The Bahamas really have a extraordinary geography. All around the 700 islands, the corral reefs and banks are no more than 20 feet. Once we cross the waters from island to island, the ocean is 7000-9000 feet deep! It's like each island is a table: when we leave the table, the floor is way down. We experienced this unusual geography when we left Bimini Islands. We traveled from 07h00 to 23h30 on Great Bahama Bank towards Chug Cay and Nassau in 10-20 feet of water only. The water was gorgeous: it was light blue and we could clearly see the white sand bottom. At a certain point in the afternoon, we stopped the boat, swam and wash up. We could rinse the salt water using a shower head on our swim tramson. What a feeling!
When we tried to exit Grand Bahama Bank through a narrow pass, the current against us was too strong - we could barely move forward. We decided to retrace our route a little bit and drop anchor until the current changes direction at around 04h00. Before bed, we opened a bottle of bubbly and celebrate the New Year. A few hours later, for breakfast, we finished the bottle with mimosas.
It is surprising how much energy a body spends keeping warm. During our Bimini-Nassau crossing, at night the air was warm. Navigating was comfortable and pleasant. I remember though when we sail overnight up in Massachusetts and Virginia. The cold air was draining our energy pretty quickly trying to stay warm. So we were often very tired and irritable. Well, we're done with that now!
Nassau is the busiest hub in the Bahamas. Before we entered the harbor, we saw 6 cruiseships moored. I could just imagine all these people in downtown Nassau. Bahamas celebrate Christmas and New Year with Junkanoo. It is a celebration of music, parades, costumes (with a contest) and dance. We were too tired to participate but we did see the aftermath: costume parts and lots of garbage on downtown streets. It looked like it was quite a party. Many locals were cleaning up this morning. The 6 cruiseships left during the evening and 3 more appeared when we woke up this morning.
We reprovisioned after breakfast today. Man, it's expensive. A 18-egg crate is $9 US, celery $6 US. We were able to keep the tab at $145 US this time. We've seen up to $300 US for groceries, and that's for one store only. As for laundry, we'll wait until we get to Great Inagua. I found a laundromat on Google Map. In the meantime, I'll wash a few items en route. For next season, we'll buy a hand washing machine that we'll ship to Grenada Island before we get back to Komeekha in November.
According to this morning's wind forecast, we'll leave Nassau tomorrow morning. We'll follow the string of islands called Exumas for a couple of days. We'll then cross over to Conception Island, then Crooked Island, then Great Inagua, then Turks (& and Caicos), then Dominican Republic. If you look at Google Maps, it might seem weird to go that North from Great Inagua to Turks and Caicos. There are 2 reasons for this decision: 1) We can only clear Customs at Great Inagua, no longer can we at Mayaguna Island; 2) With winds and currents, we get a better angle to get to Dominican Republic from Turks and Caicos instead of Great Inagua. As usual, this whole plan can change based on Mother Nature's temperament in the next few days. She's the boss!