Going Back To The U. S. of A.

The long passage back.

The Terror Of An Open Water Passage!

The crossing from Cherokee to Royal Harbor Island required we navigate 54 miles of open water.As you can see from the looks on our dogs faces, the trip was brutal!

 

Well, OK, it was actually a little dullÖ

 

 

 

Church At Governors Harbor

I have a tough time deciding which I liked more:Governors Harbor or Spanish Wells.This lovely old church is one of the factors that makes it such a tough choice.

 

 

 

 

Dingy Chores

Like many small towns away from the tourist flood, Governors Harbor has no marinas or, for that matter, any boating facilities at all.So, when it comes to contact with the shore, our dingy had to be run up on a shallow beach.Everything had to be hauled by hand out and back across that strip of wet sand.

 

Here Bob gets ready to take an empty diesel jug to a local gas station.Also visible in the dingy are a blue kerosene jug and the top of one of six green water jugs, just under the garbage bag.

 

One ofSEA BIRDís many virtues is that she has a good set of jugs.

 

 

 

The Cockpit On Our First Night Sail

Our first ocean passage at night was dark.No moon, no sky glow, no stars.Before the sun set, we buttoned up the boat, installed the jack lines, reduced sail (so we wouldnít have to go on deck if the wind picked up), and set George (the wind-vane steering system) on the correct course.Then all we had to do was pop out of the hatch to look for ships every twenty minutes or so.We did see a few of them, but most of the time, this was all we saw: Blackness.

 

 

 

Customs, Bimini

If you come from the U. S. to Bimini, this is the first place you will have to stop.The building, like most of the government buildings in the Bahamas, has itís own unique charm.

 

 

Wreck of the Gallant Lady

She came to rest on the shore of North Bimini, but could have come to grief anywhere in the islands.The winds most places are strong, the currents swift, and the navigation aids almost nonexistent.Pretty though it is, the Bahamas isnít an easy place to sail.Itís littered with wrecks for a reason.

 

 

Hawkins Is Happy

Cool sand, a lovely shade bush, a new toy.What more could a dog ask for?

 

 

Another Waterspout

We saw four of them.Also, winds strong enough to push us at four knots without any sail set, rain heavy enough to reduce visibility to less than a football field, waves steep enough to shred a ĹĒ nylon dock line, and tidal currents so strong we couldnít go against them even with our engine wide open.Did I mention shifting sandbars and unmarked channels?

 

 

Mr. Hawkins Returns

Finally, once in his short nine-month life, Mr. Hawkins returns to someplace he has been to before:The dingy landing at West Palm beach.American sand is again under his feet, the water is again dirty.

 

Home.

 

 

Sunrise At Sea

We sailed non-stop from West Palm Beach to Georgetown, SC, a distance of over 500 miles.The trip was graced with more scenery than we expected, including great sunrises like this one that occurred about 60 miles off the Georgia coast.

 

 

Becalmed And Drifting At Four Knots

We had light winds offshore for several days.This shot was taken when the wind was dead, yet the Gulf Stream was pushing us along at four knots.We could never have made the trip in five days without that current.

 

 

Our Own Private Fish Herd

Shortly after we hit the Gulf Stream on our offshore trip north, we were joined by six Blue Runner fish.They stayed with the boat for the entire journey, gobbling any food we threw over.The book said they were tasty, and, at about five pounds each, we were tempted to get out the hooks and find out.In the end, though, we had our hands full just running the boat.

 

Maybe next time we will dine on fresh fish.

 

 

Visitor In The Calm

Winds were light the entire trip north from Florida.About the third day our, we hit a calm that stayed.In the middle of it, we got this visitor.Considering that we were 50 miles from the nearest land, we were a little surprised.I hope he made it back to shore all right.

 

 

Leaving The Gulf Stream

I didnít expect the turbulence we encountered when we left the Gulf Stream off the coast of South Carolina.In fact, I didnít know what we were encountering when we hit it, but I was impressed enough to get out the camera and get a video of the surface as it approached us. Click the picture on the right to download the video.