Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Location: Emerald Bay Marina, Exuma, Bahamas
Distance Traveled Today: 52 Nautical Miles
Total Trip Distance: 855 Nautical Miles
I was up at 4:30 am this morning, getting ready to depart the marina at Stella Maris, Long Island, with the high tide at 6:00 am. I enjoyed morning coffee on the aft deck, checked out the engine room, disconnected our power cord, and got a couple of dock lines unhooked before waking Laura at 5:45 for deckhand duties. At 5:55, just before sunrise, we cast off the last of our lines and slipped out the shallow channel with just inches to spare under our keel.
And so began the long haul back to the U.S. and reality. As the crow flies, we are some 320 nautical miles from Palm Beach where I plan to leave the boat and head for home. But we will not travel as the crow flies, and the trip should be easily 400 nautical miles, or about 60 hours of travel time. With a stop in Nassau to send Laura home and pick up Perfect Deckhand James Abele, I should be back in Birmingham in about two weeks.
Seas in the Exuma Sound were slightly rough today, so we elected to head south along Long Island about 8 miles, and then take the route over the Bahama Bank back to Georgetown. It only added about five miles to our journey and certainly gave us a nicer ride. Skies were partly cloudy with a southeast wind at about 18 knots and 3 to 4–foot swells in the open Exuma Sound. I debated all morning whether to stop in Georgetown or high tail it to Emerald Bay, location of the better grocery store. Ultimately, we decided to do both, stopping for Laura to experience the Chat N Chill for lunch and then moving on to Emerald Bay.
Laura is already proving to be an excellent deckhand. She hosed off the boat yesterday at Stella Maris and is doing so again right now. And, of course, tonight she will help cook the dinner. We’re glad to be in a spot with cable TV to watch election returns tonight and we should finish up provisioning at the nearby grocery. Tomorrow, we head north to Staniel Cay or one of the other interesting stops along the Exumas. We’ll report in whenever we have internet.