Last known position:
Lomma, Sweden
N 55 °40,55
E 13 ° 03,40'

Nassau Bahamas, 18 march 2006

4:th letter, captains log. West Palm Beach to Bahamas

21 February 2006, West Palm Beach – Florida Strait
The whole day was spent on getting the last pieces of equipment and clearing our exit with the US Customs authority. In order to arrive to the Bahamas in daylight we decided to leave sometime late at night. Just before midnight or so we picked up our anchor at West Palm Beach and set out into the Florida Strait. As we had been told the Gulf Stream was strong at about 3 knots and a quick check at the GPS showed that our corrections for the current were about right. The sea was fairly rough and, still jet lagged, I was struck hard by sea sickness. Fredrik and Jonas did alright though and were kind enough to cover my watches. Sailing was good and we held an average speed of about 7 knots with a speed record on the GPS on 10.3 knots (!).

22 February 2006, Florida Strait – Mangrove Cay
When daylight arrived we were all very tired from staying up all night but the reward was a sea as blue as I never has seen any ocean before. After a couple of hours of great sailing we finally spotted Memory Rock – We now saw the Bahamas! The water soon turned turquoise and I understand why the astronauts say these are the most beautiful waters on Earth. After passing Memory rock and entering Bahamian waters we had another 30 NM to Mangrove Cay where dropped our anchor for the night. We took a swim, had dinner and dropped dead in our berths.

23 February 2006, Mangrove Cay - Walker’s Cay
With the wind blowing straight from the stern we doubled up our foresails and made good speed towards Walker’s Cay. At Walker’s Cay we cleared with the customs authorities and received a cruising permit for three months. Since we had forgot to bring any cash whatsoever we almost managed not to be able to clear and enter Bahamas but with the problem was finally solved with some travelers’ checks that we had put far away in a secret place in the boat.

Walker’s Cay is a fascinating pace, struck and devastated by several hurricanes in the past years and now abandoned. The ruins of hotels, bars, fishing facilities and pools are spread over the island and the only people present are the customs authorities and four people working for a company that recently bought the island and aims at once again making it a Mecca for sport fishing.

24 February 2006, Walker’s Cay
Our kitchen pump broke in the morning and it took a while to fix. We set out of the harbor pretty late for Grand Cay and decided to turn back since we realized we wouldn’t make it before sunset in the pretty rough sea heading towards us. Normally (Swedish conditions that is) a late arrival would not cause much problem but Bahamas is no place you want to travel by night since lighthouses are seldom working and the charts are not very accurate. Instead you must rely on what is called”eyeball navigation” which means that you navigate by studying the color of the water. Since the water is so clear you can see the bottom most prevailing depths and from the color of it do an estimate of the depth. A little bit scary at first but once you get used to it, it feels safe. Does obviously not work at night though.

25 February 2006, Walker’s Cay - Grand Cay
After some problem with our bilge pump we set out from Walker’s Cay to Grand Cay, a short trip of about three hours. We anchored outside Rosie’s Bar where the locals and a couple of American sailors had the party running in the early afternoon. Fredrik and Jonas went fishing and Fredrik caught a decent sized Barracuda that we had for dinner. It was delicious!

26 February 2006, Grand Cay - Double Breasted Cays
We set out from Grand Cay aiming to get to Double Breasted Cays without having been able to get any weather forecast. Just when we were about to enter the reef channel to Double Breasted we were struck by a cold front with heavy rain and wind speeds up to about 20 m/s (approx 40 knots). We decided to wait for the front to pass but after the winds increasing again we decided to go around the island and try a safer passage through the reef. We made contact with Schwan and Time Out II who were kind enough to try to guide us on our way in. Halfway into the narrow channel with a sandbank on one side and a reef on the other we decided to drop our anchor to wait for another heavy rain to pass. The boat swinged back and forth and because the strong wind was pushing the boat and the surface water south at the same time which the tide current was running strong in a northern direction. It was meaningless to try to position the boat in the channel and we were doing several knots spinning around the anchor in way that seemed to be ”impossible” before we figured it out. Finally after inhaling a load of quick carbohydrates we took the decision to pull up the anchor (yep we figured out how to that too) and move the boat to another place. We dropped two anchors and checked them every hour that night.

27 February 2006, Double Breasted Cays
We changed our anchorage on Double Breasted Cay. Double Breasted Cay is an amazingly beautiful place as taken out of travel commercial. We spent the day wandering slowly on the beach and to explore the surroundings by boat. I took a trip in the rowboat while Jonas and Fredrik went fishing. Catch of Today was two nail fish and one grouper.

28 February 2006, Double Breasted Cay - Carter's Cay
We sailed from Double Breasted Cay to Carter’s Cay and made a great snorkeling stop on a coral head. Fredrik and Jonas tried their spears but managed only to shot inedible fish. We arrived late at Carter Cay and fell fast asleep.

1 Mars 2006, Carter's Cay - Moraine Cay
We left Carter Cay early and spent the day slowly eyeball navigating our way close to the reef towards Moraine Cay. We made several snorkeling stops and on one spot we found tons of Conch – a kind of shellfish that is typical in Bahamian Cuisine. We made contact with a couple of local fishermen who showed us how to open the shell and gave us some tips on how to cook what they presented as the “Bahamian Viagra”! We had it for lunch but noticed no noticeable effect.

On our next stop Jonas and Fredrik caught snapper and a huge hogfish – dinner became a fish feast! In the evening we anchored outside Moraine Cay – a beautiful little island – and we took the rowboat to the shore. It was nice to feel solid ground under our feet and we took stroll on the beach in the sunset. This was a day filled with joy and beauty and as usual we dropped dead in our berths before 9 PM.
Golf Stream Crossing
Swimming at Mangrove Cay
Walker's Cay
Foul weather
Happy conch diver
Double Breasted Cays
Sunset at Moraine Cay