We did it! We have officially arrived in the Bahamas! Wow, we are a happy, exhilarated, and exhausted crew of three. It has been quite the week getting ready for our crossing but we are thrilled to be in Bimini and staring at the bluest water we have ever seen.
But let’s back up a tad.
We left West Palm Beach, and Sensai, last Friday. We loved Fort Worth and how accessible it was for getting groceries and boat supplies. Fort Worth is also where Ted and Evelyn on Sensai were anchored, waiting for their weather window on Saturday to cross to the Bahamas. They had decided to leave the US from Forth Worth and go to West End, Grand Bahama. The crew of Wild Horses, however, still had plans to cross using the southern route to the Bahamas, from Miami to Bimini, Bahamas. Since we still needed to go another 70 or so nautical miles south to get to Miami, we wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the same weather window as Sensai but we did see another window opening up later that same week.
And on we went! This last part of the ICW in Florida is all about bridges and lots of boat traffic. Mike was stellar at the helm though and I held my own with setting up our timing for the bridges, which was no small task. In just a few days we went through 21 bridges, all timed openings. This involved a lot of precision to get right…well, okay…I am lying a bit. We actually lucked in by getting behind a gigantic motor yacht that the bridges seemed to stay open for. We just rode his coat tails all the way through several bridges, with no waiting or rushing to time the bridges. Hmmm, maybe it is all about who you know 😉.
While Sensai was successfully crossing over to the Bahamas on New Years Eve, we were in Fort Lauderdale. Holy Todelo! What a madhouse! After our very cold Christmas, 34 degree heat decided to settle itself firmly in southern Florida and everyone was taking advantage. Holidays + heat = General Craziness! The beaches were packed. The bars and restaurants were packed. The streets were packed. And the evening festivities did not disappoint. From the boat, we had a 360 degree view of fireworks. It was incredible! We celebrated the New Years with just our small crew, some take out and an awesome Georgia vs. Ohio college football playoff game that actually ended exactly as the clock struck midnight. Wild game, amazing night!
New Years Day we were on the move again but this time it was outside the ICW. We left Port Everglades and the ICW and headed out into the ocean and down to Miami. After navigating the inlet into Miami (past cruise ships and other big boats) we found our way into the anchorage at Marine Stadium. For us, this was a “get ready” anchorage. We knew we wanted to cross over to the Bahamas on Thursday and we had a long list of “must dos” including topping off our diesel and water tanks, getting Ocean certified by a US veterinarian (required by Bahamas customs) and buying our last bit of provisioning done. We got a rental car and set off into the city of Miami to get it all done.
By Wednesday, all our “get ready” items were done and it was time to move to our staging anchorage. No Name Harbor is in Key Biscayne and immediately beside the Stiltsville channel. This is the channel that would take us out into the Straits of Florida and across the Gulf Stream to Bimini, Bahamas. With all of our work done, we decided to go to shore and treat ourselves to some beers and Ceviche at the local restaurant. Delicious!
Thursday morning we woke at 0400 and got the boat ready for departure (after coffees of course – we aren’t animals!). The anchor was weighed at 0515 and we made our way out the channel and into the ocean in the darkness but under a clear sky and bright (almost full) moon. Once the sun was up, we started to relax and found the trip very easy. The sea state was a gentle 1 to 2 feet with about 7 seconds in between waves, making the boat rock gently instead of pounding. This was the first time in our sailing lives that we were truly in the ocean, with no land in sight. It was beautiful and serene, with just a bunch of flying fish to entertain us.
By 1115 in the morning we could see Bimini start to pop up from the horizon. As we got closer, we were treated to the vibrant blues of the Bahamian water and an easy entrance into Bimini. It had been a glorious 8 hour journey. We made our way to Bimini Blue Water Marina and hoisted our quarantine flag. This yellow flag is required until we are all checked in with Customs and Immigration. Mike, being the captain, was the only one allowed off the boat to do the check in process but the staff at the marina made it a super easy process. By 1415, we were all checked in and walking through Alice Town.
Like I said, we are in awe. Bimini has been incredible and we will stay here for a few days to rest and wait for good weather to go further east in the Bahamas. Truly, there is no where that we would rather be right now. We are one happy crew, excited about all of our adventures on the horizon!
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.