Sunday, December 8, 2013

Rapid Transit

It took awhile for the planets to line up, but what a fantastic trip across the Gulf Stream we had on beautiful Ganesha! It truly was worth the wait for this exciting experience with our gracious hosts Heinz and Jacqueline!

We had to wait an extra day for the winds to calm down and that meant we could shop a bit more and fill up every nook and cranny on the boat, including the end of our bunks.

Dave helped Jacqueline tape up the bimini struts so they wouldn't vibrate while Heinz taped up the windows so that water couldn't come inside if the seas were rough (we think that's the reason why we had such a smooth crossing...if you prepare you probably won't need it!).

Heading out towards St. Lucie Inlet and the tide was extra high because of the new moon. 

Captain Heinz had to go cautiously because of the dredging operation.

Out the inlet and it's time to get up on a plane with the twin Caterpiller 732 cubic inch 660 h.p. each engines!
 This took a bit more power because of the extra weight of us and all our stuff (including 6 batteries for New Horizon, carefully secured in the engine room), plus the full tanks of fuel and water. You could feel the boat get lighter as the fuel level went down, which was rather quickly going between 25-28 m.p.h.! We did have to alter course once when a tanker crossed our course.

For a time the seas were between 2-5 feet in the Gulf Stream and occasionally we would hit a wave that slightly slowed the boat down and sent up a huge spume of water and spray.

As we got closer to the edge of the Bahamas Banks the seas became calmer and calmer. Eventually we lost the horizon as the ocean and sky became one.

We easily found Memory Rock, literally out in the middle of nowhere, which marked the beginning of the shallow banks and eventually the Sea of Abaco. It only took 3 hours to cover the distance from Stuart to this point! What a concept!

Dave stands watch at the helm for a little while.

We passed this large yacht towing a skiff on a very long towline. 

The trusty captain and crew...

We were treated like royalty and the food coming out of Jacqueline's galley was amazing. It was so calm that during the afternoon coffee and chocolate break, the cups didn't vibrate on the dashboard, even going that fast.
 If you don't believe me, check out the GPS plotter...

Mangrove Cay and Great Sale Cay are two islands that sailboats and slower moving trawlers stop at for the night after their crossing, but no need for us to stop at 1:30 PM , so we quickly passed them by and arrived at Green Turtle Cay at about 3:30 P.M. Jacqueline let down the anchor off New Plymouth. The yellow quarantine flag was put up until we were cleared in with Customs (it was replaced with the Bahamas courtesy flag afterwards).

There was a bit of a problem launching the dinghy so Beach Cruiser Barry, who happened to be there extending his cruising permit, came to the rescue and the check in with Customs and Immigration went smoothly.We 'done reach' and Dave couldn't resist a nighttime swim in the clear warm water. Of course I stood by and kept watch for sharks.

As we all headed to bed early, we just kept saying "We're here, we're here!"

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