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We Made It To The BAHAMAS, Mon!!!



The fear of the unknown is one of the great paralyzers of life. When I think of the first sailors who sailed beyond the horizon, in uncharted waters without GPS, I think of the courage it took for them to continue on their journey. They had to have had a more in depth vision in their minds, to go far beyond what they could see with their eyes. Back in that day, some called it stupidity. The wise called it adventure. Today we crossed a rite of passage for sailors. We are no longer “pond cruisers”. For the first time in our sailing experience we have been out in the ocean far enough to see nothing but the sapphire ocean kissing the baby blue sky, 360 degrees. A sense of freedom and awe embraced us.


Following Lady Bug out the Lake Worth Inlet 3-24-11

White Swan is welcomed by the Sunrise over the Atlantic as she takes her maiden voyage to the Bahamas.

Gary and I anchored White Swan near the Lake Worth Inlet at Singer Island last night. Ed and Cheryl took Lady Bug to a boat slip at a marina near the inlet, so they could do what they needed to do ashore before leaving for the Bahamas. We met this morning at the turning basin and headed out the inlet by 7:00 AM.  As we went out into the Atlantic Ocean, we were greeted by a welcoming sunrise, reassuring us it was going to be a beautiful day.

As we anticipated the day, the excitement of taking our own boat to the Bahamas for the first time was exhilarating. As I said before, “There’s nothing like doing anything for the first time.”

We went out the inlet at low tide, making an easy exit. The wind was out of the west, helping us as well. The wind remained W to WSW from 10 to 15 knots, providing us with more speed as we motor-sailed across the “stream”. Steering up to 20 degrees off course, kept us on the rhumb line on our GPS, as we followed Lady Bug to the Bahamas. The larger swells in the middle of the stream, necessitated keener attention at the helm. The feel of the wheel as we steered was similar to what we experienced in the BVI (British Virgin Islands) when we chartered a sailboat there and sailed around the north side of Tortola in the open sea.

Three hours out, we could no longer see the buildings on the shore at Palm Beach. We spotted the water tower at West End from ten miles out on the other side. We had no sight of land for around five hours (thus our rite of passage). It took us 9 ½ hours to make the crossing.

Watching the depth meter while getting closer to the Bahamas was interesting. It went from 599 feet ( which is it’s max) to 126 feet as we crossed the bank and quickly dropped into the 20’s. While we were out in the stream, the GPS showed the deepest water was 2585 feet.

Yellow Quarantine Flag above US Flag

Raising the Bahamian Flag after clearing customs

As soon as we were “on the bank”, we lowered our sails and raised our yellow quarantine flag. The quarantine flag had to be flown until the captain (only) goes ashore to clear customs. Then the flag is taken down and the Bahamian flag is raised above the US flag.

Ed called the marina on the VHF radio and made docking arrangements for both boats. While listening to the marina’s instructions on where we were going to dock, we kept looking for an open slip and found none, only to realize they were putting us at the bulkhead in the middle of the fairway. I was at the helm, as Gary has to be the muscles to push us away from what ever I might be getting ready to hit, when at the last minute I realized what was happening. I’ve never docked White Swan in such a tight place before and luckily had no time to think about it and panic. Amazingly I maneuvered her around and with the help of the dockhands and Gary, put her right into place beside the bulkhead. My head swelled 10 times it’s normal size as my ego rejoiced at my skills (a.k.a. luck).

Upon arrival, we congratulated Captain Ed, for a perfectly sailed route to the entrance of the Old Bahama Bay Marina on West End, Grand Bahama Island. We decided to celebrate by having dinner at the restaurant at the marina. Afterward, we toasted with champagne and strawberries aboard Lady Bug.

Celebration Dinner at Old Bahama Bay Marina


Gary’s lifelong dream became reality today. I’m so grateful I got to share the experience with him. Aware that not everyone gets to see their life’s dreams become reality, we feel blessed and are thankful to God for the day.

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