Goodbye Florida ~ Hello Bahamas

crossingSunrise on a crossing.

Wow! I can’t believe how quickly time has passed since we arrived in the Bahamas.  We had an amazing trip from Key Largo, FL to Cat Cay, Bahamas.  The weather could not have been better and the sea state was great.  We left at first light and arrived about eight hours later.

We anchored on the east side of Cat Cay and spent a day or two kiteboarding and playing in the magically blue water.  What a fun way to kick off 2017!

crossing-1Boosting above the beautiful water.

img_3608Frisbee with Cappy in the shallow areas.

After checking in at Bimini, we moved to the north side of Cat Cay so we would be in position to leave for the Northwest Cut.  At dawn on January 3rd, we lifted our anchor, raised our main,  pointed our bow toward the Cut then raised our pretty red spinnaker.  We hardly touched our lines for five fabulous hours and averaged more than 8 knots.

crossingFlat water and wind is a great combination!

We sailed all the way to Frazers Hog Cay, which is about 80 miles, before dropping anchor for the evening.

We were pushing forward quickly because we wanted to catch up with some of our Rally buddies who were heading to the Exumas.

Having visited Nassau on a previous trip, we chose to skip it and instead went to the east side of New Providence and a lovely marina called Palm Cay.  The marina staff, especially Brayden, were incredibly nice and helpful. They did everything they could to make sure our stay was excellent, and it was!

Again, we only stayed one night, then pushed on to Spirit Cay/Long Cay.  This is actually a private island, but we had seen a couple of boats in a small half circle bay and we thought it would be a well protected place to anchor.

long-cay-2Long Cay on a calm day.

Turns out the boats we saw belonged to the islands’ owner who was very welcoming. She was also a bit surprised that we had made it into the area with our sailboat! Apparently very few boats try to squeeze through the cut we took. (Surprise!)

img_3627Frank is standing on the ocean floor as he cleans the brown stain off of LIB 

The first full day we were in Long Cay, the extreme lunar tides allowed LIB’s mini-keels to rest on the sand and Frank hopped into the water to clean away the “ICW Smile” that had accumulated on the boat.

DCIM100GOPROLIB looks much prettier without a mustache! 

Serious winds were predicted for the next several days so we needed to move out of the shallow bay and anchor in a deeper spot to protect LIB’s underside.  We chose to attempt a Bahamian moor (two anchors set from the bow about 180 degrees from each other) to reduce our boat swing from the wind and the current.

While we did a good job of keeping the boat in safe territory, we looked a bit like the Keystone Cops trying to get LIB to settle in an area deep enough for her even at low tide. We were trying to settle in a small circular area with a diameter of about 25 feet.

After hours of trial and error, we gave up that spot and moved to a different area on Long Cay.  We managed to Bahamian moor and LIB settled nicely but we were less protected than we had hoped.  Still, we were confident our anchors were well set and the only issue was how uncomfortable we would be during the winds.

crossing-3Building winds created crashing waves across the rocks!

The wind began early in the morning and we saw some pretty high wind speeds.  Thankfully the boat motion wasn’t terrible, but the water was so rough that we only left the boat to take Captain to shore.

After four days of winds in the low 20 to high 30 knot range, we had a small break in the wind and decided to exit the narrow Long Cay inlet and find a more protected anchorage where we could get to land even with the high winds.

Using the VHF, we contacted a couple of Rally boats who were hiding out in a nearby anchorage. They were ready to stop paying marina fees and we all decided to sail to Warderick Wells, the Exumas Sea and Land Park’s main island.

The trip to Warderick was pretty brisk as we had squalls throughout the day which brought surges in the wind and waves.  As our Rally leader Wally would say, the sail was “rather sporty!”  But our reward was arriving at the amazing anchorage in Warderick Wells!

warderick-wells-3    A view of the anchorage at Warderick Wells.

It was super fun to get back together with friends from the 2016 Sail to the Sun Rally.  We spent several days together exploring the trails, hanging out on the beaches and snorkeling.

Warderick Wells-1.jpg Inside the bone structure of a huge whale!

crossing.jpgOur professional, personal hairstylist, Laurie, gave all the guys a trim!

crossing-2Hiking one of the trails on Warderick Wells.

The Park prohibits dogs from the trails so Captain was unable to walk with us. But she did play on the beaches with us and between frisbee and romping in the shallow water, we managed to tire her out.

crossing-1Cap dug down to the cool sand then settled in for a nap.

We had an excellent time drifting about with sailing vessels Valentine, Blue Lady and Mauna Kea, but after more than two weeks without restocking or restaurants, our provisions were beginning to run low.  Also, another cold front carrying strong winds was predicted, so we decided it was time to find a protected marina and a grocery store.

Frank and I wanted to head north to visit the islands around Eleuthera and our friends wanted to push further south.  So we waved goodbye to our Rally friends again and forged north alone.  But I am quite certain we will reconnect with these friends again very soon!


Posted on January 26, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Really enjoy your blog, thanks guys! Our Helia is currently under construction and will be completed in a couple of months. We will have it in part-time charter service in the VI’s for the next few years as we finish up work. I have a question – I was thinking of having both forepeak areas just for storage vs having one outfitted as a single berth, which I think is standard. Any recommendation on which configuration would be more practical? Thanks, Kevin and Lynn

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kevin and Lynn. Congratulations on your new Helia! So exciting!! We have both of our forepeaks as storage only and have set them up to store a lot of things. Since it is only the two of us, we didn’t want the forepeaks finished out. I think it depends on how many guests you want to have at one time and how much you need to store.
      If you look back through my blog I am pretty sure I posted pictures of what we have done to our forepeaks. They are well organized and hold everything from bumpers to fishing polls to kite gear and more.
      Let me know if you cannot find the pictures of our forepeaks and I will post some for you. A few other Helia friends have wanted pics so they could make similar changes to their forepeaks.
      Really big congratulations on your Helia!!!!!

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  2. Thanks guys, very helpful. That is what I was leaning to, but input from people living it is invaluable. Does this story sound familiar – dentist ready to retire soon (endo not ortho), two boys away at college, Helia to go to charter for a few years before we take over. That’s our story! When I happened across your blog, I went downstairs and told my wife, you’re not going to believe this…and told her your story! Such similar paths. We were at the Annapolis show and ran into a very nice couple at the Ella Vickers booth where my wife was buying a bag. Got to talking, and it turned out they were friends of yours, and had their boat at a marina they really liked in Puerto Rico. Small world sometimes, even when sailing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, it was Dave and Renee, such great and enthusiastic people! Our plan is to have our boat based out of the new marina at Compass Point, St. Thomas by December. We will sail/charter it out of Annapolis this summer, then move it down. Would love to meet up with you guys sometime, hopefully our paths will cross!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like a great plan. I know how excited we were about transitioning to life aboard and I’m guessing you are also excited to move foreword. Do you follow our Let It Be Facebook page? I was hoping I could find you there and message you….

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  4. I just follow the blog as I do not have a facebook page, however my wife does (of course!).
    I will have her contact you guys through her facebook page to establish that link, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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