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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

16 JAN thru 31 JAN 07, West End, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas

GPS Position: 25°42'.092N: 78°59'.473W

Awoke this AM at 0600 EST and woke Kim. We have made the boat ready to sail and I checked out with the Dock Master. We pulled out at 0735 EST and cleared the West end of Nassau Harbour, setting a course of 308°, we are making for Chub Cay at a speed of 7.6 knots. ETA in Chub Cay is 1305 EST.

We arrived in Chub Cay at 1315 EST and proceeded into the harbour. We then took on 8 gallons of fuel and proceeded to slip #208. This is a beautiful place and they have great tasting water, water pressure and power. If I was to build in the Bahamas, this just might be the place.

Kim and I took a tour of the facility, walked the beach and retired to the boat for dinner and an early bedtime. Tomorrow, I’ll get up at 0600, check us out at the office and we’ll be on our way to Bimini. The weather is supposed to hold through Wednesday, so we just might make Ft. Lauderdale by Wednesday afternoon.

We departed Chub Cay at 0724 EST on a course of 289° towards the North West Channel Light and the US. Our ETA in Ft. Lauderdale, FL is about 0200 EST on
18 Jan 07, assuming our speed holds and we’re not pushed back by the front. It’s a beautiful day with 5 knots of breeze from the East and the sea is like glass. Hopefully, this will hold.

We arrived at North Rock Light, Bimini around 1700 EST. The wind has picked up and moved out of the NE and the waves are in excess of 8 feet. So, we decided to anchor in the lee of Bimini until morning, check the weather out of the US and decide what to do at that time.

We caught a break on the 19th when the breeze dropped off and the Gulf Stream wave height was forecast at only 2 to 3 ft. So, we hauled anchor and were underway by 0630 EST, on a course for Port Everglades, FL. The trip was smooth until about 12 miles off of the Florida coast, when the wave height picked up and made the last few miles of the trip pretty rough. But, we finally cleared Port Everglades Light at 1430 EST and made our way the Bahia Mar Marina.

On the 23rd, the repairman from Next Generation showed up with a new electrical end. He was finished with the installation 1430 Hrs. We ran the unit for about 15 minutes and were able to run everything electrical on the boat without any issues. Good job, except that I’m concerned about the fact that the repairman stripped one of the bolts on the taper-lock bushing for the electrical end pulley. He says it will not be a problem, but I’m not so sure.

There was window of opportunity for sailing on the 24th. The weather said that the best time to cross would be after 1200 noon and then it would get progressively rougher after midnight. So, with the generator fixed, we struck out for the Bahamas. The wind was steady out of the SW so we decided to ride the wind and the Gulf Stream and head for West End, Grand Bahama Island.

We made West End and anchored off of the N shore in the lee of the island. The wind increased to 18 knots, but it was reasonably calm at anchor. In the morning, we made our way into Old Bahama Bay Marina, cleared Customs & Immigration and checked into the marina. We plan to be here for awhile as there are multiple cold fronts moving through from the north and the weather is supposed to stink for a couple of weeks at best.

The marina was bought out in 2001 and completely refurbished. It is really beautiful. There is a new entranceway for the boat basin, including protective rock jetties. There are now up to date wooden docks with tall pilings and metal ladders for easy access.

On the South side, next to the main Resort office, are two restaurants: “Aqua” is the “white-table” fine-dining establishment. Then comes “Bonefish Folley’s Bar & Grill” with Happy Hour from 5-6 pm, Bahamian mixed drinks & conch fritters. The Grill has nice dinners, salads, sandwiches & desserts. Additionally, there is a gift shop, art gallery, laundry, showers, free bicycles and rental cars that can be had by the day or week.

On the 26th, we rented a car from the hotel and spent the day touring Freeport and Lucaya. The island is very different from any of the Bahamas we’ve toured to date as there’s lots of flat land and scrub pine on the island with no really tall buildings or large structures. The only exception is the Port Lucaya complex, which boasts several multiple-storied hotels. On the way back to the Marina, we found a local bakery that had great looking bread pudding and coconut pie. We overindulged and bought some of each. Then it was back to the boat for dinner and satisfaction of our sweet tooths with our newly purchased deserts.

Well, it’s the last day of the month and for the past two days and today, it’s rained cats and dogs. It’s cold (41°-F) and windy (22 to 30 knots), so all we’ve done these three days is lay about and read or work on the web site. There’s a rumor, however, that the weather will be clearing late this coming week, so finally, we may be able to leave here.

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