Monday, May 4, 2015

April 4-25, 2015 Bahamas Bound!

Plans were underway for a Bahamas cruise with friends, Vicki and Peter Hall on Hallabaloo and Deb and Paul Maloney on Bleu Belle. Being the "newbies" on this cruise, we were glad to join these fellow cruisers for the 2015 trip. 

We left our slip in Delray Beach, FL on Friday, April 4, 2015, and headed south on the ICW to Lighthouse Point Marina to take on fuel. Then south to Maloney's' home up a canal in Lighthouse Point for the night. The next morning at 0630 we quietly motored out to the ICW where we met up with Hallabaloo at the Hillsboro Inlet. It was a crystal clear morning with the full moon lighting our way as we transited the Hillsboro Inlet bridge and headed out into the Wild Blue Yonder. Around 0650, the total lunar eclipse began slowly to creep across the moon. From our location it was an annular eclipse, not a total, which looked like a big bite taken out of the moon. As the moon set in the west, the sun rose in the east. It was a magnificent way to begin this cruise! 

In the Abacos we visited West End on Grand Bahama Island, Grand Cay, Double Breasted Cay, Great Sale Cay, Alans-Pensacola Cay, Spanish Cay, Powell Cay, Manjack Cay and Green Turtle Cay before heading back to Delray Beach, FL. 

At most of these cays, Peter led the way into the ocean in our dinghies out to the reefs a mile or two offshore. There we snorkeled in 15-20 feet of crystal clear water where we saw lots of beautiful coral and multi-colored fish, a turtle, a stingray and even a shark! You should have seen Neala swim to the boat when she saw the shark - she could have qualified for the Olympics! Deb, on Bleu Belle, took all of the snorkel trip pics, so we will post those soon.

On our way back, we stopped for 3 days at Crab Cay to wait out the weather. We returned to Great Sale again for the night before a 0330 departure to Memory Rock and across the Stream to Lake Worth Inlet. We had a good crossing with a few light showers, but calm conditions prevailed and we arrived in Lake Worth tired but in good spirits. It was such a great time!

Bleu Belle in the Moonbeam

 Sunrising in the east

 Blue water of the Gulf Stream - we had an excellent crossing - sun and smooth seas, but no wind so we motored

 Arriving at West End into Old Bahama Bay Marina

 And, WOW!! Look what Peter caught on the way over - we ate that fish for days!!

 After a night at Grand Cay we anchored at spectacular Double Breasted Cay

 Happy Hour (and boy, were were happy - this place is just beautiful!) with Deb and Paul, us, and Peter and Vicki

 Northern Lights anchored at Double Breasted Cay - we think this may be a framer!

 Jeff enjoying the crystal clear water

 Beautiful low tide sand patterns and incredible aquamarine waters

 No explanation needed!


 A nice reach to Alans-Pensacola Cay

 Happy Hour on Northern Lights at Alans-Pensacola Cay


 The passage to Spanish Cay

 Snugglin' at Spanish Cay Marina

 Jeff getting into the party spirit for Vicki's birthday. We now have a new rating system for parties - One Hat, Two Hat......Five Hats - guess he was having a Five Hat time!

 Celebrating Vicki's Special Day

 Happy Birthday, Vicki! Chocolate brownie with homemade fudge sauce and vanilla ice diet that night!

 The three of us  docked at Spanish Cay Marina

 Just a great view

 Bahamian water colors are breathtaking!

 Cruiser Beach Art at Powell Cay

 Cool coral designs at Powell Cay

Picture postcard worthy - Powell Cay

 Neala got this great shot of a small conch and then promptly dropped her NEW iPhone in the SALT water right next to it! We raced back to the boat and rinsed it in fresh water, drained it, used the vacuum to suck out any remaining water and left it in rice overnight. Wow, amazing!! It worked the next day and for about a week......then it started getting screwy and Neala ended up having to get it replaced. But at least she got the shot!

 Hosting spaghetti dinner on Northern Lights at Manjack Cay 

 Last evening in the Bahamas on Great Sale Cay

 Early morning departure from Great Sale left our wake to the horizon

 Beautiful scene on the Stream

 Jeff dragged a "meat line" - 100 ft of 1/8 inch nylon line with a stainless steel leader and a brightly colored plug - from the stern of the boat on our Gulf Stream crossing.  In the middle of a squall, he noticed we were dragging something. He pulled it in while Neala ran down to the aft cabin to get the net for that "just in case" catch! (We're not really avid fisher-people....!) In fact, we had no idea what we'd caught. I said, "Jeff, what is it??" Jeff replied, "Umm, maybe a tuna??" We also used the little trick that our friends Peter and Vicki had told us about (remember that big mahi mahi Peter caught on the way over....they know what they're doing!) that was to toss a bit of liquor down the gills or throat to subdue the fish. It worked great, but Neala used the good gin for the first splash - the second dose she chose the cheap rum - seemed to do the trick!

Once we got back in cell phone range, Neala texted a picture of the fish to our friend who is an avid fisherman. "Paul, Jeff and I caught this in the Gulf Stream and, don't laugh, but we don't know what it is!"  Paul replied,"It's a blackfin tuna - great sushi!" So, we filleted it, dusted it with Old Bay and seared it in olive oil and butter - yum!!

 Sailing on the FL coast toward the Lake Worth inlet - almost home!

Red Right Returning - as we entered the Lake Worth Inlet  - good to be back as we dropped the hook off Peanut Island and reminisced  about our Bahamian adventure!