Well FINALLY we are in the Bahamas. Whew We left Titusville Sunday morning and headed down the ICW anchoring off Malabar or 6 nm south of the Melbourne Bridge. Calm and pleasant night and we were off the next morning about 8:30 headed toward Fort Pierce. Received an encouraging note from our friend, Brad who has a house on Eleuthera, saying that no matter how tough it is in the Stream just remember that, “It’s better in the Bahamas”. We went into the Ft Pierce Municipal Marina for diesel and then set off out the Fort Pierce Inlet which we timed for slack tide to be in calmer waters. We were out in the Florida Straight by 4pm and headed SE to get some southing before heading east. Once in the Gulf Stream it can carry the boat 2 to 3+ knots north. We also had 3-to-4-foot seas almost on our nose so our progress was slowed. If we had had winds to sail with and seas not working against us, we would’ve headed further south but, given our distance, we wanted to be at Great Sale Cay by mid to late afternoon the next day. From 20:00 Monday to 08:00 Tuesday Peter and I did 2-hour watches.
By 17:30 we were beginning to feel the Stream’s lumpishness which causing much lurching to get around the boat – many new bruises were gained. This lasted for 4-to-5 hours and the remainder went not too bad. After making us diner in the early evening as the crossing began, Wilma lay quietly on one of the salon benches with ear plugs in to cut down on all the rattling pots, etc. When I asked her the next morning how it was, she said it was awful and she wasn’t impressed …. but happy to be in the Bahamas. I don’t think she’s mentally scarred. We crossed into the Bahamas 22 nm north of our target of Memory Rock, north of Mantanilla Shoal about 05:30. With the sun rising we were in calmer turquoise waters, and we felt pretty good although a little tired. We hoisted the yellow Q flag to show we had not yet cleared customs.
We arrived at the harbour on the west side of Great Sale Cay, a long and unhabituated island, about 13:00 and, despite this being a favourite stopping point for boats crossing into the Abacos we were the only boat there. It was a pleasant, calm afternoon and evening. After an early diner we all turned in and slept quite well.