We arrived at West End Bahama Bay as the sun was setting over the western Atlantic sea. We had left Fort Lauderdale before dawn and spent the day sailing across the Gulf Stream and were eager to find a place to dock for the night in calm waters. As we glided toward the harbour and left the rocky seas, the spectrum of the water transformed into a beautiful turquoise and then an aqua as the depth turned shallower. We could see the bottom at 30 ft deep and that frightened us, what would the bottom look like at 10 ft?
We had hailed Old Bahama Bay Marina and the assured us that a slip was waiting for us. We motored into the palm tree covered landscape and marveled at the swimming pool we were floating in. A lovely local gentlemen came to help us with the dock lines and then we were to go over to the immigration. We had hoisted a yellow microfibre towel as our quarantine flag, as another sailor couple had done. We went over to immigration and were surprise that we were the last ones to be put into the system. It didn’t take long and we were checked in and ready to go, the officers were happy to leave and head home for their dinners.
We were so exhausted that we had bread and butter for dinner. After, we ran over to the beach to examine the water and see if it really was as clear as hyped up to be. The water sparkled under the stars and was blooming with life. We couldn’t wait to see it in the sun.
The night was hot and still, therefore a shower was in order. We were eager to wash our hair and scrub ourselves, it had been a week or so since our last shower. Good and bad news folks. The showers were not only cold, they were really cold, impossible to stay under without shivering. A rinse was all that was had, and it was beneficial for the sweaty night that lay ahead of us.
In the morning we had two tasks to handle. Find a way to go into town to get a data plan, and the other, to swim in the crystal blue water that everyone dreams about.
We found out that there were free bikes at the marina, so we geared up and biked into town. The town looked as though it had seen a few too many hurrricanes, but we found it a fresh chance from the sprawl of America. The locals waved as we rode by. Endless conks filled the shoreline. The cars, like in the UK, drove on the other side of the road so we maneuvered over to the other side to avoid collision.
The BTC wasn’t too far from the marina, perhaps a 15 minute bike ride. Not knowing it’s precise location we kept our eyes peeled. There it was, hiding behind a liquor store. We spent some time ogling over the various phone plans, and agreed that 15 g was probably our best bet. The lady in the store was extremely kind and helpful and we were intrigued by the dialect used amoungst the locals to locals. We received an “English, English” accent, which suited us fine.
We rode back to the marina, and gazed out at a sunken sailboat among the coral reefs. Not something that many sailors enjoy seeing.
Upon our return to the marina we stripped and ran over to the small, sheltered beach. The water was glowing turquoise crystal under the sun, we dipped our toes in and were overwhelmed by the warmth of the water. We immediately sifted our feet through the sand, deeper and deeper into the water. We dove into water and were met with a
calm rush, like drinking hot tea on a cold day, or once first sip of hard liquor. The salt prickled our eyes, and the world was so bright we could hardly sea. We could see our entire bodies under the water as if we were taking a bath. Could this place be real?
We didn’t want to leave, but we knew that more beautiful isolated islands lay beyond these shores. However, the winds were predicted to be fairly strong and unfavourable for the Bahama Banks crossing so we located a hurricane hidy hole not 5 nautical miles down the island. We threw off the docklines and headed out of the harbour after filling up on water.
We sailed out of the harbour with our head sail only and made our way to the protected waters of the hidy hole. On the chart the depths showed that it was too shallow for us, but Jas had done his research and came to learn that many boats had anchored here before and the entire area had been dug out for commercial purposes, something like a subdivision that had been stopped in its tracks. The waterway had been built, the roads and even the stop signs, yet no houses. We sailed along the coast, and then turned toward the hidy hole. The water depth became shallower and shallower, I mean, 15 ft, but it felt a lot shallower, especially when you could see the fish swimming along the bottom.
We arrived into the protected pool like waters and sought out a perfect location to drop hook. We were the only ones there at this point, so we dropped the anchor right in the middle to allow for a lot of swing room. The pool was a turquoise green, but it was impossible to see the bottom because of the fine sand ebbing in and out with the tide. We took it easy, and enjoyed our first evening at anchor. We watched as other boats came and dropped hook, we didn’t mind the company.