Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Palm Beach, FL to West End, Grand Bahama

The beach at the John T. MacArthur Beach State Park in Palm Springs.

Down came the yellow quarantine flag and up went the Bahamas courtesy ensign.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

We did it!!! We are in the Bahamas!! We have made our first blue water passage!

We stayed anchored in Lake Worth (Palm Beach) till late yesterday afternoon waiting for a decent weather forecast and finishing our shopping. There is a small sand beach (I am talking small swash of sand here) a short dinghy ride from the Lake Worth anchorage. The little beach is at the base of a bridge carrying highway A1A. Just across the street from the bridge is a shopping center with a Publix grocery store, CVS, several restaurants, and a hair salon. I got my hair cut and colored. I was bemused by the old guys getting their hair dyed. They were actually consulting with a stylist about which shade(s) would be best! Across the street was a Frrench bakery, West Marine was several blocks away and the John D McArthur Beach State Park was close by. Actually, the park was about a 2 mile walk, but we of course went, dipped our feet in the ocean, walked on the sand, and toured the nature museum, then walked back generating a respectable set of blisters. Winter is the season for the Portuguese Man of War jellyfish. The beach was littered with them. Most interesting is they are the same shade of blue as the water,and they look just like some sort of medical waste. We also walked to the Palm Beach Gardens Mall. It was a very upscale mall with Tiffany’s, Chanel, and any other expensive jewelry and clothing retailer you can imagine. Oh yes, the flowers, the flowers in the gardens were great; only fake! Some garden.

The weather forecast for today was winds from the SW at 10-15 kt and seas 2-4 ft decreasing to 5-10 kt and less than 2 ft in the afternoon. It sounded perfect, so we moved south a few miles to the anchorage at Peanut Island adjacent to the Lake Worth Inlet. We set Bill’s watch to alarm at 3:30 am. We didn’t really need the alarm as the boat anchored behind was leaving too. I awoke to “little forward, rattle-rattle-rattle, now reverse, rattle-rattle-rattle, anchor is off the bottom”. The Ghost of Christmas Past never had so much chain dragging around. Unable to even fake sleeping, we got up and prepared to leave. Things were great except the stern light wasn’t working, but after a half hour of changing bulbs and fiddling with the wiring, it finally lit, and we left for sea in the pitch black dark. The seas were greater than forecast, and the winds instead of 10-15 were 15-20+. I never anticipated that when crossing the Gulf Stream I would need my foul weather gear! At one point I said I was buying an airplane ticket home if I had to cross the thing again! But, we made it!!

I have just watched a 100+ foot motor yacht tie up. Wow that is a big boat! It even goes sideways over to the dock.

The water was very blue coming across, almost navy. We saw a different kind of dolphin today, shorter and faster than the North Carolina sort, and some flying fish. We listened to a great fleet of boats calling the Old Bahama Bay Marina, previously known as the Jack Tar, on the radio after noon as everyone who left before sunrise was arriving at the same time. We held off a little and came in next to last. We have now cleared customs. The Master (Bill) had to attest that (among other things) we did not have any unusual mortality among the rats and mice on board since our last port. I had to wait on the boat until the “Master” returned from Customs and Immigration before I could step ashore. There are lots of boats here; even a Tanzer 10.5 in the next slip which doesn’t look a thing like our Tanzer 22, Canary.

We are now waiting for a respectable hour so we can retire for the evening and catch up on our lost sleep. We will keep up the blog when we have Internet Service. Wish you were all here to enjoy the nice warm weather. I have on shorts and shirt, but no shoes!

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