Weather Window

 March 10-12: We had only a one day weather window to cross from Ft. Lauderdale to West End, Grand Bahama Island which is why we pushed so hard down the ICW to get to Ft. Lauderdale. It may seem strange to go so far south in order to go NE, but it’s all about the Gulf Stream which carries you north. You want to take advantage of this.  So, on March 10, at 3:15 am we left the slip to head to the Bahamas. Winds from the East would be on the nose, so no sails up. The forecast had predicted winds and seas decreasing through the night and into Saturday but increasing again on Sunday. This was our only chance to cross.

This time the weather forecasters got it right. By first nautical dawn, the seas had calmed

First Nautical Dawn

and we had an easy crossing under power.  This is unusual for the Gulf Stream where seas usually pick up. We actually got very little northern push for the Gulf Stream but even then, 11 hours later we were in Old Bahamas Bay Marina. While this was our 3rd day of intense boating, it was a very different experience from the ICW, mostly a long day with a short night of sleep. It would have been great to sail, but calm seas and light wind is the best you can expect since the prevailing winds most anytime of year are from the East.

"Q" flag

We haven’t been on Grand Bahama Island for years. The original Jack Tar hotel burned and for some time there was nothing here. Now there is  a lovely marina with a straight- forward well-marked channel, customs, fuel, well maintained docks, restaurant and bar and a beautiful beach on the north-east side. Unfortunately, it has been too windy and cool to enjoy the water. ( a note: we have to fly the yellow quarantine flag until we clear customs and immigrations, then it is replaced by  Bahamian flag and flown from the starboard shoud as a courtesy to our host country.)

Marina office, customs and fuel dock

We have enjoyed the bar and restaurant with local Bahamian food of peas and rice, coldslaw and cracked conch or fish. There is very little variety in the diet here and it does get old by the time we leave the islands, but it’s a real treat when we first get here. It is just so Bahamian!

It was good to get in, have dinner out and hit the bunk. We both slept very well. Sunday, Ed changed the engine oil and I caught up on some boat chores, but mostly we enjoyed a different pace exploring this small resort.

The winds and seas had picked up while we’ve been here, but are calming down and tomorrow (Tuesday) we will head out for the Abacos. This means an overnight anchorage at either Sale or Mangrove Cay and on the next day. I will buy some lobster from the local diver this evening (he appears at the dock late each afternoon) and this will be our dinner at anchor Tuesday night. Ed will spend most of today setting up the navigation for this route. We most likely will take the shorter route past Indian Cay, but it is a bit tricky and he wants to be completely comfortable with this passage before we leave. I may take the bus into West End, the village here  to buy milk and any fresh vegetables I can find.

Old Bahama Bay Marina, Grand Bahama Island

It feels really good to be here. We were unable to cross last November and this has been our goal. Wherever else we go will be just more fun on the water.

From the seas and shores of the Bahamas,

Jan and Ed

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 rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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2 Responses to Weather Window

  1. Sounds like an awesome trip! I an’ I jealous, mi’son! Me hope you know dat!

    Check my blog entry on Amelia Island Wednesday, or when you are next in port, Red! Or left…. I had an absolute blast, or as much fun as someone stuck on land could have. Whatever.


    • ejhowle23 says:

      Are now tucked into a nice marina on Spanish Cay in the Abacos. Last night at anchor but with a great fresh lobster dinner (prepared by moi!). We will check your blog tomorrow. And subscribe so we can keep up with you. J&E

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