We left Florida at 5am in easy winds and made our way across the Gulf-stream. It was a fairly easy passage all the way to Bimini. Approaching the Bahamas was pretty amazing as the water went from 4000 feet to 40 feet in less than a mile. In almost an instant we could see the bottom and the water was an amazing shade of teal. This quickly became unsettling as the depth dropped further and obstructions on the bottom became visible. While it was still 30 feet deep, this didn’t bring any confidence since in Boston the only way you ever see the bottom is if you are sitting on it, and even then, maybe not. We navigated around some shoals and as the sun set we entered the Great Bahama Bank. This bank is particularly interesting as it ranges in depth from 0 to 30 feet. Lucky us, no moon and slight cloud cover, we kept going in the dark and it was pitch black. The Banks end for us in this strange V that drops off into the “Tongue of the Ocean” from 15 feet to 4000 feet in about a quarter of a mile. The morning after that was an easy short sail to Chub Cay, we dropped the hook in crystal clear water and I made my way to Customs, pretty exhausted.

At the fuel dock, they wanted us to bring our boat in and charge us $100.00, I protested and the guy said he would wave it if we just bought some fuel… at $6/gallon. Customs was easy, and took place out at the airport. When I returned the guy said not to worry about the fuel as he was having a terrible day. One of his filters clogged and he dumped at least two gallons of diesel into the harbor, diminimus release I guess. I bought him an ice cold Coke and we left. We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to anchor and ended up in a marina. The anchorages were either too shallow to get into or had really poor holding. The next morning we went out to an anchorage and everything seemed good. But then late in the evening, Slick only had about 6 inches under her at low tide, this made me nervous. We have dubbed this the “Seven and a Half Foot Challenge” (see the video). After the tide started rising, swell picked up with occasional 5 foot rollers and consistent 3 footers hitting us broadside. I didn’t sleep well and this was really a low point of the trip for me. It was pretty awful and I realized I have had very little fun on the trip. The fun/pain ratio is very low compared to every other form of travel I have ever taken. The next morning was more of the same and the same the next night. I think I must sound funny, I am sitting on my boat in the Bahamas complaining that it sucks. Well, if we break Slick bad enough, the trip is over. We spent the afternoon crossing out sections of the cruise guide where we can’t go due to depth. The Bahamas are no place for Slick. The swell changed directions and went from rolling to hobby-horsing. This could cause the keel to impact the bottom hard, so we came back into the marina. Things got better though, so we are back to good spirits.

In the meantime, once anchored we sneaked ashore and stole showers and internet from a failed resort and tried spear fishing. The snorkeling was great with such clear water, but no quarry to be hunted. The only thing was a huge stingray, but it was so beautiful flying about the rock wall and sand flats that I couldn’t bring myself to kill it. It was pretty skittish too, so I doubt I could have gotten close enough anyway. We also took a skiff tour out to another cay and it looked like a barren desert. There was a place where the conch fisherman dump the shells and there were thousands of old queen conch shells. It is amazing that there are still conch out there. There is also plastic and trash strewn about. Between the reappropriating of land for failing resorts and general litter, the environment here seems to be in a sad state.

As far as breakages, things have been ok. The only thing to go was the inverter when Nathan finally shave his mop off. I took it apart and there is a few fuses in parallel that are soldered in. I guess that saved a nickel a unit but causes us some headache. Now we have to find them and until then the rice cooker is secured, and the 90 watt clippers are no longer to be used with the inverter. Nate’s hair got finished with scissors, see the picture as I cant describe it. Any bad luck we have no we just blame on the Chick-Charnies, mythical little beasts that bring mischief when not sleeping in pine trees. Nate and I want to hunt them since we are both ace snipe hunters. This may horrify the locals.

Tomorrow at 0-dark-30 we are leaving for Nassau to spend Christmas and head to the Exumas, where there should be good anchorages. Also, we seem to have traded silver-hairs for the very-privileged on vacation.