Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Welcome to the Bahamas, Mon
We left Fort Lauderdale about 10am with very light winds and lots of sun. In a few miles we were hard into the Gulfstream. The black arrows above are the central north bound flow of this ocean river. The current was about 4 knots. The green line is where Georgia was pointed. The solid red line is the course we actually ended up on. The dashed red line is the course we wanted to be on – ie. the rhumb line from Ft Lauderdale to Great Isaac Light. That’s a lot of current push north. With a little luck and brilliant navigation skills we ended up just north of Great Isaac Light around sunset.
Here’s one of the giant cruise ships that ply this water constantly, the Zuiderdam, showing off a calm Gulfstream sunset to the passengers. From Great Isaac Light we entered the Northwest Providence Channel. This is all deep water and packed with tanker and cruise traffic going to Caribbean or Florida ports.
By early morning we were ready to enter the cut at Great Harbour Cay Marina (BUllocks Harbour) to clear customs. FYI – cay is pronounced key. The yellow flag flying is our Q Flag. Stands for quarantine or ‘I request practique’. Once you clear customs the Q flag is lowered and the courtesy flag of the visited country is raised. Once all the forms were filled out in duplicate the Bahamian customs guy came down to the boat. Very polite and professional. Easy check-in – except for the required US$300 payment.
The highlight of showing up here was the greeting we got from this Manatee family. They were munching down on the underwater grass along the quay. Chris was excited enough that now we can just go home. Me, I’m looking forward to Manatee chowder at the restaurant tonight.