After Dane & Steph left we focused on getting ready for the Bahamas. This meant –
Completing several things on our boat to do list. I will not bore you with the details but it involved mostly cleaning and maintenance items.
Stocking the boat with as much food (and beer/wine) as we could. Prices for just about everything are 2-2.5x higher in the Bahamas compared to the US.
Finding space for all that food, beer and wine.
Getting Penny to a vet for her health certificate as one is required to enter the Bahamas.
Picking up our mobile hot spot. My Island WiFi was simply the best way to stay connected last year and so of course we signed up again.
Getting the generator injectors replaced.
Donating our rusty bikes to a local business that re-purposes them and then distributes to low income children and families.
One last item before looking for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas was driving up to Jacksonville (4.5 hr drive north). I had momentarily lost my sanity and decided to run the Jacksonville Marathon. I did this 8 weeks before the race which meant a very short amount to train (never an ideal strategy when setting out to run 26.2 miles). But it was a goal for me to work towards before heading over to the Bahamas where most days are spent in the water and the running shoes do not get much use. The good news is that the race went really well. I ended up with a a PR and BQ time (Boston Qualifying) the latter is a nice runner's bucket list item.
After the race we met Jan (Ceci Kay) for dinner in Ft Lauderdale one last time. He had helped us a few weeks back with the leaking rudder seal and it has been nice to see him a few times while he is out from the west coast visiting his mom for a few weeks.
The weather forecast showed a brief opportunity to cross the Gulf Stream for Bimini on a Tuesday. So Monday afternoon we left the New River and dropped the anchor 5 miles north at Sunrise Bay (we had stayed here on the way down to our marina spot in Ft Lauderdale and liked it). Also, Forever Friday (Mike & Mary) had been hanging out here for a week and we wanted to see them before we crossed to the Bahamas.
Tuesday we crossed the Gulf Stream ~60 miles and landed in South Bimini. The conditions were good, commercial traffic was light and it was wonderful to see the clear blue waters as we approached the marina. It is a long story but Kent spent several hours checking us into the country after being told that the immigration office near us was closing early. After having checked into over a dozen countries in our boating history this was the most challenging check in. Last year was a breeze, this year not so much.
While we landed in Bimini and were officially in the Bahamas we are looking to spend as much time as we can further east in the Exumas. This will require several good weather days for us to travel there. The one nice day we crossed over to Bimini was followed by a forecast of at least a week+ of very high winds. We knew when we left Ft Lauderdale that we would be sitting in Bimini for quite some time. Interestingly enough we crossed to Bimini last year on the same day we did this year but with our friends on INNTW (Kelly, Mike & their kiddos). We had the same situation last year where we needed to wait a week in Bimini to be able to move on. We really did not want to have the same thing happen this year but we also did not want to sit in SE Florida any longer either. So we chose to sit and make the most we can of Bimini.
While there is not much to do/see in Bimini we will take this next week+ while it blows hard to catch up on the never ending to do list, start back up our beach walking routine, cook some great meals on board, dip in the ocean and dive back into some good books. Stay tuned for when the winds subside and where we can make it to next.