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Paradise Next Door
Bahamas Cruise
2011
Sunset Over the Seven Mile Bridge
~ Sunset Over the Seven Mile Bridge ~
Boot Key Harbor Departure
Going to Anchor before Going Abroad
Bottom Located
The tides had been extreme so we were going to anchor off of Boot Key for the night in preparation for our departure. Tomorrow we would cross the Gulf Stream, but not too early so our entry into Bimini would occur with the sunrise. We left Boot Key Harbor with the intention of going to the Marathon Marina one last time to top off our water and fuel tanks, empty the holding tank and say our final goodbyes. Alas those pesky spring tides had drained away the depth and on my way to the fuel dock I ended up running aground – how embarrassing!

Fortunately, a fisherman in an over powered flats boat offered to tow us off. We successfully put some water under our keel and concluded it would be best to just go straight to anchor. Don spent the day running jerry jugs back and forth while I finished tidying up the top sides.

A Frozen Puzzle
Several of our friends sailed out to wish us farewell and fair winds, and our mate Rick joined us for a last meal together. I opened my over-flowing freezer, and pulled out the first thing I could grab. A couple of ribeyes – SCORE! The massive volume of meat was freezing nicely, but musing over the oddly shaped steak caused a moment of mortification.
Don at the Helm
~ Don at the Helm ~

By stuffing my wedge shaped freezer to the gills, I'd essentially created a glacial Janga. Each piece of frozen protein fit perfectly in its place and removing one package threatened to topple the tangled mass – a mélange of meat that could never be reassembled. Added to that tribulation was the fact that I'd organized the icebox by type! Poultry would not make the plate for some time.

I quickly put my concerns into perspective. I mean really; we had a boat with a full belly, best friends onboard, a beautiful sunset view off the Seven Mile Bridge, and before us lay the Bahamas. Who doesn't want my problems?

The good weather held, so at 10:30 AM we hauled anchor and headed on our course. Everything that we fixed on the boat worked as we'd hoped. It was so nice to kick into a comfortable cruising speed and not see the engine temperature gauge rise. Don had spent an afternoon flushing the Yanmar's water tanks, until it puked out what was either a mummified moon jelly or a petrified prophylactic – we could never really be sure. But thereafter our mistress's temper remained cool.

The Auto-Pilot
A couple hours at the wheel prompted me to engage Otto the autopilot, a crew member whose temperamental attitude had at one point caused his discharge from duty. Years had passed until one day, a conversation over a water pump led me to derive the basis of Otto's erratic behavior. We'd moved the fluxgate compass to amidships for a more accurate reading, landing it right next to our freshwater pump – a motor with a very large magnet that would spasmodically spin the compass, and the course of course. We retuned the compass to its original position, and Otto's wayward ways turned true.
Out my Galley Window
~ Out my Galley Window ~
Riding the Gulf Stream
The speedometer was working (finally after we switched the transducers around), and I asked my Captain how we'd know when we found the Gulf Stream. Don said "The speed should increase a bit" and I set the Tack-Tick to show water temperature and watched for the warmer flow.

On top of calm seas, under the shade of scattered clouds we relaxed into our comfortable cruise. By 12:30, the Gulf Stream grabbed hold, pulling us to a speedy 9 knots – a record for Re Metau. I tried to nap some, read the book 'One Thousand White Women' that my friend Cassie gave me, listened to music and generally just enjoyed the day. Neptune was a little distressed, but by evening had managed to find his sea legs and joined us in the cockpit. We spotted some large freighters and a few cruise ships in the distance. Lit up like floating Christmas trees, they quickly disappeared over the horizon.

The setting sun prompted me to come up with a dinner plan, else we'd be dining in the dark. Our packed freezer produced a pair of ribeye steaks the previous evening, leaving plenty of leftovers and a perfect reason to postpone another plunge into the frozen puzzle of protein. With the addition of some beans and rice, we had a little floating fiesta!

I was able to capture the sunset out my galley port to add to my collection. To me – the galley port, or kitchen window was a view I spent a lot of time gazing upon, and on Re Metau it was ever changing. So I decided to capture a photo with each new change, as a porthole to the memory of the places we'd been.

A Cozy Cabin Underway
~ A Cozy Cabin Underway ~
On Night Watch
By night fall, I took watch while Don snatched some shuteye. The winds had picked up quite a bit, causing the seas to become lumpy. I became mesmerized with our trail of phosphorescence, like a wisp from Tinkerbelle's wand. To remain alert, I held a private dance at the helm, but the green light by the gauges was not flashing high praise for my awesome moves.

Rather it indicated that the primary bilge pump was running. It may have just been caused by a little bit of water sloshing near the float switch, but my mind raced with disastrous postulations about the shaft's flax packing coming loose now that we'd been able to run the engine at full throttle. The bilge inside the cabin looked dry, so I remained at my post, trying to give Don at least a few hours of rest before making him aware of this potential problem. But that green light kept popping on!

At midnight, both my watch and my patience with the pump was done. "Don" I whispered, "Are you awake?" A little groggy eyed, he mumbled that he wasn't able to sleep, so I took the opportunity to state my concern in as mild a manner as possible – "I THINK WE'RE SINKING!!!!" That was the voice in my head; not what came out of my mouth. Fortunately, Don's assessment of the situation was correct. The electronic switch's contacts were smudged with scum and a clean sweep would stop the parched pump's cycles.

Arriving Before Dawn
We were rapidly making way and the border of Bimini arrived long before the sun – yet another in a long series of lightless landfalls. Don did some quick plotting on the charts and altered our course South where we could sit tight until daylight. The scattered island lights were disorienting at night and all too soon the depth reading rose from a thousand fathoms to a mere eight feet.

We set the anchor at around 2:30 AM and once assured everything was secure, went below. Don had installed an extraordinarily loud anchor drag alarm on which we could comfortably rely, yet when shrieking, was capable of stripping years off a person's life. We were still pretty exposed to the blowing North West winds, and bound for a restless berth full of roller coaster bumps and bounces.

But shortly after sunrise, sound slumber would surely descend in the security of a South Bimini slip. Like the islanders welcome…

"All Is Well!"
2011 — Bahamas Cruise
Articles
Obtaining an Aspiration
Paradise Next Door
18 Feb thru 23 May
Obtaining an Aspiration
Bahamas Bound
Bahamas Bound
Feb
A Windfall of Spare Time
AWOL for the Boat Haul
Preparing for a Bahamas Cruise
Feb
AWOL for the Boat Haul
Provisioning Scents, Cents & Sensibility
Provisioning for the Bahamas
Mar
Scents, Cents & Sensibility
Going to Anchor before Going Abroad
Boot Key Harbor Departure
23 & 24 Mar
Going to Anchor before Going Abroad
Safe, Sound & Lounging Around
Bimini
25 Mar
Safe, Sound & Lounging Around
The Wonderland of Alice Town
Alice Town, North Bimini
26 Mar
The Wonderland of Alice Town
In Search of the Queen
Bimini Flats
27 Mar
In Search of the Queen
Exotic Excursions
South Bimini
28 Mar
Exotic Excursions
A Great Harbour Hidden in the Berries
Berry Islands
29 & 30 Mar
A Great Harbour Hidden in the Berries
Decline of the Concubine
Great Harbour Cay
31 Mar
Decline of the Concubine
An Endless Honeymoon
Sugar Beach Caves
01 Apr
An Endless Honeymoon
Strange Worlds
Great Harbour Blue Hole
02 Apr
Strange Worlds
A Phenomenal Day
Fanny Cay, Berry Islands
03 Apr
A Phenomenal Day
Soldiering On
Sailing to Soldier Cay
07 Apr
Soldiering On
Cosmic Waters
Hoffman Cay Blue Hole
08 Apr
Cosmic Waters
Barry and the Beguiling Bay
Little Harbour Cay
10 Apr
Barry and the Beguiling Bay
Paradise Lost
Sailing to New Providence
12 Apr
Paradise Lost
Spirit of Serendipity
Death in Paradise
13 Apr
Spirit of Serendipity
Nassau Anew
Nassau
14-17
Nassau Anew
Kaleidoscope
Allen & Leaf Cay
23-25
Kaleidoscope
Sorry Lore of Normans
Norman's Cay
25-27
Sorry Lore of Normans
Treasured Island
Shroud Cay
28 Apr
Treasured Island
Bluebloods, Brits, Banshees, Bones and Buccaneers
Warderick Wells
29 Apr
Bluebloods, Brits, Banshees, Bones and Buccaneers
Bumming with a Different Breed
Big Majors Spot
01 May
Bumming with a Different Breed
Sundries of a Sailor's Life
Staniel Cay
04 May
Sundries of a Sailor's Life
It Was Neat
Thunderball
10 May
It Was Neat
The Pendent on the Emerald Necklace
George Town, Great Exuma
7 & 8 May
The Pendent on the Emerald Necklace
The Wild Isle
Stocking Island Hike, Great Exuma
12 May
The Wild Isle
Bush Medicine
William's Town, Little Exuma
13 & 14 May
Bahamian Bush Medicine
Cruising Blogs
2011 - Bahamas
Paradise Next Door
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