Wednesday, May 11, 2016


A manatee in the marina where we checked into the Bahamas. Barry first saw it when we tied the boat up on the way to take a taxi to get enough money to clear into the country.  I knew we had to pay some funds to get into the Bahamas but I did not realize there would not be an ATM or that the Marina would not be able to advance us the money on our Visa card so we had to take an expensive taxi ride to visit an ATM and pay for a night at the Marina.  We were planning on just checking in and continuing on our merry way until we could find a free anchorage. That one was a lesson learned the hard way.  Once we were in Internet range I very carefully figured out the regulations for checking into Bermuda and the Azores!! ANYWAY, manatees need fresh water and I believe she/he was hanging out under a dripping tap getting her fresh water fix. When Barry first saw her he figured she was dead, but later she proved she was very much alive by swimming about. 
Apparently the Bahamas are just a limestone shelf that was all under water before the last ice age so everything is quite flat and most of the land we walked was made of limestone and was very jaggedy.  We have been slowly sailing across the top of the Bahamas in what is known as the Little Bahamas bank just north of Grand Bahama Island. This area was not hit by the most recent hurricane so there is no damage here. When we left West End, where we checked in we had to wait until high tide to transit Indian Cay Channel. This whole area is very shallow and a lot of the time we are sailing in less than one meter of water and sometimes that is very difficult on the nerves. The charting is very good though so we managed to leave without any damage although we did come to a gentle stop one time when it was just too shallow ( we were gong very slowly and Barry just reversed and we easily back out😳).
The water is such an amazing colour. I wanted to go snorkelling here so we took the dinghy through this narrow pass between very small rocky islands. I got in the water and held on to the dinghy as we were pushed around by the current. There were lots of fish moving about, I saw a skip jack darting about looking for a meal and then on the way back in the dinghy a beautiful spotted eagle ray glided by. A day later Barry pointed out a turtle lolling about in the water with one flipper sticking up, how appropriate, we were headed for Green Turtle Cay. 
The keel of some poor soul's boat! We saw a whole hull high and dry on a reef about 10 feet above the water line. 
We spent five days exploring some unihabited cays, having no contact with other cruisers, making short day hops from place to place.  We had an ear glued to the weather reports, as always, and once we heard that thunderstorms were forecast with possible gust up to 50 knots we headed for shelter.  We managed to get the last available mooring at Green Turtle Cay and are we glad we did.  The predicted thunderstorms appeared with an impressive display of lightening and the boat right in front of us, who had anchored close to a mooring field and whose owner left the boat, dragged her anchor about 50 meters and rehooked right next to us. The owner finally reappeared back at his boat and managed to get his anchor reset, once again directly in front of us. Luckily no other boats dragged during the very windy gusts.

Green Turtle Cay is about 25 miles west of where we left the Bahamas, two years ago.  We sailed up to the Chesapeake that year, this year our goal is somewhat further to the east.  We are going to brave the infamous triangle and head for Bermuda. We were able to check out of the Bahamas in Green Turtle Cay and we found some fresh fruit, veggies and yogurt to top up our provisions for the voyage. 
New Plymouth the main town on GT Cay was a joy to explore. The streets were extremely narrow and everyone drove around in golf carts, I did not see a car. The older homes were very well kept and I loved the gabled windows painted with bright tropical colours and the frangipani and wisteria growing in the yards. We planned to spend more time in the Bahamas but there was a good weather window for our crossing to Bermuda so we left.