Time to go home

 

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Nassau-Chub Cay-Bimini-Fort Lauderdale

We spent a week in Eleuthera at Harbor Island and loved it.  It was time to move on.  The original plan was to head to March Harbor in the Abacos.  Andy got the computer out and the weather going that direction was not in our favor.  At least for the next 4 days.  Everyone we talked to, all the mega yachts captains and locals kept saying the same thing over and over.  That the Abacos is not good weather until March and later.  It’s to far North and gets all the cold fronts.  We could wait out the next 4 days to make the crossing to Abacos.  We would be heading toward an oncoming storm set to arrive about an hour before we would have gotten there, but going back to Nassau was flat and not windy.  We spent a few hours discussing a route and making a plan.  Do we go up to the Abacos in a few more days or head back Southwest to Nassau??  We were really conflicted.  It came down to timing.  We have been in the bahamas for 7 weeks and if we continued onto the Abacos, we would be committing to another month.  It would still take a week or longer to go home if we started now.   Frankly,  I didn’t really have it in me.  I didn’t say it outright but I felt that we had seen so much and I was ready to do the “about face.”   It wasn’t like we could get home quickly,  198 miles. This was many days of travel before we could even reach Florida. Maybe your reading this and wondering what the fuss is all about.  We had gone a long way from home, so keep going?  Or call it.  It came down to the fact that I wanted to fly home and see my kids and parents.  It came down to the fact that we want to start the loop early April.  We looked at the calendar and realized we were running out of time.  Before we left in Jan from Fort Lauderdale we had several services that needed to be finished.  We had new mini blinds measured but they didn’t get ordered.  The guy wanted to measure again “a final measurement. “  What???   He was a boat blind guy, not your average blind installer so it was worth waiting for him and get the job done right.  Also our aft head was still not right.  Even after a long service appointment replacing parts and troubleshooting the whole system we left and it still wasn’t working.  We had to return and have him attack the head again.  He promised he would come back and fix it.  We just didn’t want to delay our departure.  We knew we had to come back here eventually to finish what we started.

Day 1:

We headed back to Nassau.  If you read my post about the Devils backbone, it was the same procedure to get out of that area.  Hire a guide pilot.   The day we wanted to depart, so did everyone else!!!!!   It was the only day that was good and then a big blow was coming thru and the ocean was going to be rough.  We here “weather window a lot!”  The reason we didn’t go North.  Thankfully Andy called Li’l Woody early enough that we got put first on the list.  The difference this time was instead of him being on our boat, he piloted a mega yacht and we were told to follow him closely.  He said he would radio us when we were safely thru the pass and then we were free to go where ever we wanted.  Woody arrived early,  7AM with a homemade carrot cake and a jar of jam.  The jam was unmarked and the carrot cake was warm!  He gave Andy instructions and we got in behind La Dolce Vita, a 125’ yacht.  Woody boarded it and we began the passage.  Once into deeper water he he called us on the radio and told us that we were thru the pass and Andy had already set our course to Nassau.  We had a calm,  flat beautiful crossing only 4 hours and we arrived fresh and happy to my favorite marina,  Palm Cay.   We were greeted by the staff,  “HI AQUAMAN!!   Welcome back!!!”  We fueled up and tied up.  Day 1 was done.   We decided to come back here because we had 3 days of predicted wind and storm which turned out to be no big deal.   The ocean was rough but we didn’t get much rain.   I just loved it there.  It was away from the hustle bustle and we didn’t feel the need to explore anymore of Nassau.  It was a good spot to go grocery shopping, cook some good food, and do laundry while sipping Moscow Mules by the pool.   Yes,  even though I had to do laundry I did not suffer!   One step closer to home.

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The pool at the Palm Cay while I was doing laundry.  Not to bad!

Day 2:

This was a bigger crossing day.  We had 6 or 7 hours to get to Chub Cay.   This crossing was the one that I hated the most.  When we left the Berry islands for Nassau the prediction was good, but the crossing was a long one and the weather shifted and I thought we might die before we reached Nassau.  I started out nervous.   The difference this time was our experience in the Bahama waters.  We knew how to read the predictions better.  What a 2 ft wave really felt like and more importantly, what our comfort level was.   The whole trip changes when the water is unpredictable and rough.   Andy knows how to read the waves,  directions of the winds and what angle we need to travel.  He is really good at it now, after all this time.   Maybe we are a bit over cautious after getting caught a few times in rough waves.  Today’s was the day.  After 3 days in the marina we were ready to brave this big crossing and get closer to home.  We left early.  We arrived in Chub right on time and ready for lunch.  We were met at the dock by not 1 but 2 dock hands in light blue shirts and khaki pants.  This is the first marina were we had floating docks.  I did not even need their help.  It’s cake to tie up to a floating dock.  Fixed wood docks are a whole other animal.  I tipped them (I am sure they thought I was a cheep ass looking at this fancy place but I didn’t care. We were only there 1 night!)  We checked in and walked the grounds.  This is a world class resort.  It was spectacular.  I secretly wished we were staying longer,  although I was also excited to be going home.  The buildings were incredible and highly  decorated.  The pool was like something you’d see in the states at a fancy hotel with a swim up bar and an infinity edge looking out to the sea.  It had a beach and chairs and oh my gosh!!!!   I wanted to get my suit on and enjoy this but hold on to your hat……… ANDY/AQAUAMAN/ADVENTURE SEEKER/MAN WHO WANTS TO KILL WIFE……. had other plans.  We took the dingy down and set off to find Turkle Creek.  It’s a mangrove river that was supposed to be full of turtles.  It was GORGEOUS!!!  And, yes full of turtles.  The water was crystal clear so Andy got his gear on and snorkel all while pulling me along in the dingy.  It was the first time I wished I had brought my snorkel stuff.  I would have gotten in  the water.  It was shallow and clear.   Ton of turtles darted away from our little boat and popped their heads up for a quick breath.  We got back, put the dingy back, cleaned up and walked to a little bar that we were told was a locals fun place.  I was a bit disappointed.   It was a loud, music blasting pit and no one was really there.  I preferred the fancy place!!!  Of course.  We had a drink and then noticed our friends we had met in Nassau, Jackie and Peyton,  had signed the wall.  The whole wall was graffitied with boat names and t-shirts were stapled to the walls.  We signed our name by our friends and brought them an AQUAMAN t-shirt to hang up on the wall.    Later we went to the bar (in the fancy restaurant)  and had a nice drink (not in plastic cups) and shared a yummy dinner.  BIG DAY!!!!  I was thrashed and I slept great!!!!   Tomorrow was another crossing.

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Floating docks are the bomb!
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World class Chub Cay

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Turtle creek and mangroves
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Andy snorkeling and pulling me in the dingy,  4 ft of water!

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Signing the wall at the Naughty Rooster!

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This place has Becker/Bannerman written all over it!  Sports fisher soup!

Day 3:

This is the longest of the crossings across the shallow Bahama Banks. Chub Cay in the Berry Islands to Bimini.  The day was calm and the seas were flat.  The water is  the most gorgeous color of aquamarine.  We cruised along forever in 5-7-8-10’ back to 5’ of water.  This crossing was totally uneventful.  I was even able to make lunch it was so calm.  At one point however we hit 3’, 2 1/2’, 3 1/2’.  Andy slowed the boat down to a crawl in case we bottomed out. He was following the suggested route.  I have to admit that I will not miss this part of the Bahamas.  I hate how shallow the water gets.  Totally freaks me out.  You can see every contour of the bottom and it appears as if you are skimming the sand.   The water is pretty and clear but man its scary.  We arrived at the wreck of the Suppona around 2PM and dropped anchor. Andy got his snorkel gear and swam over.  There were at least 10 boats all anchored. It’s a real hot spot/bucket list place to snorkel.  Check! We arrived in Bimini in time to make dinner, have a drink and turn on the A/C.  This island has the worst no se ums,  and we got eaten alive when we passed thru here weeks before.  Bimini is not my favorite. I didn’t care if we ever come back here. It is however the gateway to the Bahamas. Only 5 hours from the States.  It’s full of fishing boats and some people never go further into the Bahamas. The fisherman come in at night, filet their catch and its a shark zone!!! We went to Bimini Sands, which is a condo complex and much more quiet, but the mosquitos were out of control!!!! Never again do I want to come here.

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Day 4

The last leg! Let’s go! We woke up early to be back in Florida by noon.  I was beyond beyond excited and ready.  The day was gorgeous and lots of boats were pulling out as the water was a perfect passage day.  We were going along and I was in my normal spot AKA: the queens lounge when I heard Andy screaming “OH SHIT< OH SHIT”. I looked over to see bright green fluid pouring out of the dash and his legs were covered in it.  I ran for a towels as my heart pumped and my head went dark.  We were at least an hour out of Bimini and I was starting to see the island fade and was watching to see the US appear when this happened.  We soaked up the fluid, took a breath and realized the throttle controller had lost all it’s glycol and we would not have control of that motor.  Andy decided quickly that the safest thing to do was turn around and go back, it was quicker.  He prayed that we wouldn’t lose the other side.  We had no idea if the fluid was only lost on the starboard motor or both.  He had control of the port engine and it appeared that the starboard motor got stuck at 1600 rpms.  So technically we had 1 motor and the other passing at about 2/3rd power.  He slowed the boat WAY down and my heart sunk and I tried not to cry out of fear but also disappointment.  We were so close.  Nothing had gone wrong the whole trip and we were on our last leg.  Going back to Bimini and the bugs for who knows how long to fix this problem was an ugly thought.   We called the marina as we got close to say we were limping in and as we approached other boaters came out to grab lines as Andy manipulated the boat into a slip like a pro.  Without any hesitation he tore apart the throttle and found out what happened.  We had the boat torn apart and I handed him tools like a surgical nurse.  I want to take my label maker and mark them all now so I can be even quicker.  It’s a big long story, sweating our asses off getting bit by mosquitos, dehydrated, angry, disappoint and then ultimately my wizard mechanical husband had it repaired.  He said LETS GO!!!! Nervous as I was, I did NOT want to stay. We untied and left with enough time to get to Florida before the sun went down, barely.  The ocean was not great but every mile I was closer.  We pulled into Fort Lauderdale as cruise ships loaded with people were pulling out. There were TONS of boats traffic.  We had that feeling like “oh no, back to reality and traffic.”  Sunday afternoon in Fort Lauderdale is not really were a pleasure boater wants to be.  It’s nuts.  Jim at the marina, met us at the Los Olas dock and helped me tie up the boat.  Exhausted and grateful. Here we are.  Stateside.  I keep referring to it as home. It’s not really home but it gives me comfort to say that.  Home is where my boat is.  I love my boat even though she gave us a fit today.  What an epic and LONG adventure.  Ill be happy to just do nothing for a while.  That’s not going to happen.  I’m married to Mr. Scheer

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Our Gulf crossing started so smooth
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Then this happened
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The wizard fixed it!

Never been happier to see Florida in my life!!!  Not happy however to come into the harbor while cruise ships are leaving port and a ton of boats where in our way.  Very crowded in the ICW and lots of stupid boaters. Still happy to be home!

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Who’s gonna win, The Cruise ship of course. We stayed clear.

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Just a few boaters in the ICW
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Lots of boater gather here and party on the sand bar in the ICW

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