the long slog home -- decision day

Sat 10 Apr 2010 23:26
We moved Sea Fever into the main harbor, into a stiff NE wind, which made us glad not to be on the Gulf Stream. We didn't see a good spot by the Alice Town anchorage, so we kept going north into the wind and anchored off the Bimini Bay Resort way up the harbor, which was the first sheltered spot we found. One boat was also anchored here, a 50-foot Beneteau, named Cape Finisterre. We had breakfast and Garth and I each jumped into the water to bathe. We'd been underway since Thursday -- and this was our first chance. Everything we'd worn last night was still soaking wet. We looked at grib and NWS bulletin for the region and thought Sunday or Monday might be possible days for crossing, as a weak trough will preceed the big front we had heard about. As we were puzzling, the zodiac from Finisterre came visiting. We learned that Finisterre is making the crossing tomorrow. The father and son had just come from the resort and were here to tell us that we, like them, could get free day passes to the resort, which had excellent swimming pools and free Wifi (to get and, two wave and wind predicting websites) and homemade ice cream. We were stunned at the possibility. Plus, there was a little "village" there with shops: a cluster of perfect brand new pastel houses--so unlike a real Bahamas village, which may have pastel houses, but they are not perfect or brand new, nor do they have architectual details that would belong in an American subdivision. Us, in a resort? Why not? we thought. We needed wifi, ice, and hotdog buns and the girls would be thrilled to swim in a pool, not to mention the ice cream. Fully prepared to be turned away, we approached the front desk and asked permission to anchor off the marina and then asked for day passes. We were given them without question.

After 51 days of roughing it on Sea Fever in the Bahamas, we spent the afternoon in the lap of luxury. We sat on a bench and gathered all the weather information we needed. We agreed with Finesterre: tomorrow would be the best day for us to cross anytime in the next week. We ate gelati and swam in a fabulous complex of swimming pools with a fountain. The girls were in heaven. Both girls opened their eyes underwater--a watershed event, so to speak. As we lounged in deck chairs, we marveled at the contrast this day provided. We could never have imagined that our last day in the Bahamas would be spent at Bimini Bay Resort. We can highly recommend it to anyone. High end marina, along with houses, condos and rentals, and excellent swimming pools. We did not take advantage of restuarants or hot tub or massages or shuttles bringing pedestrians from one place to another within the resort, but of what we partook, we thoroughly enjoyed.

Our decision not to cross last night was affirmed when we heard that the waves were up to 6 feet out there today, as the NE wind pushed against the Gulf Stream current. Tomorrow waves are predicted to be up to 3' high, coming from the East. Winds will be East 10-16 knots, at the high end of that in the afternoon, and then tapering off in the evening. There is no Small Craft Caution for tomorrow, unlike yesterday -- that really helps us make this decision. So, if all goes well, we'll be pushed and surfed to Miami. We'll leave as soon as we can see well enough to leave the harbor, and hope to arrive in the late afternoon, early evening. We're concerned about the crew's discomfort. Both winds and waves are higher than we like to be in, especially for a long crossing over such a peculiar stretch of water. The next weather window is a week from today, with really awful weather dominating that week. (The girls asked to stay here for the week so they could swim at the resort! I'm sure someone would catch on after a day or two. Not to mention that no one will want to hang out at the pool in 25 knot winds.) It's funny how our whole world revolves around wind direction and speed. Back home, we hardly pay attention to the details of the wind unless a major storm is coming and we wonder which tree we should worry about falling on the house or barn. I think we'll keep our wind meter handy after this trip. We'll walk out onto the hill and measure the wind and think about where we would go if our fields were seas.