At 3:30am the alarm went off. It was go time. Time to leave the United States of America. Over the past six months we’d developed a love-hate relationship with this country. We’d had some of the worst experiences of our lives. All of them caused by this wretched hard top. A non negotiable item in our refit. But all of that was now in the past. This vessel is now equipped with the most gorgeous hard top we could ever wish for. It is time to leave this nightmare behind.
Only a few hours earlier we had finished preparing the boat. Everything had been secured and put away. We knew the Gulf Stream crossing might be a bit bouncy. Forecast called for 15-20 knots of wind out of the southeast. 4 to 6 foot waves, also out of the southeast. Our destination? Southeast. Not ideal. We motored along Fort Lauderdale’s channels in complete darkness. Not another soul on the water. Past the constant buzz of unloading freighters. Past the coast guard station, a right turn and into the open ocean. Dodge an incoming freighter and we point our bow southeast.
The Gulf Stream didn’t disappoint. A miserable 20 – 25 knots on the nose with short steep swell. The waves come crashing over the bow and into the cockpit. The saloon door is open at one point and a big bucket of salt water gets dumped into our living room. Regardless of conditions, fishing lines go out at first light.
Half way across, we got our first strike. A small Dorado. These things are plentiful in tropical waters. And they’re ferocious feeders. I’m reeling this guy in and we notice his buddy hanging out right beside him. Literally ten feet from the boat. We quickly grab the other rod and drop the lure right beside him. I couldn’t believe it but buddy attempts to eat the other lure while his friend is already hooked. Luckily for him he gets spooked and takes off.
I was pretty pleased with myself with one in the bucket. He was skinny but enough for a couple of meals. Of course, it was the pink lure that produced once again. At the same time I’d been trolling the “mother in-law” lure. My mother in law had come for a visit end of last season and bought me this (pricey) lure. Never caught a thing on it. And frankly, I was convinced it was cursed. It had the “mother in-law” curse.
Then, just off the shores of Bimini, another strike. I could tell right away he was a big guy. Twenty minutes later and we have him at the boat. Ashley expertly gaffs him. We hoot and holler in celebration of this massive beast. I’m happy to report the curse has been lifted. The mother in-law lure has redeemed itself.
A quick traverse of the channel entrance complete with churning sand and breaking waves, we pull into the dock. Customs, immigration then a new cell phone chip. And just like that, I’m back online. Ready for the next day at work.
We’re on our way to the Exumas now. Taking advantage of some favourable winds and doing an overnight passage. Once there, we get to put our feet up for a bit and start to enjoy the fruits of our labour. Swims. Snorkling. Kiting. Cold beer.
They eat a lot of Conch salad around these parts of the world. Its a delicious salad with chopped raw conch, veggies and hot peppers.
That’s a pile of discarded conch behind those kids playing.
They even have Conch trees here. It’s truly amazing. Conch is what drives the Bahamian economy. It’s their bread and butter.
Sometimes it’s really hard to find new things to photograph while on the boat. I mean you have sunrises, sunsets, moonrises and water. It get’s a little old after a while. This hard top adds a whole new dimension.
Watching the moon rise while sailing at night. This life of ours is a rewarding one.