To Nassau

Valt & Sandy
Tue 22 Jan 2013 21:02
25:05:35N. 77:21:34W
Jan. 22, 2013
Awoke 3:15am to head to Nassau. We must pass through the NW Channel, a narrow cut that takes us from the Great Bahama Bank into the Northeast Providence Passage. The Passage thousands of feet deep. The NW Channel itself is surrounded by coral, sand bars and rocks.

Peering into the dark we saw 10 anchor lights. The marker lights we'd seen last night were GONE. In the direction of the NW Channel we saw a bright light, but it seemed off course. Turned out it wasn't the channel marker light at all. We watched several commercial vessels transit the Channel. Trusting our chartplotter and radar, we sailed thru the channel and set a course for SE to Nassau Harbor 50 nm away. The trip was pleasant.

In Nassau we headed for the Hurricane Hole Marina fuel dock to top off our tanks. While fuel is expensive here, it is worse in the Exumas. Next stop, Nassau Harbour Club Marina, our usual. It was more rundown than before, once a fine resort. The restaurant and gift shop was closed. The office moved to a tiny space near the docks. They still charged us $100 per night, not including electricity. We declined the electricity because of our solar panels. Owner, Peter, tied us up and promised to send Customs and Immigration. They arrived, filed our paperwork, granted us 6 month visas, took our $300 cruising permit fees and were gone. Still early, we packed up our computer and Internet gadgets and walked a mile to the Bahamas Telephone Co. The main road was dirty and litter filled. Along the way we said hi to Miz King, an old Bahamian friend. We set up our Bahamas phone, and bought a data SIM card for the computer. Sadly, they were unable to set up our MIFI nor our broadband card. That task would fall to us. Amazingly, I got the MIFI working. Meanwhile we met several cruisers we'd met before in the Bahamas.

The old City Market was renovated and is now Fresh Market. The shopping center also has several electronics and computer stores as well as a dentist, hardware, beauty salon, boutiques, liquor stores, and more. All doors are locked and only opened at the discretion of the security guard! We joined some of our cruising friends for a Chinese dinner at East Villa.

The winds were kicking up. A couple came in and tied to the dock next to us. They told of their awful Passage crossing. They were anchored to the north at Chub Cay. It became too rough to stay and they opted to cross the Passage. They were in 9' seas the whole way for 8 hours, furniture tossing about. The wife decided to fly home and a friend was coming to help him get the boat to Exuma. She'd had it! But our intended route was in different waters, different direction. Sheltered by islands and reefs, we estimated a better trip for us. We hoped we were right.

That night a burglar alarm went off. It was a nearby boat. Before we could get up to look, it went off. Maybe it was time to get moving. And hope and pray for a safe, pleasant journey south. We'd check the morning weather and decide then.