January, 2007. Bahamas.
We were getting cabin fever waiting for weather in the Keys and left a day earlier than what we should have. We crossed the Gulf Stream in an East wind with 25 knots of wind and 8-10 foot waves. It took 23 hours to cross the Gulf Stream. When we were an hour away from land the wind died and the Gulf Stream was taking us to Virginia. We started the motor to take us the last five miles. Soon afterwards the motor overheated because a fan belt failed and the water pump stopped functioning. This was a particularly bad situation since we did not have a spare fan belt of the right size. Clark was luckily able to save the day by disabling the alternator and putting the old belt back on. It wasn’t completely trustworthy so I watched the belt to make sure it stayed on while Clark motored in to Gun Cay, Bahamas. Clark made a modification to the engine that allowed the spare fan belts to fit and fixed the problem once we were anchored. Gun Cay turned out to be a great little spot. Lots of conch, starfish and hermit crabs. I found 158 pet hermit crabs!! I made a home for them in a tupperware container. It was also a great spot to snorkel. I swam with my first nurse shark which was about 6 feet long! We saw Sting Rays, Barracudas, Tuna, Angel fish, Parrot fish, Trigger fish and many other species of colorful reef fish.
We sailed East to Morgans Bluff on Andros Island to check in to the Bahamas. Andros island being the largest in the Bahamas seems to have a lot of freshwater. The smaller islands don’t seem to have much since the ships line up to deliver the water to all the other islands. So we filled up on free water and did laundry. The fees to check in to the Bahamas are now $300 for boats over 35 feet. We met up with some friends and did some provisioning. However, at $8 for a gallon of milk and $55 for a case of Budweiser we ended up only getting some pasta and chicken. The grocery store was about 2-3 miles away but the people are friendly enough to offer you a ride.
We stayed in Andros for three days then headed to Nassau for some protection from a front that was on its way. We were able to anchor in Nassau between the cruise ships and the Atlantis resort. We went over to Paradise Island to check out the Atlantis Aquarium which is definately worth a visit. We went in the evening around 6pm which I believe is free admission at that time. We were able to find a larger grocery store and did a bit more grocery shopping. We also found an internet cafe along the way. We waited for another front to pass then headed to the Exumas. Our first stop was Shroud Cay where we anchored in for the night then headed to Big Major Spot the next day. We were coming into the anchorage when our motor failed again! This time the transmission disassembled itself and started grinding away into pieces. Not good.