Paul - "Finally the Bahamas" or "Amazing Colors"

We are here!! We have been talking about the Bahamas since leaving our last destination nation, the San Blas Islands.  Of course, we made some great stops along the way, Providencia, Roatan, and of curse (Course?) Key West.  But they were intended to be stops along the way to rest and refit.  Not destinations.  The Bahamas has been the “next destination” since early February.  Now we are here!!
 
We had a great sail from Key Largo.  We had been sitting having a relaxing dinner while the boat was actually in a slip that we were paying for (A first for us since getting away from the dock).  And it was not a cheap slip.  There is no such thing in Florida, especially anywhere in the Keys.  As we sat at dinner we suddenly discussed leaving at last light (1 hour away), instead of at 1 am which was the plan.  Our relaxing dinner turned into a mad scramble to tie up loose ends (get the laundry out of the driers, turn in the keys to the marina, tie on jack lines (webbing that runs along both sides of the boat on deck that we use to clip into our harnesses when we leave the cockpit.  They keep us on board the boat, which is important).  With food in to-go boxes. We slipped the lines and motored out of the long channel back into open water.  
 
The sail felt good.  There was a lot of boat traffic just off the Keys. Including some that paid absolutely no attention to us.  Distances are so difficult at night.  Is that white light 5 miles away or 500 yards?  It is often difficult to tell. There was a sport fishing boat (we realized as it passed very close to us) that just seemed to stay on collision course.  We were the stand-on vessel, therefore required by maritime law to not alter course, and he was the give-way vessel and so he should have made an “obvious correction” to avoid coming too close.  I think they may have been asleep, so we altered to go around them.  I hit them with our spotlight, no reaction at all.  No big deal, mostly just something to make watch a little more interesting.  It is not like off the coast of Central America where we would worry about who is approaching us in the dark.  We are back in America, where law and order at sea is much more common, compliments of the US Coast Guard and a good economy. Both of which discourage piracy.
 
We made landfall in the Bahamas around 11am.  We anchored on the west side of North Bimini, quickly set up the dinghy, and organized our paperwork to allow me to go ashore and clear customs.  Bimini always strikes me as funny because it is 7 miles long and has a lot of cars that drive back and forth on the one main road.  7 miles and you need a car?  I am sure there are some delivery trucks that are needed, but I don’t get the passenger car at all.  Also, after clearing customs, I still had to go to Immigration to clear.  The customs guys gave me directions.  “Go out to the road, Mon.  Go Sout and walk for about 10 – 15 minutes.  Immigrations will be on dee l’ft.”  At first I thought I may have misunderstood, because if I walked to the south I was going to hit the ocean in about 5 minutes.  Turns out Immigration was 3 minutes and 6 seconds to the “sout”.  I guess I just walk 3-5 times faster than the average gov’t employed Bahamian.  Everyone on the island is very friendly, and there is an interesting mix of foreigners.
 
Anyway, with clearing in complete.  We immediately hauled anchor and headed for Cat Cay, about 8 miles to the south.  We arrived around 4 pm and set anchor. We all had a great swim in the 10 feet deep, crystal clear, beautifully blue water.  Laura immediately spotted a conch.  A great sign.  Our fishing permit allows 6 conch, 10 lobster, and 60 pounds of other fish on board at any time. So we just have to eat the conch 6 at a time, then go get 6 new ones for the next meal.  I foresee a lot of ceviche.
 
The plan was to sail across the Great Bahama Bank today and tomorrow, putting us in the Berry Islands.  The forecast for today was great. Tonight and tomorrow are to steadily worsen.  So we decided to just stay put and enjoy where we are.  No problem; a totally stress free day.  Everyone’s moods reflect it, too.  We are all almost giddy.  It is great.  
 
I am going to go read in the hammock until I feel like swimming now.  How awesome is that!  (no question mark is intentional…it was rhetorical)
 
Thanks
 
Paul