So many of you have enjoyed reading our Coastal Journeys on the Loop that we have decided to continue the Blog past the Loop. This will be more about life onboard and full-time cruising. You can still use our Loop track to find us on our website. This is why we named our site “Coastal Journeys” because we love to share the cruising lifestyle. Many of you sit at home and live vicariously through us wishing and dreaming about buying a boat and starting coastal journeys of your own. Well, you can continue to experience our Coastal Journeys on Gypsies Palace.
We were “home” in Boca Raton for 3 weeks while we completed errands, provisioning and waiting for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas. It seemed like it would never come! Windy, windy, windy! At the same time, we spent more money thinking of things we “needed” like a fishing cutting table, dinghy ladder, new fenders etc. Some were more obvious like spare boat parts – boring!
We were able to spend the majority of our time behind a neighbor’s house on our old street. We rented a car and took care of flu shots (gads, looking at the news it looked important to us) and vet visits. Do you know we did not catch one cold on the whole Loop, nor were we sick one day? I find that amazing. When we were in the sea of humanity in South Florida I was sure that we were going to catch something! We didn’t, but we sure enjoyed catching up with friends while we were there. Occasionally, we would go out to Lake Boca and anchor and join some Looper friends there.
I mentioned provisioning. That is very important when traveling in the Bahamas. It is not that you can’t buy something, but it will be 4 – 8 times higher than the states. I created a provisioning list and inventory so I actually know what I have on board. I have a freezer chest and that was pretty full when I started so I could not add much there. It is quite a challenge when you think of the canned goods, snacks, drinks, prepared rice, pasta, sauces, cereal, dog food, paper products, cleaning products, toiletries and whatever else that is used in everyday life.
Buying it is pretty easy, but now, where to store everything? Luckily, this catamaran is like a sailboat with storage under the floors. That is all full. There is storage under seats. That is all full. Check out my “wine cellar” under one of my couches. I have extra bags that would not fit anywhere, too!
At the last-minute produce is bought because we may not see a lot of fresh produce. Now that is also a storage issue because the refrigerator drawers can only handle so much. I actually had to write down what was purchased so that I would not let anything spoil. I cleared out the drink refrigerator to make space for produce.
Finally, after all of this planning a Weather Window opened for us. We traveled alone since the weather window was not perfect. That also gave us the flexibility to go fast if we needed to improve the ride. When we left it was perfect – incoming tide in the Inlet so no bouncing around. Of course, perfection doesn’t last and about 10:30 we got the north winds and the seas picked up. I had luckily taken a Bonine since you just never know when seasickness will occur. We expected seas around 2-3, but they were mostly 3-4 with a lot of 4. We continued around 10 mph for a little while until Steve decided that we needed to pick up the speed to 15 mph. That got us to West End Bahamas at 2:00. We left at 7:45.
The first thing that is done is to clear Customs. That process is relatively easy – just forms. Once that is done everyone can leave the boat. We stayed at Old Bahama Bay, a resort with cottages and a restaurant. At this time of year the place is a stopping place for boats traveling to other places. The day we arrived only 2 other boats came in and they were both power cats! How about that! It wasn’t a great ride, but definitely not horrible, but a ride better on a catamaran.
One of our rituals is to find a conch salad stand – our favorite food in the Bahamas. Our next ritual is to find a bar to order a Goombay Smash – our favorite Bahamian drink. We found both, I am happy to report!
The marina was mostly deserted because for the next two days there was no weather window from the states. We had the marina mostly to ourselves.
One thing that was a nice surprise is that there was a large group of “jumpers” and we were entertained by their parachuting several times a day. You just never know when something totally unexpected happens!
Our 2nd day we decided to go out fishing since we had to speed up our crossing the day before and couldn’t fish on the way. Steve had bought bait and we were searching for something edible – dolphin (mahi mahi) or tuna. We rode around for a couple of hours and decided to head back in. Close to the marina we had “Fish On”! I was nearly asleep and Steve was lost in looking at the fish finder so we didn’t react right away. In fact, we were very out of practice and had never caught anything on Gypsies Palace. What was bad is that we didn’t realize that we had a second fish on!
I was jumping up and down with the net while Steve was reeling in a 10 lb dolphin. He landed it in the boat and I was afraid that it was going to jump out so I put the net over it and got it all tangled in the fish and hook. What a comedy of errors. We were too busy to think about the other line and by the time we did, it had gotten away. We also had another dolphin circling the boat while I was jumping up and down. We were laughing and trying to do something with the fish. We had forgotten to bring the ice chest down so we just laid it on the back of the boat. We tried to see if we could find the school again, but they were gone. We decided that we were very happy with our dinner for the night and we go back in. Let me tell you that it was delicious on the grill that night. We have enough for 4 more meals, too!
After all of that excitement the local lobster guy comes to the dock looking to sell us lobsters. Well, of course! They were $48 for 6 with a “shortie” thrown in. I got out the Food Saver and packed everything into my already stuffed freezer.
What a day! Our first fish on Gypsies Palace. Lobster bought at the dock. Marina mostly empty. Perfect weather. What more could you ask for on the start of our next chapter of Coastal Journeys?