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Crossing to the Bahamas is tricky. The Gulf Stream is a powerful current that runs up the eastern U.S. even the lightest of winds against the Gulf Stream kicks up a steep, unpleasant wave. And wind above 15 kts going with the Gulf Stream creates surf like conditions. So you need winds from the SE, S, or SW that will be less than 15 kts for the entire day.

The electric blue of the water in Bimini was hard to believe. Bimini also surprised us in terms of their poverty. Bahamas is definitely a 3rd world country, often with no sidewalks and trash strewn everywhere and free roaming chickens to avoid. Walking Radar in any of the towns was very challenging.

We had no problem with our crossing to Bimini and really had very little craziness during our time there. Mostly, we explored beaches, swam, snorkeled and ate.

We had farther to travel to the Berry Islands, which was the next landfall to the east but it was shallow (15 ft) and protected by reefs. We landed at Chub Cay, a fancy resort (even Beyoncé stayed there).

We then went to the east side of the Islands near Devils cay. We moved after the first night because of swell but amazing beaches and we swam at a blue hole.

It was forecasted to blow 30-50 mph for the next 5 days. We were worried that would be unable to pick Nancy’s college friend Jen and her husband Nico from Nassau. We decided to wait out the weather in Palm Cay about 20 minutes south of Nassau, a major harbor for catamaran charters.

Nice resort, which we couldn’t enjoy because of the weather. The marina raised a chain barrier to block the harbor entrance each night from thieves. Nancy went into Nassau to go to the Botanical gardens which were closed but learned a lot of history at the local fort.

With Jen and Nico on board, we headed to the Eluthera Islands to Spanish Wells. Beautiful huge beach with huge sandbars protruding.

We hired a pilot to show us the route through Devil’s Backbone to reach Harbour Island, famed for their pink sand beach. We followed the pilot boat through narrow passages between reefs and alarmingly close to shore, but money well spent, we made it just fine.

Harbour Island did indeed have pink sand and the four of us had fun playing in the waves and using the provided lounge chairs.

Next day we used our snail trail to make our way back through Devil’s Backbone and headed to the east side of Eluthera. We stopped at the aptly named Glass window, which had shallow turquoise water on one side and deep blue water hundreds of feet deep on the other.

Spent the night anchored out at Rainbow Cay. Nicco and Nancy went snorkeling.

Went to the Resort French Retreat at Governor’s Harbour, where Jason’s mom was working when she met his Dad. Actually this was in a different locale (the original got wiped out by a Hurricane).

Next day, we spent several hours crossing over to the Exumas. Anchored at Long Cay, where Jen, Nico and Jen snorkeled. Met super nice people on Lobster Express who owned the nearby Lobster Key, and dug their own marina, who told us to call if we needed to get out of the wind.

Trying to find a safe spot to anchor for the upcoming wind, we ducked into Allen’s key and had no luck, so we joined the crowded harbor at Highbourne Key. Nurse sharks circled the boat. Cruisers feed them, so they now beg at popular anchorages.

Snuck up as close to land as we dared, but it was a very windy and loud night. At one point the anchor chain was so loud Jen thought the boat was breaking.

Headed back to Nassau to drop off Nico and Jen who treated us to a great dinner at 4 Seasons (partly to celebrate Nancy’s recent 50th b-day). Got stuck in Nassau for four more days due to high winds but managed to connect with Tom and Gail, our next door neighbors in Annapolis, who were on a get away vacation. Saw the 246 ft support yacht for Jeff Bezo’s new yacht, which is 417 ft sailboat.

Headed back to the Exumas to Norman’s Key, which was owned by the infamous drug cartel leaders, Pablo Escobar and Carlos Ledher for many years. We snorkeled around one of their smuggling planes that crashed near the Island.

Next headed to Staniel Cay to wait out a few windy days. A very crowded anchorage. The Island had a great restaurant but expensive groceries. Turns out, the swimming pigs range in size, including some huge and scary 400lb hogs. We chose not to swim with them.

Welcome to 21st century boating!

Headed further south to near Great Guana Key to visit the mile long sandbar. However, low tide came and went and the sandbar stayed a couple feet under water! Disappointing. Spent a couple nights anchored off the coast (finally some calm weather!).

Decided to skip going south to Georgetown in favor of time to explore the Abacos. Headed up to Cambridge Key in the Exuma Land and Sea National park. There we found a really long and cool sand bar!

Pretty spectacular scenery!

Next we headed to Warderick Wells, still part of the Park. This is a spectacular anchorage, miles of sand, scenic hikes to amazing vistas and secluded coves as well as snorkeling.

Saw a fair amount of wildlife, including this nurse sharks. There were some smaller (1-2 ft ones) right up against the beach! We are saw a group of stingrays, which is called a fever of stingrays (10-14).

Did a good deed for a couple with a giant Great Dane, when their electric engine on their dinghy was stalling and towed them back to their boat in the outer mooring field. Got immediately rewarded by stumbling across an amazing picture perfect cove on the way back.

At the top of BooBoo Hill, boaters are encouraged to leave an offering to Poseidon with the vessel's name written upon it. While it felt secluded, we clearly weren't the only ones to stop here!

What a view and what a special anchorage!

Radar loved running on the beach at Warderick Wells!

We stayed for a few days waiting for the wind to subside. Then headed for Shroud Key that had a dinghy route through the island to the beach on the windward side. The current really picked up right before dumping you on a shallow sand bar and both Jason and I swam these tidal white water, which wasn’t that white since we were past peak current.

The rapids may not have been very rough, but what a place to land!

Unfortunately, Jason’s back which had been growing steadily worse in the prior month started to be excruciating. Nancy started looking up places in Nassau to get MRI’s and planned out a direct route back to the U.S. Fortunately, a few days of rest brought the pain back to manageable levels and Jason arranged to see his doctor when we returned to Annapolis in a couple weeks.

Returned to Nassau, where we re-provisioned.

The wind would not let up and we were unable to cross to the Abacos. We decided to just go up the center of the Abacos and check out the less popular north and west sides. However that would take us 5 days and the last window for a while to cross back to the U.S. was in 4 days, so we decided just to go back via they way we came.

Can you tell Chub Cay was hosting a fishing tournament?

We stopped at Chub Cay, on the Berry Islands and then Bimini Island before having a very calm crossing to West Palm Beach.

We thoroughly enjoyed the Bahamas and are looking forward to going back some day!



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