Astronaut Scott Kelly labeled the Bahamas “the most beautiful place from space”. I’m sure the bright turquoise waters are a stunning sight from 200 miles above, but I have to believe their beauty is better appreciated while floating carefree in them. I still remember the first time I set eyes on the incredible sight. On February 29th, 2016, after a 9.5 hour passage, Kairos cruised into the clear, stunning turquoise water leaving the rich, dark blue waters of the gulf stream behind us. We had left the comforts of the US and had arrived in Bimini, Bahamas. At the time, it felt like we were crossing the finishing line of our Gulf Stream passage. But looking back, I now realize it was just the start of a 15-month voyage that would be both frustrating and astonishing at times, but was always an adventure.
Tomorrow we will point our bow towards Florida and sail away from the turquoise waters of the Bahamas. With any luck, 28 hours later we’ll pull into a slip in Fort Pierce where Kairos will rest, awaiting her next crew. Our sailing adventure is coming to an end and we are full of mixed emotions. Even though we knew our transition to the cruising lifestyle would be temporary, it’s still incredibly sad to see it come to an end. We’ve fallen in love with the resourceful sailing community, the incredible beaches, and the genuine island people. It almost seems impossible to walk away from it all. But at the same time, we are looking forward to some of the comforts associated with land life and we’re excited to see where our next adventure takes us.
Rob flew home for a short visit with family, while I stayed behind to care for our boat and our two dogs in the Emerald Bay Marina on Great Exuma. With Rob out of town, I was settling in for a nice, calm, relaxing weekend. I envisioned the next four days would be spent reading books on the beach, cooking healthy meals, sipping on rose, and testing out some face creams. Rob and I hadn’t spent a night apart since we moved onto the boat 18 months ago and while I was certainly going to miss him, I was looking forward to the alone time. But on Thursday morning, the sleepy, quaint marina atmosphere changed wildly when megayachts began rolling in.
Rob recently pointed out that for a sailing blog, I write very little about actually sailing. This is a fair point, but it is true what they say—sailing is boredom punctuated by terror. Most of the time we are just staring off at the vast seas and occasionally trimming the sails. But it doesn’t take much–a rogue wave, a squall, an engine pitch change, a pod of dolphins, a fish on the line—and things get exciting fast.
Before starting this adventure, we were a little nervous about sailing with our two pooches. It wasn’t living in a small space or on water that worried us. We knew our pups would adapt to their new home with us by their sides. It was navigating the pet import process in each country that made me uneasy. We researched and worked with our vet prior to setting sail to ensure we had our ducks in a row. We gathered the following paper work:
After 5 months at sea, our first season sailing is winding down. As we finish prepping Kairos for storage on the hard in Puerto Rico, we reflect on all of the gorgeous places we’ve visited. We’ve loved almost all of the 50 plus anchorages that we have visited over the last 150 days. We’ve seen pristine sandy beaches, inviting turquoise water, breathtaking mountains, and lush forests. We’ve met some crazy cruisers and some incredibly sweet locals. We’ve hiked, swam, fished, lobstered, and snorkeled our hearts out. We’ve experienced a lot, but for one reason or another these locations stand out as our top five favorite anchorages. They are listed below in chronological order.
After topping off our fuel tanks at the Flying Fish Marina, we left Clarence Town around 10:00 am. Even though we replaced our fuel filter system and tightened all of the hose connections, we weren’t convinced that our fuel supply issues were fixed. This would be our first overnight sail and we expected to change filters and bleed fuel lines along the way. Sure we’ve left anchorages at dark before, but this would be the first time we’d watch the sunset while in route. The last thing we wanted to do was repeatedly bleed the engine fuel lines while underway in the dark, but there is only one way to test fuel supply issues—and that’s to run the motor. We planned to bail out into Atwood Harbor in Acklins Island if things became too difficult. All of our safety equipment was set up, we emailed out our float plan, and we had a backup plan if something went wrong. We were prepared for our first all-nighter.