breakfast bars?  Nope…I’m making sausage and eggs.  Bruce’s face perked up at the unexpected offering of a full breakfast while underway.  Why not?  

Life with a begging feline...
We settled into our new routine while we motored steadily along.  The winds were too far east of south for us to sail, but the boat was riding the small waves easily.  I manned the helm while Bruce manned the water pumps.  

Syphoning water into the tanks while underway
Our water maker is plumbed to the 50 gallon forward tank.  A diverter allows us to fill our five gallon bottles to be emptied into the other three tanks.  This job goes to Bruce.  All day long, every 17 minutes or so, he lugged the water bottles up onto the deck and syphoned the water into our tanks.  One by one, the tanks were filled until mid afternoon.  While the big tank filled, we had naps.  

When I was alone on the helm, I marveled at how different this crossing is from our first.  Before, we were full of angst.  Now, we are calm.  I remember how super-excited I was and wish that feeling could remain… but the feeling of familiarity and comfort is nice too.  There will never be another time like our first and I wonder how it will be to move forward into unfamiliar cruising grounds.  I can’t wait.  

Winds died while I was napping
I’m still marveling at leaving the US with no return date.  We aren’t on a “trip” this time.  We live here… wherever here might be.  We have no agenda other than what the weather dictates.  My mind becomes still.  There is just today, and tomorrow and maybe the coming cold front to consider… outside of that?  Nothing.  My thoughts drift to the past and memories that I’ve not thought of in decades…  I reflect about myself and what brought me here.  

Before we went cruising, one of the things that I hoped to experience was to find out who I am.  Is this it?  Am I there?  Maybe so.

Bruce came up from his nap and it was my turn.  I didn’t think I would sleep, but I did…

When I awoke and popped my head back up from below, the water all around us had become flat calm and glassy.  Gone were the small waves and wind.  The sun reflected so brightly on the water that it confused the camera.  I went up to the bow and stood there taking it all in.  The Banks are vast.  It seems like we are the only people for miles… maybe hundreds of miles.  There can’t be many anyway…   We have all of this to ourselves and it overflows.

The calm soon ended with a wind shift.  It went from the SSE to the east and we motored directly into it the last hour of our day.  The sun dropped as we found our anchorage.  Bruce prepared to anchor while I divided my attention between positioning the boat to drop anchor - and taking that perfect sunset photo…  


The clouds look like santa and the reindeer pulling the sleigh!
We settled the anchor and took our sundowners to the veranda where we watched the glowing horizon fade to black.  A crescent moon beat the stars out but they soon outnumbered her… Is this it?  Is this how life will be now?  I hope so…

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