Brad, Dan and Scott's Sailing Adventure

"There she is boys! The SS More Powerful than Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and the Incredable Hulk combined." This space will be used to post updates of our odyssey.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Fort Lauderdale to Allen Cay

I hope you find misspelling and typos endearing.

Afloat off Volleyball Beach near Georgetown, we have finally escaped the US; where every inch of waterfront is developed and the pass to the beach in littered with ‘no beach access’ signs. I am gaining more sailing experience as our trip progresses and am now comfortable in situations that in the past put me on edge with anxiety. The trip across the Gulf Stream seemed like our first real ocean passage. We were hard on the wind and pointing slightly south of due east. The strong northward current pushed us along a ENE course very close along our desired course. Flying fish could be seen climbing and diving, banking left and right around the wave crests, flying for incredible lengths of time. At night our wake disturbed the bioluminescent animals in the water and bright blue sparks could be seen in our wake and the spray we created as we plowed through the waves. This was the first time we had sailed with only two crew members and with Scott asleep I was entirely alone at the helm. Decisions had to made without any reassurances and I inevitable wrestled with my doubt. Is that a ship? Is it headed toward us or away from us?

We were moving well at 6+ knots with the rail in the water much of the time. This was a state of affairs that would have made me very nervous a month earlier. My mind and body (stomach) had revolted against their world being turned on its side, but little by little they were beginning to accept the normalcy of it. We pulled into Grand Bahama around ten a.m. Customs was quick and painless. Dodging an expensive stay at the marina we motored, with much pitching and rolling, another four miles to the mouth of a canal system. As we passed the breakwater the surface became calm and I had time to marvel at the turquoise water and the exceptional fact that I was able to see the bottom. Exhausted, we dropped the anchor and each slept a solid 13 hours.

We took our time leaving the next morning and made good time on and overnight run to Nassau. We were making 7 knots with good wind to start the trip, but it died in the evening and we motored through the night. We slowed the engine and timed our arrival in Nassau for sunrise. Motoring through the harbor we scrapped our plans of stopping here and pushed on across the banks toward the Exuma Cays. Crossing the banks was very enjoyable. With the total calm we had all night the surface was glassy and the bottom was perfectly visible in the 15-20 feet of water. I stood at the bow and felt as if I was snorkeling without getting wet. Fish, the ripples of sand on the bottom and numerous star fish were all there to be seen. We arrived at Allen Cay around 3:30, tired but not excessively so, as it had been a calm overnight passage. A myriad of different waters colors surrounded us in this anchorage, each denoting a difference in depth or bottom type. I am confident that the pictures and my description both could not have conveyed their subtlety.

Calm white sand beaches greeted us on the small islands between which we were sandwiched. I swam to the beach and was approached by many iguanas, some quite aggressive. I learned later from another cruiser that they are fed by groups of tourists that arrive from Nassau on gutted cigarette boats. A lucky miss. I gain some experience with the Hawaiian sling and speared a surgeon fish for bait. I managed to hook the keel of our boat but nothing else.

Next: Allen Cay to Georgetown