We had a great time in the Bahamas. We'll truly miss much about the place, especially the crystal clear waters. But it's time to get back to the land of cheap beer and cheap fuel!
Green Turtle Cay is the last major outpost in the Abacos heading north. It takes us 3 days to go around the north end of the Abacos and across the Gulf Stream to Florida. First stop was Foxtown, a small village with decent protection from most winds. Of course, the winds blew from the worst direction possible, but it was mild and acceptable. The second day we had the choice of going NE or SE around Great Sale Cay. Going north was longer but meant we could sail longer, so that's what we did, saving our limited fuel for the long Gulf Stream crossing. 10 other boats chose the SE route and motored all the way into wind and seas and only beat us to Mangrove Cay by one hour.
Mangrove is about 50 miles from anything in the Abacos so we were well away from city lights. We had a beautiful calm night, perfect for watching a lightening show 150 miles away just on the horizon. When we looked up, we could easily see the Milky Way among the "billions and billions" of stars. Chris saw at least a half dozen very bright shooting stars.
In order to make Fort Pierce Florida before dark, we needed to leave Mangrove Cay at midnight. So a dozen boats all upped anchor and headed west. The first pack took a more northwesterly route, I chose a due west route so that when I reached the Gulf Stream I would run northwest in the north flowing stream instead of crossing directly west and perpendicular to the 3 knot current. Once we were in the stream our speed went from 6 knots to over 8 knots. More fuel saving, and we reached Fort Pierce about the same time as the first group.
We phoned in to US Customs and amazingly, our pre-registration before leaving actually paid off. No need to go see 'the man', they cleared in us over the phone. So we headed to a good anchorage, dropped the hook around 6PM and zonked out. The plan was to get going the next day but we layed around to recuperate from the long, tiring & tedious crossing day.
So we've had 2 good, uneventful, relatively painless crossings!! I hope there isn't some Karma that will balance us out by giving us the crossing from hell someday in the future! With all the access to internet & short wave radio, we can get pretty good weather reporting.
So we're back in the USA and headed north...