Today we left Bimini totally excited to move on. We had everyone say that today was the day, so we left. This was our biggest jump in terms of miles, so we got going early. The day started so beautiful as the sun came up, coffee in hand. The boat was all wet because it had rained that night. The sound of rain on the boat is wonderful, but I had wondered how it would effect our crossing. We woke up to a beautiful white puffy cloud morning. So off we went. It started out glorious. I sat and watched dolphins in the distance jumping thru our wakes. We rounded the North tip of Bimini and made our turn. The waves picked up. Then they really picked up. This doesn’t usually worry me because our boat handles swell really well. We are used to West Coast swells and wave that are spaced out 10-15 seconds. We had 3-4 foot swells 2 seconds apart. We were in a washing machine. Picture getting put into the old style agitation washing machine. It went all directions and tossed me in all directions. I am in charge of making sure the boat is all battoned down. So while under way I always walk around and make sure things are secure and not falling down. I went into the bow where or master stateroom is and saw water pouring thru the starboard side porthole. I knew I had shut it!!! As I climbed up to close it, and waves were crashing and water was pouring into my room, I stepped into a wet puddle of water on the carpet. Heart pounding because I had no idea how much water had come in. ARE WE SINKING? OMG!!! I got towels and soaked as much as I could while getting bashed around, and then accessed if any more water was coming into the boat now that the porthole was secure. My mind went dark, we have a hole in the boat. We are going down! I came up in a huff and reported to Andy that our bedroom is wet!
To make matters worse, we left the bridge window cover on. It was soaked from the rain. Andy loves driving the boat from up top. No biggie, we will let it dry as we go. But after hours of getting sprayed on the flybridge, he decided it was time to move down to the pilothouse. The pilothouse is one of the reasons we like this boat. It is totally cozy in bad weather with big wrap around windows. I sit in the queens lounge and Andy has a big comfy pilot chair. In really nice weather we both prefer the wind in our hair and the flybridge also has a queens lounge that looks out for dolphin spotting. Today, that all just sucked!!
So here is the truth. In these situations I know its uncomfortable, NOT unsafe, but I also go to the dark side. Think Titanic. So my heart starts pumping and I can’t relax. WHY DID WE LEAVE THE STUPID WINDSHEILD COVER ON!!!! Andy slowed the boat and ventured out with waves pitching and me screaming “DON’T FALL IN CUZ WE NEVER DID THAT MAN OVERBOARD DRILL!!! Shit, why didn’t we do that drill!!!! Me, in a total panic as the boat pitched and my brave hero out in the ocean spray. It ended fine, of course. Ok, I AM a bit dramatic. But honestly, I was SCARED!! Who knows me?? You can picture it now. I’m sure you are laughing at my plight. Ok, Andy made it safely back inside and got set up in his comfy pilot house chair and I settled down. The boat was not sinking either. At this point I had been down below 5x to check. So I laid down and calmed down. My AQUAMAN in his captains chair just where he belongs, and me in my queens lounge, just where I belong. We rolled with the choppy, shitty ocean. No clear turquoise water that you can see to the bottom we had seen so many pictures. We felt jipped! NOOOO, not for us! We got choppy soup.
I am tucked into a harbor now. I am making dinner. There are a bunch of boats here. We are safe. I am working on my attitude. Can you say TEQUILLA!!! Went straight to hard. Wine was not going to cut it. Andy promises me the most beautiful beaches tomorrow. He better deliver because I have already scouted out the nearest airport.
I sold Cindy a bill of goods. I told her that when shipped the boat to do the Great Loop, we would be on the Intercoastal Waterway the whole way. Million dollar homes and civilization and grocery stores and calm protected waters. It will be busy with commercial and recreational boating traffic. There will always be someone around who could help us if we were in distress. I told her that if anything goes wrong, we can pull off the ICW and drop anchor anywhere. Call for help.
We got to the East Coast too early to start the loop so why not do the Bahamas in the winter?? Warm Clear water with reefs to snorkel. Next thing you know we are doing 50 miles across the Gulf Stream, which can be treacherous with the wrong wind. We picked our day and went for it. It was great. I expected to see many boats making the crossing that day. We saw only a freighter and 1 other boat! Bimini was a bummer getting stuck there. I couldn’t swim because of the 6-8 ft Bull Sharks under our boat. I am sure you saw Cindys posts! It’s insane. There was not much else to do. I finally got in the water on a 2 tank dive, and it was awesome. I finally got to swim with my fishy friends and I was happy. The weather was beautiful, but not for boating. The next island crossing was 90 miles across the Bahama banks which averages 15 feet. I talked to other captains in the resort and they told me to take the Northerly Route and then East across The Banks. Sunday was the best day of the 4 we were there. An 8 hour run. Things started off calm, until we were in 3-4 hours. Then the wind picked up and continued to pick up. About 4 hours in, it occurred to me that we are absolutely on our own out here. No Coast Guard and no one on the radar for 32 miles around us. No land in sight, and we are 50 miles from anywhere. My first thought was, Cindy did not sign up for this. All of our previous boat trips we have had land in sight!
I measure the sea condition by how much sea spray I get on the top flybridge. As I was ducking behind the windshield I realized, “I LEFT THE STUPID PILOT HOUSE WINDSHEILD COVER ON BECAUSE IT WAS WET!!!! It has been getting sprayed for hours. “WHAT WAS I THINKING. NOW I CAN’T DRIVE FROM DOWN BELOW, AND I AM GETTIN SOAKED.” I now have to go out on the slippery, pitching deck and get that cover off. I did it hoping not to fall overboard. Once that was done we settled in to the cozy pilothouse and pushed the throttles up. The best thing I did was uprgrade to the newest navigation equipment. With all the wind current and swell I maintained a course on the proven route within feet and found the small canal in the island that gets you into a natural harbor and our marina. I am soooooo greatfull that my First Mate did not freak out too much. I could not and would not do this trip without her. She is my world.
Today we got to go to one of the most beautiful, seclude beaches that I have ever seen. Happy now and Cindy and I are laughing about our hairy crossing. Life is good.
Today!! Yes it was worth the peril of yesterday. Just look at where we are. Just wow! Yes today made it worth it! Nice bike ride to an empty beach. Just wow!!