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May 5th, 2014:

Jean’s Birthday

April 26, 2014 – Jean’s Birthday  (PICTURES TO BE ADDED AT LATER DATE)

Yes, I am thankful for another year of life. And, the Bahamas are a great place to celebrate life! Sailing onclear blue water is the best, unless you are in the clear blue water, swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving.  We do it all and we love it. One of Gary’s friends once asked me if I loved the water as much as Gary does. Such a relative question, but I didn’t hesitate with my reply, “Yes!”.  I grew up in the lake region of northern Indiana, and we lived in Sylvan Lake in the summer, and on Sylvan Lake as soon as it was safely frozen in the winter. To be able to live aboard White Swan and see and do the things we get to experience is a blessing I never dreamed of ever happening. Life is good. Salt life is even better.

Before leaving Old Bahama Bay Marina at West End, Grand Bahama Island, Gary cleaned the outside of the boat, filled the water tanks, and put the water hose and electrical shore power chord away, while I did a couple loads of laundry (Happy Birthday to me…). I’ve done no laundry since we left our home port on April 9th, so I really had no reason to complain. (But, it was my Birthday…). My big “treat” was taking time to take some photos and get in the beautiful swimming pool at the Old Bahama Bay Resort. Check out time at the marina was 11:00, but they were lenient with us because we had laundry in their machines.  As soon as the laundry was finished, we left the marina in good form, i.e., no problem getting out of the boat slip.

After navigating through a shallow passage we got to deeper open water and then we put up the main sail and the jib sail (one of two of the sails forward of the main sail).  We sailed at least three hours and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the bottom of the Sea of Abaco through the crystal clear aqua water as we sailed merrily along.

We anchored at Mangrove Cay (Cay is pronounced “Key” in the Bahamas), staying on the leeward side, so the island blocked most of the wind, providing calmer water for a comfortable night’s sleep on the boat. ( As opposed to the windward side of the island which would have provided a rocky, bouncy night on a boat.)

After we got White Swan securely anchored, Gary and I got in the water and cooled off before showering. Then we had a cool drink in the cockpit of the boat while we enjoyed the comfortable breeze and watched the anhingas as they flew into the mangrove trees on the small island to spend the night.  Next, came dinner and watching the sunset. It was a great day, full of experiences celebrating life, love, and pure joy.

Gulf Stream Crossing to the Bahamas 2014

April 25, 2014                  (PICTURES TO BE ADDED AT A LATER DATE)

Our friends, Ed and Cheryl, had planned on making the journey across the Gulf Stream with us.  However, ten minutes before our departure time, a phone call from them informing us something came up that needed their attention at home, prohibited them from making the trip. We had originally planned on navigating across the “Stream” by ourselves, so their absence gave us the opportunity go back to plan A, though we were sorely disappointed we would not have their company.

The weather was perfect to make the crossing.  We were greeted by a gorgeous sunrise as we passed through the Palm Beach Inlet. The warmth that came with the sunrise, the baby blue skies, and the calm water of the royal blue Atlantic Ocean, encouraged our passage making. We had only traveled a few miles when we saw dolphins playing in the water not far from our boat.  Half way across the Gulf Stream, we had a guest fly in to visit for a while. The little bird apparently felt at ease with us; and, in line with our custom, we offered our guest food and drink.

It took us 9 3/4 hours to make the crossing.  Thankfully, it was uneventful, i.e, no problems. We wanted to stop at the fuel dock on our way to our designated boat slip and we were asked to wait in the turning basin ( a large area of water designated for boats to maneuver or turn to another direction, usually for large ships when the turning basin is at an inlet). We were reminded of “island time”, as it took an hour wait before we were able to get to the dock for fuel.  And then it took another hour to get our fuel, pay the attendant (we felt sorry for the poor guy who was doing the work of three persons), clear customs, and get into our boat slip. Those last two hours were the most tiring part of the trip.

Gary got White Swan hooked up to shore power (electricity) so we could have air conditioning for the night.  We enjoyed the cool air and a cold drink before showering. We had a twofold reason for a celebratory dinner at the marina’s restaurant – celebrating my birthday (which really is tomorrow), and, our first time to cross the Gulf Stream by ourselves. Hooray for the Glenns.