Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Departed The Bahamas, On Our Way to Florida

March 2 2021
Northwest Providence Channel
24nm west of Great Harbor Cay

We weighed anchor late this morning and have left The Bahamas, now underway to Lake Worth Inlet, about 100 nm ahead. The sky is pale blue, streaked with wispy clouds, the sea a deep blue, very calm. Winds are very light so we're motoring along pleasantly on one engine.

As we were preparing to weigh anchor, I looked down into the shallow, crystal clear water and acknowledged that I will miss this place. As we headed out to sea, the tricolor water flag of The Bahamas presented itself ahead; the green-blue shallows, the bright light blue of the bank, the deep deep blue of the undersea canyons. I felt a bit melancholy as I lowered our Bahamian courtesy flag, folded it up and put it away.

Yesterday, we officially cleared out of The Bahamas at Great Harbor Cay Marina. We anchored outside the harbor and took the dinghy to the marina, only to learn that the vessel has to be present to clear out. That's funny, as we didn't need to bring Intermezzo in when we cleared into Green Turtle Cay, when we might have had all sorts of contraband, weapons and suspicious persons aboard.

We rode back to Intermezzo, raised the anchor, motored into the marina and docked. The marina staff was nice to not charge us their normal $100 fee for tying up to clear Customs. The Customs officer arrived from the airport within 30 minutes , asked a few questions, stamped our paperwork and we were back at anchor again inside of an hour.

I prepared grilled blackened mahi-mahi for dinner, filets cut from the large fish we caught on the passage to the Berry Islands (more about that in my upcoming wrap-up post), rice and peas (a Bahamian standard on which I improved upon) and artichoke hearts. We polished off two bottles of wine (mostly through my efforts). We watched the sun set and stargazed until the moon rose, whereupon I went for a short dip in the inky black water. It was a nice end to our cruise.

The only event of note on our passage to Florida so far was my noticing that the port engine was running hot. I pulled the cover off the raw water pump and four of the six rubber blades had broken off. I recovered two of them, the other two will need to be extracted from the heat exchanger later. I'm a bit puzzled by this failure, as the pump was recently rebuilt and doesn't have many hours at all on it. I put in a new impeller, buttoned everything up and the engine is now running at normal temperature.

It will take us about 24 hours to get to Lake Worth Inlet. The winds are forecast to pick up around midnight from the south, which will be perfect for us to cross the Gulf Stream.