I have managed to make it only as far as Bimini. I have decided that the weather in the Bahamas really has an issue with Slick and I. I am not sure why, but I think it has something to do with Slick’s 7.5 foot draft. Anyway, I will catch up to date and hopefully the next blog post will be from the east coast. Oh, and there will be a new feature at the end of the blog.

It was easy to hang around Staniel Cay and hard to find reasons to actually leave. The place is quite a special one and one evening the owner and I got into a discussion. Basically I told him the was the second best cruising bar in the world. He asked me where is the first. Obviously I was just joking with him, but this got me thinking. Its hard to find a place like that, the view, the history, the friendly locals and the steady stream of visitors so you always meet someone interesting. Combine that with a great anchorage and beautiful water and you have something. So I guess it would be a toss up for me, Kramer’s in Palau, the Mai Kai Yacht Club in Bora Bora and Staniel Cay. I am not really sure which order I would put them in or which one I would go back to first.

Anyway, enough of my top three. The time there passed meeting fun people and hanging out with a few crews from mega-yachts and even getting to know some of the locals. I made a friend, Martin, who was also single handing. He came over from Florida in a thirty foot boat. One morning he woke me up a bit frantic. A passing catamaran caught his anchor line and drug him up into the shallows and he was hard aground. Try as we could, Mutley and I could not free him. So, he had to wait until high tide, which was going to be awhile as the tide was on its way out. Eventually when the spring tide came back in we pulled him off and into deeper water.

It was really relaxing there. I could forever hang out in a rocking chair on the porch and watch the sun go down meeting whatever traveler or local happened to walk by. I felt really at home there. One night we had a bonfire on the beach, we used pallets as wood. I used to do this a lot when I was younger, so it seemed only natural.

On one of the many lazy days my phone broke. This is a shame really. My friend sent the phone to me and it is my source for weather and contacts and everything else that people need smart phones for. It turns out though that there is a known problem with the microUSB slot in them and they break often. So now I can’t charge the phone in the normal way. Well what’s an enginerd to do? At first I tried to solder one from an old phone in, but I don’t have quite the right stuff here, so I hacked up the old phone and made a charger out of it. So this is how I must charge my phone, good thing I have two batteries I guess.

I kept finding reasons to hang around and not leave. It wasn’t all fun reasons though. One day, I was going to leave and a massive thunderstorm rolled in right as I wanted to go. The storm probably lasted an hour and there was maybe 30 knots of wind coming from the west where there is no protection. There was ground striking lighting all around and driving rain that made it so you couldn’t even see 100 feet. I thought I had better stay and go the next day.

Unfortunately that night was a tragedy. We had a very good time in the bar and even though there were not many of us it was a great little party. As the bar closed we all said our good byes and I was chatting with some people out front. Then the radio from the bar lit up loudly that a tender had gone onto the rocks and many people were hurt and the tender partially deflated. The tender managed to get to the bar and the staff of the club woke up the nurse and everyone was taken to the clinic. One guy was ejected from the dinghy and he had massive scalp wounds and punctured an artery as well as his sinuses. I am not sure how he didn’t break his neck too but he certainly had a concussion and his back was cut quite bad on the rocks. Another guy had a medium head wound and a few others had some smaller stuff, bruised rib or so. But they were all in shock.

The medical facilities there are quite dismal as the clinic is just the front of the nurse’s house and there is a very limited supply of medical equipment and certainly a lack of medical personal. Since I had training from the military and prior to this trip I stuck around to help. The primary goal was to stop the bleeding of the most injured person and the nurse and a local EMT took care of that. They were aided by another guy that was at the bar. I washed out the head wound of the second guy and took to helping with the first. The night turned into a long one and several liters of IV fluid later, bandages and pressure and a lot of moral boosting talk, the two most injured guys were stabilized. I left at 6 am pretty tired and I guess they were airlifted shortly after that. It was amazing though how difficult it was to coordinate the air service. I guess it would be one thing in a far off Pacific island, but the Coasties are only in Florida, an hour helicopter ride away. I guess though it was hard to get the Bahamians and the American Air Crews to communicate. Never the less, the last I heard is that both guys are OK even though the worse of the two needed some surgery. I think too that, given the popularity of Staniel Cay, the government really needs to build a better, proper clinic there.

So I still didn’t leave the next day, but slept. And I stayed just a little longer in one of my favorite places. Finally it looked like if I didn’t leave I would never leave and so the weather, my only real boss, forced me to go. I gave the bar a parting gift, a mask I traded for in the South Pacific, they hung it up. After a few too many more last nights I finally left.

I stayed the night off Shroud Cay and then the next day into Nassau. I only went into Nassau for one reason and that was to eat a delicious cheese burger at the Green Parrot. They have one of the best cheese burgers in the entire sailing world, perhaps even the best. Certainly the best in the Caribbean. I had been looking forward to it for three years and it did not disappoint me. It was every bit as good as I remember. That evening I picked up some groceries at the supermarket. Turns out the supermarket is a foreign version of Whole Foods and was the most expensive place in the entire Bahamas. Ouch, 9 bucks for regular bacon and 6 for peanuts that are not even that good.

Anyway, the next morning I departed for Chub Cay but when the weather looked like it would take a nasty turn I decided to go through the night. As I was coming up to the top of the Tongue of the Ocean I spotted some pilot whales playing nearby. Then Jim Gentry went off and on the end was a dancing dorado. I put the boat in forward idle (yes it was a motor) and reeled the little lady in. I was solo so landing her was a bit harder than usual and I couldn’t find the mahi-mahi-masher so I just put alcohol in her gills. Anyway, nice fresh sushi and filets the next night and fishwiches later.

The motor across the banks was easy at first but around midnight the wind picked up on the cheek from the south and the waves built quickly in the shallow water. It became a pound just tight enough I couldn’t sail. The banks are shallow and you don’t want to get off the designated path. Slick hammered her way to the lee of Bimini and we anchored about 4 am.

The next morning I awoke. I bathed in the clear blue water, and rinsed off with some fresh and though to myself, that is probably the last time I will bath in the ocean as where I go next the water is not so clean. Then I realized that this trip really is over. It was such a weird feeling, a sad feeling. As eager as I am to move on, it’s just hard to grasp the idea that this is over. People keep asking me how I feel having sailed around the world. I guess it’s sort of like when I finished the Ph.D. The feeling is confusing and disorienting, having reached a major life goal.

Anyway, those thoughts were all bashed out of my brain as I headed to the inside anchorage of North Bimini. It was a solid bash into 20 knots and exposed ocean swell running against current. The waves were steep and nasty. I made it to the entrance of a channel I was told had plenty of water and the charts showed 12 feet. Luckily, we came in at high tide and there was only about a foot of water below Slick’s keel. With the running waves it could have been pretty nasty had I tried at any other time, the grounding would have been real bad. To be fair, I didn’t know it was high tide, I just got lucky. Once inside it was impossible to find a place deep enough to anchor. So I ended up far from anything but Resort World. Slick and I are anchored in the turning basin for sea planes.

Bimini kind of sucks. I can only leave at high tide. They didn’t have any diesel and I had to take Mutley the Super Dinghy over to the next island. I handcuffed myself by even coming in here as now I need the weather and tides to line up. Something they don’t seem to do. The next hop is crossing the Gulf Stream so I want some fair weather for it. Right now we are riding out a double passing front and its pretty miserable. I actually set a second anchor because the wind is trying to blow me into a barge.

The place isn’t all bad though. I have met some cool people and the locals are really friendly. A small bird landed on Slick yesterday at the outset of the storm. It could barely fly and when I came out to look at it fell into the oil-sheening water. I scooped him out and gave him a soapy bath and let him get warm in an old rag. He then was totally confused flying around the inside of Slick. I caught him and put him outside and he flew off. He didn’t quite make it to shore though so I went and rescued him in the dinghy. By this time the oil was gone so I took him to shore and put him in a pile of logs. I assume he is fine.

So that’s it. Maybe I will leave Saturday for Florida. I don’t know. Then on to the next thing, up the coast and keep moving the ball down the field on starting my own company Oh one last thing. I decided to monetize the website. I am trying to do this in the least annoying and intrusive way possible. So I will start to write short reviews and links to products I used or books that helped me or whatever. Follow the links and spend some money and Slick and I get a little percentage. The amount we get is based on what you buy after following the link, not actually the item itself. So go buy a TV or something!

The first one of these I will put in will be about the author Alan Watts. I bring this up because of a comment on one of my videos about a joke I repeat all the time. Anyway, there are two books I found especially helpful, Instant Wind Forecasting and Instant Weather Forecasting. In these two books Alan Watts teaches you to read the clouds to understand what sort of weather is coming and where the wind is. They are most helpful, especially out in the open ocean as the weather forecasts are typically pretty broad. They cover at the smallest maybe 30 miles or so. By learning to read the clouds you can predict your own local weather, or at least know what is happening. Both of these books are full of pictures and charts. I found them to be generally very accurate too even though they mostly focus on coastal based stuff. You have to be a little patient with them though, it isn’t like they are something you just sit down and read. Oh, and the joke is that nearly every cloud you see indicates “deteriorating conditions.”