Passage to the Bahamas

Crossing from the Dominican Republic to the Bahamas…today has been an interesting day. We stopped last night to anchor at Turks and Caicos. We didn’t check in, we just “Q-flagged through.” That is, we kept up our yellow Q flag to indicate that we had not cleared, and we simply anchored without leaving the boat. “Provo Radio” contacted us as we approached, and told us to call once we were anchored to give them identifying information about the boat and crew. When we called, they said to stand by on channel 16, and then they never got back to us.

We waited until 8am to leave, so we could see the coral heads on our way out. Turks and Caicos is essentially the same geography as the Bahamas, with miles of very shallow water surrounded by extremely deep water. Navigating the shallow banks can be rather stressful, and requires good visibility to see the coral. We called Provo Radio again as we were getting underway, and told them we never connected to give them our vessel information. They said to stand by on channel 16, and…you guessed it…they never got back to us.

In any case we are now in Bahamian waters, but we have not yet stopped anywhere to clear in. Our tentative plan had been to clear in at Mayaguana, but we would have arrived there around dusk, would have had to anchor and wait for daylight to dodge the coral close to town, then clear in, and most of the day would have been gone. It feels like we’ve been heading for the Bahamas for a long time, and we are running out of time to enjoy the area, so we decided to keep going through the night and get closer to the Exuma Islands, where we hope to relax a bit.

The day has been nearly picture perfect, running under spinnaker with almost no waves, but also with not much wind. For a large portion of the day our speed was under five knots, and sometimes under four. I was getting frustrated that we were going so slow and we have so little time before the crew leaves, and I was thinking about just wanting to get home and relax and not be dealing with boat problems (like the last good burner on our stove no longer working reliably!).

Then we caught a mahi mahi, and this seemed to change everything! Believe it or not, it is the first mahi mahi we have landed on the entire voyage. Some time ago we hooked one, but we failed to bring it aboard. That really upset me, and the thought that we might not catch a single mahi mahi on an entire circumnavigation did not sit well with me. But this one was a beauty, and we now have lots of my favorite fish in the freezer as well as in our bellies.

But the interesting part is that somehow after catching the fish my outlook was entirely changed. Instead of feeling like we have time pressure to get somewhere, I felt like we are already “here.” Gliding slowly along on a perfect day, not exactly sure where we are going or when we will arrive, just feeling like we are in the perfect place, content, with everything we need for now. Including a delicious dinner shared with good company, an empty horizon, a flat sea, a pleasant spinnaker breeze, a crescent of moon, and stars already brilliant that will become even more so on my watch after the moon sets.

Ocean World Marina in the Dominican Republic
We never made it to the casino (nor do I have clothes to get in).

Here is a link to a video Nora took of our successful fishing. It’s pretty slow at first, but just wait until Steve wakes up and expresses his opinion about our catch!

Thank you, beautiful and tasty fish.