Crossing the Gulf Stream
Our crossing over to the Bahamas was a peaceful one. We waited for the right weather window and had calm water, light breezes and blue skies. We left at 2am from our anchorage in Biscayne Bay, FL and motored into the night. A few hours later we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise which lit our way onto the horizon ahead. Originally, we were planning on stopping at Bimini, only 50 nm away, however strong winds were forecasted in the near future and we thought it would be best to push farther ahead to another island that had better protection for us: Great Harbour Key.
We arrived at the Harbour around 11pm that evening and dropped our anchor. After going strong for 20 hours we slept well that night. Bright and early the next morning, we called Great Harbour Key Marina to assist us with customs. It was a quick and painless process: fill out some paper work, shell out some cash and get approved. No sweat. We decided to stay at the marina for several days to wait for calmer weather and get acclimated to this new country that neither of us had visited before.
Checking out the island
Dave and I made new friends at the docks and quickly settled in. We spent the days exploring Great Harbour Key by foot or bicycle (which were provided by the marina). It took us about four afternoons to make it to each corner of the island. A 15 minute walk took us past the ruins of an old resort (which belonged to the famous Rat Pack of the 1960s) to a serene beach that we had all to ourselves on most days. The sand was white and as fine as powdered sugar. The water, crystal clear and perfect for finding shells and sea life.
A 15 minute bike ride east took us to a shelling beach that was littered with conch and other marine life. Thirty minutes west by bike took us to the far end of the island where rugged bluffs and caves protruded from the surf and proved to be a great picnic spot. Five minutes south via golf cart/car took us into town where we had a beer at the local bar and stocked up on some booze for the boat.
The locals came around most days offering their hospitality services, aka food for sale. Lobster pizza, fish dinners and coconut bread were some of the goodies we delighted in. All were very different than what we had expected, but in a VERY GOOD way. The lobster pizza was made with a sweet, soft crust covered in a garlic cream sauce and topped with fresh caught lobster, mushrooms and sweet, caramelized, Bahamian onions. It literally melted in our mouths as we ate it and I think it’s safe to say it was THE BEST pizza we’ve ever eaten.
The fish dinners were not typical to what we’d get back home. Two small, whole fish (head, eyes and tail included) fried to a crispy brown and tossed in a creole seasoning served with yummy sides. We had to pick the fish off the bones to get every last morsel, but it was well worth the effort.
The coconut bread, which I thought would be the consistency of a zucchini or banana bread in the States (dense, very sweet), was light and fluffy with a subtle coconut flavor. It proved best to be eaten in the mornings along side our coffee and tea with soft butter and honey. Are you drooling yet?
After five days at Great Harbor Key, we decided to head south to Hoffman’s Cay, home to one of the world’s deepest blue holes. We found a protected anchorage right beside the island along with five other boats and explored the next day.
Originally, we had planned to go to Eleuthera so Dave could go surfing. He had been talking about this island for months and was so eager to make it, but the weather had other ideas in mind. The winds were forecasted to be blowing directly out of the north east (the direction we needed to be going). If we headed for Eleuthera in those conditions, it would not have been a pleasant trip for us. Beating into the wind is not fun. If we can avoid being uncomfortable we avoid it. SO, that being said, the most logical place for us to go next: the Exumas. 🙂
Now some more photos 🙂