Well, here we are! After many ups and downs, highs and lows, and everything in between, we are safely nestled in Alice Town, North Bimini, Bahamas. There is so much to put into this post that I am not sure where I should begin.
We left Ft. Lauderdale at 7:30pm, determined to sail through the night and arrive in the Bahamas with plenty of daylight left. Our biggest adversaries at that point were thunderstorms, massive cruise ships, and the gulf stream. Cruise-ships gave us no struggle, and we never entered into a collision course with any ships whatsoever. The gulf-stream and thunderstorms, however, were prevalent and did affect our journey across.
Entering the gulf stream was surreal in itself. I could feel the temperature change drastically to warmer temperature, and I also watched our speed drop as we entered the infamous 2.5 knots of current between Florida and the Bahamas. We had to plan our route with a rhumb line, pointing our bow south in order to negate the twenty five miles we would be pushed off course to the north. The beginning of the night was smooth sailing and motoring. As the night progressed, however, thunder clouds began to form in front of us. Matt and I could see lightning striking in the distance. Matt attempted to turn us away from the storm, and we were ultimately going backwards due to the current. This was still a smart move, since it delayed our arrival beneath the cumulonimbus formation until the most extreme parts of its power had dissipated.
When morning came, we were through the clouds, and the winds had settled to a nice ten knots blowing perpendicular to our sails. We once again put up sail and were cruising at a solid 5 to 6 knots.
Soon, in the distance, the Bimini Islands began to emerge. The water was still a dark blue but was slowly becoming more of a distinct tropical color. We were traveling through depths of over two thousand feet. As we neared the islands, the water suddenly became clear as day. Fish could distinctly be seen thirty feet below the surface. We entered the channel to Alice Town, and I could barely contain my excitement.We were here in one piece.
We docked in Blue Water Marina, and it was immediately apparent that we were no longer in the United States. The island of North Bimini is one of under two thousand people, and the streets reflected that. The marina we tied up at was the same that Ernest Hemingway used to visit for his fishing exploits many years ago. I was disappointed I did not bring my copy of The Old Man and the Sea on this trip. It only seemed fitting.
After clearing everything with customs, we packed up some snorkel kits and headed for the closest beach. Here we found a wrecked ship washed up on the bank, teeming with colorful sea life. Swimming through, I felt as though I was in the middle of a gigantic aquarium. The water was crystal clear as we swam around in disbelief.
After returning to the marina, we had some surprise visits below the surface. We were standing on the dock when suddenly an eight foot shark appeared and swam by the boat. This was a shock, but it turned out to be one of fifteen we have seen since then. Shark research is done in these islands, and subsequently there are thousands in the area. People throw meat or fish on ropes off the dock and feed the bull and reef sharks, watching them rip their pray to pieces from the clear depths below. We watched as three bull sharks came and demolished a large fish within seconds. I dropped a fish head in the water and watched as a nurse shark swam to the surface and made it his meal.
Bobby and I went spear fishing in the wreck afterwards with little luck. I spear fished thte night before using a knife strapped to an old oar, and I actually had a flounder pinned, but I was unable to kill it before I had to come up to the surface for air.
We have met some new friends who are helping us prepare to go out in our portable boat and try to catch some big game. Stay tuned to see what sort of shark encounters we have there.
I am also in the process of sending out gifts to all those that helped us with our travels. We are closing the go fund me page five days. So far, necklaces and other trinkets have been successfully created and are almost ready to be sent out. If you haven’t thrown a few dollars our way and still want some correspondence and gifts from the Bahamas, you have five days to do so! Simply go to gofundme.com/sailfree. We have the means for repairs, and keeping the boat in decently stable condition so at this point it is mainly about giving back to all of you! Thank you everyone for all your support! Can’t believe we are here and living this adventure out.