2006 / 2007 Cruising log
Dry Tortugas to Nassau
We finally left the Dry Tortugas. It's not a bad place to be stuck but seven days was more than enough. We had a rough motorsail to the Marquesas Keys then stopped for the night. Due to the wind direction there was only one protected anchorage. It was labeled on the chart as a Navy Bombing and strafing practice area. Several local fishing boats were anchored there so we decided they must know something we don't and anchored anyway. We made damn sure our anchor light was nice and bright. This was a beautiful spot. Clear water, sugar sand beaches, and no people. It was tempting to forget the Bahamas and stay here. Oh yeah, the bombing and strafing! We moved on to Key West the next morning.
Key West is an experience in itself. I don't think there is anywhere else in the country like it. It's really a pretty town and you can walk everywhere. Perfect for cruisers. There must be an overabundance of men and not enough women. The men make up for it by being very affectionate with each other. Watch your back guys!
We had a few more days of motoring dead into the wind up the Hawk channel. We did short hops of 20 miles a day or less so it was bearable.
1/18/2007 - 1/21/2007
We spent a couple of nights at Bahia Honda State Park and then a couple of days at Boot Key Harbor in Marathon. Boot Key was a disappointment. It was extremely crowded and we really needed a car if we were going to do any shopping. I walked a mile and a half to get some groceries then had to walk back carrying them. Cruising is Great exercise. On the plus side we were able to take a real shower, for a price. And do laundry.
Out of nowhere a weather window to cross to the Bahamas appeared. Crossing the Gulf stream cannot be taken lightly. It's a short trip but any wind out of the North opposes the current and causes dangerous breaking seas. The wind had been out of the North for four weeks. Now we had two days of SSE wind forecast. We were going for it. We crossed from Marathon to Bimini which is a longer than average crossing so we had to do an overnight sail. We didn't know when the next weather window would open so it was worth it. The crossing was a bit rough till just before dawn when the wind died completely and we ended up motoring.
1/23/2007 - 1/28/2007
We are in the Bahamas! The water when we arrived in Bimini was an incredible blue that defies description. We practiced our visual navigation and came in the old natural cut through the reefs and sandbars. Then we discovered they had just dredged a 15 foot channel into the harbor with bouys. Oh well, it's good practice anyway.
Alice town, Bimini is a great place to clear in. We stayed at Weech's Marina for $0.70 per foot. It was a good thing it was cheap since the weather set in again and we ended up staying a week. We spent the days exploring the town and hanging out at the beach. I speared my first lobsters for dinner! They were delicious!
1/29/2007 - 1/30/2007
We sailed from Bimini to Chub Cay across the Great Bahama Banks which was interesting as it's over 100 miles and the water is less than 20 feet deep the whole way. It's like sailing in a giant swimming pool except for the need to watch for coral heads. We anchored for the night on the banks in 15 feet of water with no land in sight.
We had a great crossing from Chub Key to Nassau with the spinnaker up the whole way. Unless you're looking for casinos or luxury hotels (expensive) Nassau is a place to stock up on groceries and move on. Nassau is the only place in the Bahamas with crime problems so we stayed in a marina. This way we didn't have to worry about someone stealing our dingy.
Next stop, The Exumas.
Marquesas Bombing and straffing area.
Key West anchorage.
Key West neighborhood.
Bahia Honda State Park
The anchor chain in 15 ft of water at Chub Key.