April 1st, 2021 – – – SAIL NORTH TO GEORGETOWN
We left early this morning to begin our sail north to Georgetown. We had sustained 25 knots and had the most beautiful, relaxing down-wind sail. The color of the ocean was again that unmistakable turquoise we experienced crossing Comer Channel. One sole dolphin came to play with us for a long time, at least 30 minutes, dancing with us at our bow. We arrived to Georgetown quicker than we even anticipated, we were cruising so fast. It was the most fun and impressive anchoring either one of us had done. We could see our spot from a distance, where we wanted to anchor. Brian pulled the boat up, whipped her around right on top of the correct spot to which I just let out the anchor chain. If anyone had been watching, I bet we looked like real pros… are crazy. We lounged about on deck to enjoy the rest of the remaining sun.
3,201 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
April 2nd – 4th, 2021 – – – WORK DAZE
Another strong front is upon us, lasting a few days, and we of course both stayed inside. I spent all the days working on all of Take the Waters media projects, while Brian took them to lounge about. It’s days like these where I wish there was more space on the boat to really walk around. I end up sitting, in one spot, fixated on my work because there’s nothing else for my body to do. I wish the weather wasn’t so crappy out so I could swim, or walk the beach. Anything to stop looking at the same brown walls and a computer screen.
April 5th, 2021 – – – PICKING UP HITCH-“FLYERS”
The front has calmed down enough to get in to Georgetown and take care of our immigration paperwork, but everything was closed. Turns out, in The Bahamas, they recognize Easter Monday as a holiday as well, and literally everything but two outside tiki hut bars were closed. So, since we already made the trip across Elizabeth Harbour, we walked up to one of the opened bars and grabbed a seat. It was 11am, and Brian orders a drink. We ordered some burgers, and eventually I had a few drinks as well. Brian can be very charismatic, and eventually had the whole bar talking with him about various topics. I was mostly interested with the beer distribution conversation I had with one woman who use to work in the system for the islands. We talked gorilla marketing, but for island beer. After a time, a younger couple, near our age, came and sat on the other side of the bar. They had a large pit bull and bags of luggage that looked like it had some fun miles on them. Eventually Brian and I left the bar, but ended up striking a conversation with this couple on our way out. They were both having a difficult time finding a place to stay for the night because of the holiday, and having their pup Diesel (aka, Bubbles) wasn’t helping their case much. They had just flown in that day from Crooked Islands using their personal airplane – making their way back to the United States. Coincidentally enough, the young woman, Jules, also knew our friends Chris and Alisha from Key West. Given their circumstances, personalities, and the fact that we had mutual friends, we invited them to stay on our boat for the night until the hotels open back up after the holiday. The dinghy ride back was rough and very wet. I, along with Diesel, sat at the bow, and got soaked. Though, lucky Diesel, he was able to crawl over the luggage to get out of the splash zone. We dropped their bags off on our boat, and I got dried off, before heading to Chat ‘n Chill. I had never seen that place so dead! We got a few beers and hung out on the porch, watching the sun set. Back on our boat, we cooked up some hog fish they caught themselves and it was so delicious! Jules taught me how to make a coleslaw that her mother use to make for her out of uncooked ramen noodles when she was a kid, and it was deliciously simple.
April 6th, 2021 – – – IMMIGRATION INTERROGATION
We made coffee and oatmeal in the morning, and all four sat together for breakfast. Diesel has lived up to his Bubbles name, as he is the sweetest, cuddliest dog and I have truly enjoyed having him on our boat. We dropped them off in Georgetown, as we continued with our immigration mission. When we first arrived to The Bahamas, the immigration department did not fill out our visa dates correct, and technically only had a few days left to be in Bahamian waters. Once we caught the issue, the immigration department told us not to worry about it, and that any office could extend it when the date is closer. So here we are, on a completely different island, searching for the immigration office. We could only find the customs office, who then directed us towards the immigration office located much much much farther down the street. The walk there was hot, but manageable. The officer there was incredibly intense, and was legitimately interrogating us with all kinds of questions. Brian did his best to answer him, but he seemed really nervous, like he couldn’t catch his breath. He later said from walking in the heat, and up all the stairs, with his mask on made him feel breathless. After all that that man put us through, he told us he couldn’t extend it, handed us a piece of paper with contact information, and told us we have to electronically submit the request. Was the interrogation just to see if we deserved to receive that email address? Or was this man just giving us hell for sport? We walked to Driftwood Café and requested an extension on our visas over pizza. We’ve yet to hear back, but my fingers are crossed we’ll be able to stay in the islands longer. Later in the day, after ship shaping the boat for our leave tomorrow, we met back up with Jaime and Jules at Splash. We had a nice meal with them, staying past sundown, where we (again) realized we forgot our navigation lights. There will never be a time where dinghying across large waters, especially with no lights, will ever feel comfortably safe. In fact, we almost collided with another dinghy, who also had no navigation lights. Could you imagine? You have the entire harbour to ride on, and all the time to be on it, and this is the moment and spot two 9’ dinghies cross paths. Luckily, the crisis was averted, but our heart rates were up.
April 7th, 2021 – – – SAIL TO STANIEL CAY AND OUR FIRST MAHI
We left Georgetown early for a quick sail to Staniel Cay. Our morning was hectic. Brian and I have different ways we like to operate the boat; he believes it’s because I don’t like sailing (which I find terribly offensive), when really it’s that I like to sail with a plan and less by the blind seat of my pants. I couldn’t get comfortable with the lack of communication on him wanting to sail out of the anchorage while our bow was pointing directly at anchored boats, let alone sail right on the tail ends of two obviously chartered sailboats captained by inexperienced sailors in a tight channel. Our differences, plus the hazardous resulting situation, made for an unpleasant morning. Eventually, we passed the all the hassle unscathed, after tense words and decision making, and continued sailing in silence. Brian later caught a Mahi Mahi, our first line caught fish in the islands. We’ve tried many times before since we’ve been here, catching fish, and it seems to be much more difficult than you hoped. That, or you only catch barracuda’s, which I hear people do eat, but we weren’t ready for the experience. He pulled in the line, while I steered the boat. We were completely under sail, no engine, and I slowed us down gracefully, just enough for him to be finish reeling in his catch, then brought us right back up to speed. How’s THAT for not liking sailing? It was his first time catching a filleting a Mahi Mahi, and he did a pretty good job. We arrived to Staniel Cay, where it was absolutely bat shit. It’s such a known spot in The Bahamas for cruisers and vacationers, but the Cay is so small that it makes it difficult to contain that many partying people safely, in my opinion. Boats are zipping through the anchorage like mad, which is exactly how swimmers in anchorages get run over. We made our way to the Staniel Cay restaurant at the marina, and had ourselves a few quiet pina coladas.
3,261 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
April 8th, 2021 – – – GROTTO FILMING
We’re realizing, and I’m worrying, that boat life is not making Brian as happy as he would have hoped. The longer we are out on the water, the more irritable I see him become. There’s no doubt that cruising comes with its stresses, but more than anything it takes you away for your basic comforts you so easily have while on land, and I believe that is what he is missing. I’m sure it doesn’t help to be around the same person 24/7, as he seems to be upset with more often than not these days. We agreed to stay in Staniel Cay today so I could get the footage I’ve been talking of for months in the Grotto, but today he wasn’t happy about the decision. We went anyway, and I was very happy for that. It was difficult to get the shots because the Grotto is always so packed. On social media, you’ll see beautiful, model-like photographs of people in the grotto, but I now know in the background there are just swarms of people. Add on top of this trying to get video, and not just a photograph, and it becomes a very complex task. Even still, I was able to get the shots I wanted, and I am really excited to work on this video project!
April 9th, 2021 – – – CAMBRIDGE CAY AND MY FIRST MAHI CATCH
I love sailing days, for many reasons. Once of which is because we always wake up early for them. I love waking up with a purpose, you get to see first light and enjoy the warming up of the air on the water. Brian enjoyed coffee in bed while I finished some last-minute social media planning and prepped the boat for our sail today. We sailed north for Cambridge Cay, which is a part of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. On our sail, before we entered the “no fishing zone” in the Exuma Park’s, he went over with me how to properly operate the fishing rod, which I appreciated, while we were sailing. I got the rod in my hand and instantly felt a tug – I caught a fish! I reeled it in and it was another Mahi Mahi! I filleted it all on my own, with a little initial guidance from Brian. I did an awesome job and I was very proud of myself! Cambridge cay is absolutely stunning, and just from looks alone, my new favorite spot in the park chain. I secured our mooring ball on our first try, and went off exploring the area to plan what areas we’d like to visit deeper tomorrow. Brian made a really nice dinner with the Mahi Mahi he caught, which I was grateful and pleasantly surprised with.
3,275 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
April 10th, 2021 – – – A ROBBY RUN IN
Our first outing was to dive “the aquarium” – a really neat little spot just north of the anchorage with beautiful coral gardens and reef fish. As we pulled up with our dinghy, we saw three other people snorkeling the spot as well. One of which looked strangely familiar to us. Blonde dreads. A very tan, slender man. “That looks like Robby, doesn’t it?”, we said to each other. Brian asked if he was Robby, which he replied perplexedly, yes! Robby was the captain on our first sailboat charter we took together in Key Largo. What a small world! We updated him of all that he accomplished and he was so stoked for us. It really was a wonderful experience having everything come full circle for us. He was currently chartering for the couple who was with him. Eventually they headed off on their own way, and we said warm goodbyes. Of all the places in the world, we run in to him at the aquarium! After diving the aquarium, we went and saw the plane as well. I couldn’t dive that long for my body was absolutely frigid at this point, but the wreck was really something to see. Brian swam through the cockpit as I peeked my head in to find that all the buttons and gauges were still intact. Afterwards we warmed up by taking a walk on the beach near our anchorage. The trail was lined with old, sun-bleached conch shells, taking us all the way through the Cay to the Atlantic side. We walked the beach and found shells and washed-up coral, and sat on the rocks to watch the waves come in.
April 11th, 2021 – – – LIGHTENING STORM MILES LONG
The weather models, as well as Chris Parker, all pointed to a nasty day outside, so we chose today to be a work day. The weather wasn’t as bad as we anticipated, though it was windy. It wasn’t until later in the evening when things got crazy. We had eaten dinner, the sun was long gone, and we were enjoying a drink on deck when we began seeing flashes of light in the distance. We instantly realized them to be lightning, and the flashes spanned the entire horizon. Behind us we could hear the moored mega yachts partying without a care in the world, when here we are looking at a lightning monster heading our way, and it was moving fast. It quickly became too close for comfort and we wrapped up our deck time to stow ourselves away in bed, door closed. It was a ferocious punch of wind that spun our boat around with ample speed. The storm was upon us quickly, lightning surrounding us. I squeezed my eyes tightly closed, waiting to be the boat struck. We bounced around on our mooring line like a trapped animal trying its best to free itself. It went on for what felt like forever. And somehow, I fell asleep.
April 12th, 2021 – – – TRIP TO COMPASS CAY
The morning was gloomy, but it slowly got better over time. By early afternoon, it was nothing but blue skies. Consort came in to the anchorage this morning, which was such a nice surprise! We thought we had seen the last of them. We were off to Compass Cay, but would stop to say hello on our way back. Compass Cay was much farther than I realized, and the ride was choppy. I’ve heard so many great things of Compass Cay, and I think it’s something like hearing how great a movie is from everyone you know, as to me it the Cay was disappointing. It wasn’t terrible by any means, but it wasn’t as glamorous or chocked full of activities like my imagination led me to believe. Almost every slip was filled with giant yachts, yes, but the dinghy dock required me to quite literally scale the side of a highly built dock, just to be met by a pricey dock fee. We both purchased a beer at the office and people watched others watching the nurse sharks below. Almost unanimously, everyone on the dock, including us, made our way in to the water to swim with them. I’m always amazed by how rough they feel, like sandpaper. It’s almost like one day I will actually touch one that feels like the slipperiness I’m sure they should feel like. While we were in the water, we heard familiar voices. Looking up, it was Kim and John, whom we met at the Fish Fry back in Georgetown. They invited us to their catamaran, docked in Compass Cay, for some drinks – of course we obliged. We stayed for a few hours, catching up and talking sailing before heading back to our anchorage. Kim and John are a lot of fun, and so easy to talk with. We passed Consort and stopped to say hello, holding on to the side of their vessel. We planned to meet up tomorrow for adventures.
April 13th, 2021 – – – ADVENTURES WITH CONSORT
Consort sent us a message to meet them at Honeymoon Beach. We’ve been skirting around these cays, investigating the maps, and we didn’t even know the place existed! On Cambridge Cay, just to the northeast of Little Bells Cay, there is a trail that leads you from the anchorage side to the channel side. It opens up to the most GORGEOUS and wide beach. My heart practically jumped out of my chest at the site of it. The water was just a gorgeous shade of crystal blue. Heather was standing on the beach, hand shading her eyes, as she was looking out towards the water. She tells us Trent went out to snorkel the Elkhorn Reef, but she stayed behind because she hurt her foot. We put on our fins and went out towards the reefs ourselves. By the warmth of the sun, the water was so pleasant to be in. The Elkhorn Reef’s were tall and expansive, though I’m not positive how healthy they were. There didn’t seem to be much color to them and I was disappointed at the lack of fish as well. We made our way back to the beach, where Trent and Heather were sitting under a silver buttonwood tree, ready to eat their packed PB&J’s. Hungry at the sight of their sandwiches, we headed back to our boat to make our own lunch before meeting them again for a trip to the Rocky Dundas. Brian, after falling in love with my most recent creation, skillet bread, made a loaf to bring to Consort. Trent and Heather had already made it to the Rocky Dundas, as it seems we always arrive late with them. They told us how the current was strong, but worth a look. It was a sweeping current, and it was exhausting just to swim near the dinghy. Together we made our way to the opening of the cavern. The waves beat us up as we tried to stand inside its wide and towering mouth. I could barely stand. There were pathways going deeper stemming from the walls, but we weren’t wanting to walk them for fear the tide was rising and it would get worse inside. We enjoyed it for a few more moments before heading back to the dinghy. Together, our two dinghies pulled up on a sandbar near the anchorage, where we drank some beers and marveled over the conch nursery.
April 14th, 2021 – – – LATE EASTER ON CONSORT
After telling Trent and Heather of the aquarium yesterday, they got excited to see it and we showed them the way. We all dove together, everyone having a great time. Consort is always prepared, and came with their own lunch again. Brian and I did not, and went back to our boat for lunch. They invited us to their boat for a “very late Easter Dinner”, to which we wouldn’t say no to. When we arrived we drank multiple glasses of Dark & Stormy’s and a charcuterie board, enjoying the sun on deck. By nightfall, we had a delicious buffet waiting for us of pork, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, wine and brains leftover skillet bread (now more like biscotti). After dinner I played DJ and was happily impressed with their music selection. We ate brownies until we were stuffed and sat and chatted until our eyes got heavy enough to head back to our bed.
April 15th, 2021 – – – A LAZY DAY
We spent the day lounging around the boat and planning our next destinations.
April 16th, 2021 – – – SPONTANEOUS LEAVE FOR SHROUD CAY
We spent most of the day preparing the boat to move tomorrow, when by early afternoon, once we realized how ready our boat really was, we spontaneously up and left. Our goodbyes were said to Consort, who said they may make their way up the Exuma chain as we are. I hope to run in to them again. They are always such a pleasure to spend time with. The journey to Shroud Cay was quick, and we took the bank route as opposed to the Atlantic route we’ve become accustomed to taking. We arrived in time to have hot cocoa on deck and watch the sunset. The white tailed tropicbird joined us, and I had never seen such a majestic looking and sounding creature flutter in such a way before.
3,304 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
April 17th, 2021 – – – DINGHY DRIFTING THE TIDES
Shroud Cay has a river that runs through it, each side being affected by the changing tides. With each tide change comes a swift current – east to west, then west to east, respectively. We’ve heard from so many fellow cruisers that this was their favorite Cay, and the number one must do activity is drift your dinghy along this river, taking advantage of the flowing currents. And that’s just what we did! The little entrance to the river was unassuming, but as you turn the mangrove corner it become a long winding sparkling blue line cutting through stark lime green brush. It seems as though I’ll find a dazzling blue water color and think to myself, there’s not a color that could become more beautiful… and then it does, it happens again. The color of the water in this river was what I could only imagine was a design perfected by a world renowned, luxury pool architect. The bluest blue. Looking at it felt like ice. I could not wait to go in. I shoved my head through my goggles and jumped in. Ah, bliss. We floated for hours and saw baby lemon sharks and turtles swimming along with us. Along the way, we made a big oops. Every now and then we’d have to turn our motor on to avoid hitting the mangroves as the current pulled and pushed us. The river was so shallow, however, that we had our motor on the highest rung, not realizing this was leaving our water intake exposed. Our engine overheated, and we had a scare of not being able to return back. Luckily, after lower the motor and forcing water through the engine quickly, it cooled down and we were off again, but this time back to the boat. We knew Highborne Cay wasn’t too far away, and with there nothing much more to do at Shroud, we decided to make our way there early and left.
3,318 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
April 18th, 2021 – – – ANCHORAGE NIGHTMARE
We woke up this morning to the worst anchorage conditions we’ve ever experienced. Our boat was rolling to the point of giving us a case of the mal de mer. I was envisioning what all of our boats in the anchorage would look like during a hurricane, and I pictured it to be similar to this. Even the mega yachts were rocking; I’m sure those clients did not pay for that experience. Thankfully, our slip we had reserved a few days prior was available for us inside the marina, and we were able to make our way there by noon. It was chaotic inside the harbor, multiple boats trying to turn around to enter their sleeps, all while fighting the current. Everyone was able to make their entrances without a scene. We shared a pizza at Xuma Restaurant, and drank kalik’s while walking the beaches.
April 19th, 2021 – – – IT’S PARTY TIME
We woke up earlier than usual this morning to snag normal adult size bikes by the office to ride around the island. We went back to our various favorite spots to enjoy the views. There was a bar on the north end of the island we didn’t realize existed, overlooking the north anchorage. We drank kalik’s and rum punches as we swam in the water and paddleboarded around. We danced in the water to 80’s music, and honestly just got drunk, it was rad. Later I took him to the swing in the water on the west side of the cay, and we waited for sunset to head back to the boat to play a few games of uno on deck.
April 20th, 2021 – – – GET IN LOSER
We bought ingredients to make pina coladas and we didn’t regret drinking a few glasses of those today. Though, Brian did decide to wear his “get in loser, we’re doing butt stuff” shirt around the island. Later in the day, while we were on deck playing uno, our new marina neighbors, in a beautiful brand new Fleming Yacht, invited us for guacamole. They were such nice people, so welcoming and interested in what we were doing with our lives. We were given a tour of the yacht, which was just jaw droppingly luxurious. And that bow deck! How I would love to sit there as you cruised through the ocean. As we left, they gave us a ton of food to take home with us. Not just cracker and guacamole leftovers, but unused frozen meat and a ton of fresh vegetables. They were taking their boat back to Nassau and flying back home to the states tomorrow, and said whatever food we didn’t want would be going to waste. We were so grateful; you never take fresh foods and quality meat for granted. Brian had a major epiphany that night, that stemmed from his choice of shirt. Taking himself, and his life choices, more seriously.
April 21st, 2021 – – – OVERNIGHT SAILING TO BIMINI ISLAND
Today we prepared ourselves to leave for an overnight sail to Bimini. I wish we could stay in the islands longer, but we’ve made a slip reservation at a marina back in St. Petersburg that begins on the 1st of May, and Brian is itching to get there on time. As we came on deck to ready the cockpit, we found a bag of food. Our Fleming neighbor had already left, and we believe they found some more goodies they thought we’d appreciate – which we absolutely did! It wasn’t until later in the afternoon when we left, to time our arrival to Bimini right. There’s a strong current that runs through the channel of Bimini, and the marina’s want you to wait for slack tide before you attempt to pull in to your slip. Our bodies were so use to having a few days of AC that sailing out in to practically tangible humidity was making us feel sick. The skies were gray and dreary, with low hanging fog. Depending on how the weather turned out, we were either going to continue straight on through the night to Bimini or anchor on the west side of Nassau. Despite the depressing skies, the weather was nice, and we had great wind for continuous sailing, so we chose to sail through the night. As we reached the North West Channel, just southwest of Chub Cay of the Berry Islands, you could see large sparkling lights in the distance that belonged to the Royal Caribbean cruise ships waiting to be used again. I was on shift as we passed Mackie Shoal in the middle of the night, and there was a boat anchored there that was coming up strangely on the radar. I steered us around it, but it was at such an eery time of night. Everything was calm and quiet. We made a few overnight friends via the VHF and kept tabs on each other throughout the night. That’s one thing I love about sailing, the community and sense of not being alone.
April 22nd, 2021 – – – ARRIVAL TO BIMINI
As the sun began to rise this morning, we could see Bimini on the horizon. We were also picking up the transmission from Consort, hailing the marinas of Bimini. Brian and I were both so excited we were in the same place as them again. We arrived to Bimini much earlier than we wanted. The winds were strong overnight, and our boat truly is fast. We bounced around aimlessly, wasting time before entering the channel. Even still, the current was ripping! We hailed Browns Marina, and they said the current was still strong and to hail again in an hour. We went up and down the fairway in front of all the marina’s, people were putting out fenders as I assume they thought we didn’t know what we were doing. We couldn’t help but laugh. Finally, after what felt like just forever of waiting, we had a “good enough” slack to enter our slip, luckily with the help of dock hands and boat neighbors. We met our friends from Consort at a bar on the west side, and Kim and John were there too, then had dinner at Bimini Big Game. We made new friends that night as well, and spent hours together.
3,482 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED
April 23rd – 26th, 2021 – – – BIMINI IS A BLUR
All of our time spent here in Bimini has been a blur. I’m not sure if it’s because of how much I drank, or if it’s because my brain is trying to forget my experiences here. With complete openness and honesty, Bimini Island was my least favorite island I had visited in the Bahamas. It felt different than the other neighboring inhabited islands. Something here felt off. The people I met living here seemed unhappy, and most certainly seemed less than impressed with any visitor. Stores were riddled with cockroaches, trash lined the streets, music blared at an actual ear-piercing level after dark, we met an aggressive man on several occasions asking to give him money. The only truly nice woman we ran in to was the woman who owned the liquor store. Nothing but a smile on her face, and she gave us a bottle of Coca-Cola and as long as paid her back the next day. I know Bimini has had its hardships these past few years with devastating hurricanes, a headline murder case, and now covid – all of which has interrupted their main method of income. Perhaps this is why I found it to be no where near the level of paradise I’ve heard it described elsewhere in books and travel guides. Given our out of place feeling as well as this being our last Bahamian island we’d visit before heading back to Florida, we spent the time drinking nostalgically, if that’s even possible. There was also a front coming through – go figure – so taking our little dinghy out for dive missions was too risky being Bimini is completely exposed to deep waters.
April 27th, 2021 – – – SO LONG, BIMINI
We got the boat and ourselves ready to leave the Bahamas all together, checking out ourselves and the boat in immigration. On the way walking back to our boat, we passed a grocery store. We gathered last minute fresh foods to have on our crossing, but the credit card machine was being finicky. We passed by a food truck that took a card and we got some things to go. Brian ordered two meals for himself and said to me “I haven’t eaten all day, it’s 3pm, I’m a hungry man!” To this, the women in the truck said so bubbly yet sternly “I understand!”, it was so funny. We passed another grocery store on the way back to our boat. This one had at least 50 dead cockroaches lining the front of the door, which should have been our red flag. Brian bought a few things and we headed back to our boat. While he was inside, I overheard the two women that worked there arguing about how the new kid left the roaches there after cleaning out the storage shed. One woman was cursing like an old-timey sailor, “THIS IS BAD FOR FUCKING BUSINESS!” Back on the boat, we scarfed down our food truck meals, which were delicious. Later that night, we met up with Consort, and Leann and Troy for drinks at Sherry’s. We drank way more than we had wanted, but everyone kept buying rounds. The music eventually became so loud we had to leave; I don’t think I’m capable in understanding how anyone can physically handle the sound decibels of their music. That night, while we were on the boat, tired and officially ready to leave the country, we made PB&J Sandwiches with what we bought at the grocery store. Everything seemed to have a strange, sweet chemical smell to it. And then we bit in to the sandwich. RAID! It tasted like Raid and we both immediately spit it out and threw out everything we bought. So long, Bimini.
April 28th, 2021 – – – THE ROAD TO HOME
We left Bimini as early as we could this morning. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait until slack tide exactly. We had an incoming current in the channel, but where we were positioned in the marina it was perfect for pushing us out of our slip. As we reached the ocean the waves were big and rolly. We weren’t able to sail across the gulf stream like we would have hoped, but by the time we arrived to Miami we turned south and had the perfect wind angle for a beam reach. We realized on our crossing that we forgot to hand the marina our immigration cards. We gave them a call before they closed, and thankfully they said it wasn’t a major issue – apparently the marinas collect them, but officials rarely come to take them back to Nassau. We made a bail-out spot near Miami in case the weather was not in our favor, and we were happy to find that it was the best weather we could hope for, and we continued on. The VHF weather station was giving us news of gale force winds near Key West, but we were sailing fast and calculated we should miss the weather by the time we reach the Marathon Bridge if we keep this speed. The sailing weather continued to be beautiful, and we were able to sail the entire way south. The skies were a dusty, pastel pink and white. We saw hardly anyone on the water the entire day. It felt complete to see city lights from my own country, I found myself realizing I missed its familiar comfort more than I thought. We continued to sail in to the night, and I was first on watch.
April 29th, 2021 – – – MARATHON BRIDGE IN DARKNESS
Early this morning, near 5am, Brian woke me up. I can’t remember if it was a vibe I was receiving, or if he was talking out loud. Whichever it was, I was up, and I could see why he was concerned. The high winds that we knew was coming was beginning creeping up on us. Waves were becoming choppy. We were reefed and hauling. The bridge was just before us, it was pitch dark, Navionics said there was no height board and that you needed to eye the water height on the fender boards on either side of the bridge entrance. I grabbed the binoculars and peered through, luckily to find a brand new, well lit height board. The water was just low enough for us to pass. We creeped through, in the dark, under the bridge, and it was a creepy feeling – Brian was very anxious of the situation. We continued on sailing the entire day with a strong downwind sail. The waves were large and rolly, but thankfully it was following seas, and in my opinion made the experience very enjoyable. It always feels strange, but exhilarating, to have been sailing on a boat for over 24 hours. You really feel… in it. We had one instance with a shrimp boat. Since they’re commercial, and have the right of way, we really should cater to them. Again, our differences in how we would handle certain situations emerged. I, being more cautious, would have favored to keep our distance, and steer our boat to pass their stern once they crossed our path. Brian handled it very differently. Nothing good ever comes from me opposing his decisions out loud, and knowing that I was going to hate what he was about to do, I threw the blanket over my head as to not watch or blurt out what I think he should do instead. The rest of the day was gorgeous. You get use to the constant moving, and we ate better today.
April 30th, 2021 – – – ST. PETERSBURG, HOME ONCE AGAIN
The evening sail was fast, but uneventful. I love watching the cities lights to the west throughout the night – sparkling little stars keeping me company. The morning, however, was eventful. I had hardly slept, since I did two shifts to Brian’s one. When my second shift was over in the morning, I STILL didn’t get any sleep because Brian insisted on calling every person he possibly could to get land life rolling. While still on the water, hours away from arriving to the Tampa Bay, he was planning the day – he even made an appointment at a car dealership! We arrived to St. Petersburg, Florida and were happily in to our slip by noon. As we were backing down the fairway to the marina, we passed a catamaran with a young man outside. We both looked at each other, each with puzzled looks. I told Brian, “That guy looks so familiar, like the one I met at Pier 7 Marina.” Just then the man says, “Were you at Pier 7?!”, to which I happily and extatically replied yes! Such a funny encounter, small world indeed. We pulled in to our slip and were met by our neighbor, and David (who works at the marina), both of whom helped us with lines. We weren’t even tied in properly before Brian remarked that we were going to look for a car to buy. And just like that, we were off car shopping. It was an overwhelming day for me. I was exhausted, still newly dealing with the fact that we were no longer going to be full-time sailing, and now we were on a hunt for a car (with no jobs!). We did not find one today, but the search was to continue. After a full day of seeing automobile after automobile, we came back to the marina and sat on the dock, enjoying our new home for a while.
3,847 NAUTICAL MILES SAILED