Back to the land of free water


March 22: We had a weather window Monday and made the crossing from Grand Bahama Island to Lake Worth, Florida in 9 1/2 hours. We left our lovely marina at first light, 6:50 am.

Grand Bahama Island

Winds were forecasted to be East, 13-16 knots and seas 2-4. That sounded like a crossing under sail. We started out with main up and engine on as there was virtually no wind. Our hope was the wind would come up and we could cut the engine. But it was not to be, we  finally took the main down after the second flying jibe! We couldn’t keep it filled. Seas were more like 3-5 and it was a bit of an uncomfortable ride. We couldn’t even use the main for steadying. We’ve been out long enough to have our sea legs, so no sea sickness, just exhausting bouncing around. My arms and shoulders were sore after all the hours of hanging on. We’ve had worse, but we’ve also had better.

ICW bridge and traffic

We put in at Lake Park Harbor Marina in Lake Park, Florida to clear customs. Since we have the “local boater option” we didn’t have to appear in person at customs or immigrations, just a phone call. That meant we could move on the next morning. We thought we would have to spend a day, rent a car, drive to the airport and present ourselves. Since 9/11 Homeland Security has really tightened up on the procedures for recreational boaters. In past years all we did was call in, but now if you don’t have the “local boater option” you must present all “souls” to the officials and in some ports customs and immigration are in different places. I should feel safer, but when I called customs once we were in US waters, I was told to call back after we were in a marina and safely tied up. Now tell me, if I had anyone on board that was “questionable”, wouldn’t I just let them off before I got to a marina?

Waterway marker

Now we are making our way up the ICW, retracing the route we took on the way down. Weather has been windy and we did have the best day to cross the Gulf Stream. It looks like this Saturday will be good again for any boater wanting to make this trip.

Back to the water issue. Water is expensive in the Bahamas. There are few natural sources. Andros has the best water supply and more than 50% of the water in Nassau comes from Andros. Most islands rely on reverse osmosis, an expensive process to eliminate the salt from sea water. At Old Bahama Bay Marina, there is a $15.00 daily charge whether you are sail or power.

Now the sports fishing boats have this sports etiquette thing. As soon as they get in and off load all the big fish they caught, the crew cleans their boat. I mean REALLY clean it. They hose it down, soap it down and  then hose it off again. I guess this gets rid of the fish blood, guts and other smelly stuff. You can fill in with your own imagination of what else is on the boat. I mean fish do pee and p..p And these are really BIG fish.  Sorry no pictures.

OK, so I get it the price of water for these guys, but us sailors? All we do is fill our fresh water tank (ours holds 20 gallons) and rinse off the salt water on the hull. Still it is $15.00.

A few more days and we will have Silver Girl tied up in her home port of Daytona Beach, waiting for our next trip. This one convinced us we are not done with sailing and plan another longer trip next winter. We find we feel and move younger on the boat. the combination of mental and physical exercise is the answer for us, and anticipating new adventures doesn’t hurt either.

Our next adventure posting will be our rally with Stewball from NY to Alaska. Oh, and a secret coming in May about The Long Road to Paris. Stay tuned!

Jan and Ed

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About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our next car rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossing five countries begins in South Africa, May 2014.
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One Response to Back to the land of free water

  1. rdsieber says:

    As long as you can move along spritely on the deck it will remain a fun activity. So, here’s to feeling young!

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