Swing Set

Mar 9, 201309:51 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

It's All Coming Together

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We went to the Bahamas seminar last Wednesday and did get some useful information, as well as meeting some other boaters here in the harbor who we've only heard on the cruiser's net in the morning but haven't met yet. There were at least 50 people at the seminar, some who have been planning on "making the jump" for years and haven't done it yet anbd some who are going in just a few weeks or so. We hope to be in the latter group.

We were happy to learn that we at least had all of the equipment that is usually recommended for the trip, plus some. We are also on the right track as far as what we need for paperwork when we visit the Bahamas Customs and Immigration Office, plus a valuable tip in regard to how to list everything aboard the boat, which is one of the requirements. We can condense the list to "usual ships stores" and be done with it.

One big reservation we have is the ability to get our weather information when we are in the Bahamas. We still aren't sure if our XM Weather for our Garmin GPS unit will work, so we'll need a back-up plan. We bought a small SSB receiver, but we still need to practice using it and program some regular weather channels on it, particularly the channel that Chris Parker broadcasts on at 6 a.m. each morning. Most of the marinas have WiFi, but we don't want to have to stay at marinas, naturally wanting to stay on the hook. We'll look into purchasing Internet service when we check in, but will have to see how that goes.

We've pretty much decided to check in at Alice Town in North Bimini. From Angelfish Cut, just south of Key Biscayne, it's only about 50 miles to Bimini, which we'll do at cruising speed or close to it. From there, we'll try to go to the Berry Islands if the weather permits; otherwise we can go further south to Andros or north to Grand Bahama. But for now, a loosely formulating plan is to take us through the Berry Islands, maybe stop at Nassau and then on to the Exumas. But we'll take it one day at a time like we've done every day so far.

We've decided to get Holly her examination on April 1, which is required for her entry into the Bahamas. This gives us a day to run up the coast to Angelfish Cut, stay overnight and then cross the Gulf Stream on April 2, fulfilling the ridiculous 48-hour Bahamian requirement to have a pet examined and get a certification no longer than that time period before entering customs. We understand there may be wiggle room, but we'll try to adhere to the law. This will put us in Bimini on a weekday, so we don't have to ask a customs official to come in special on a weekend. I would think this would make them crabby and therefore more scrutinizing, just in case we have some loose ends.

But we're going nowhere if the wind generator isn't fixed. But...we have hope! SALT has ordered two circuit boards from E Marine in Fort Lauderdale and now has them at their facility here in Marathon. We are scheduled to have one of them installed on Monday morning and will keep the other for a spare. SALT tacked on a healthy markup, but with a little negotiating on my part, we were able to get the circuit boards without feeling entirely robbed. The key here is whether the new board will work or not. I'm having SALT install the board, just to remove any doubt about the installation if the board doesn't work. It would be easy for them to blame it on me. We'll just remove that aspect from the equation.

Last Thursday, it was cool and breezy, so we decided to check out a place called The Hurricane for happy hour. We walked there from the marina, got there at 3 p.m., and it was deserted, so we called a cab and went to Sparky's Landing. The cab ride over the Vaca Cut cost $2 more than regular, but it was worth it. It was standing room only around the bar, but we did find one chair, which I of course, gave to Rosie. Chivalry is not dead. We struck up a conversation with two couples from Delaware, and when they left, we both were able to have a seat. Chicken wings and peel and eat shrimp were both .25 cents each. Now that's a good happy hour price for appetizers! We had a good time there. The bartender was on her game, and we plan on going back soon. The only down side was that we had to wait outside in the "cold" for nearly a half hour before the cab came to take us back to the City Marina.

We go to bed early and get up early, usually before the sun comes up, like this predawn photo from Friday morning. The view is to the west, with most of the mooring field in view. It is required for everyone to have an anchor light on at night, and with all the vessels in the harbor right now, it looks like lots of twinkling stars close to the water. The predawn light is just beginning to shine on the boats.

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