Sat 20 Feb 2010 20:38

We made it across the Gulf Stream to Bimini. We set out at 4:25 this morning, motoring the whole way in a 5-10-knot northeast breeze, and arrived here in Bimini at 2:25 -- so a 10-hour crossing, better than we had thought. The water was beautiful -- a deep slate blue, with many Portugese Man o' Wars (Men o' War?), and some flying fish now and then. There was large swell running in from the north, long slow waves that would slowly lift the boat 5 or 6 feet, then slowly drop it down. And on top of that was a 1-2 chop, which every now and then would cause our bow to lift and thump down. So we were rocking and rolling the whole way across, but in a very bearable manner, nothing scary.

We saw a few freighters, a few other sailboats headed the same direction, several large fishing motorboats, and one oil tanker that seemed headed straight for our port side from about a mile away, and then he suddenly turned and passed well behind us. Mighty decent of him, I thought, to turn that enormous ship to make way for us. . . . Then I realized he must be making the turn to head into Miami harbor.

It was a bit nervous-making to set out in the dark this morning, but it soon came to feel completely normal, looking at the dimly lit compass, then looking up to find a star or a cloud to serve as guide for a whole, then checking the compass again. The lights of Miami fell away behind us, but it wasn't till well after dawn that we lost sight of the tops of the tallest buildings. For a long time we had the enormous expanse of sea from horizon to horizon all to ourselves.

In the last mile as we approached Bimini, the water turned an iridescent turquoise as it shallowed up. We were dumbstruck by the clarity and beauty of it -- you can see 20 feet or more straight down. It seemed to glow bright green-blue all along the shores of the island. We all can't wait to try swimming and snorkeling in it.

It took about 20 minutes to clear customs and immigration. Now the girls and Lilly are taking a walk in town to find a SIM chip to put in our cellphone so we can get local Bahamas rates. And of course they are seeking ice cream.

Now we'll try to figure out the weather and decide what our next move will be.