We made it to Long Island, Bahamas! We are officially in “The Tropics”! Why? Because we are now south of the Tropic of Cancer. There’s even a line painted on Little Exuma where, had the winds and ocean been cooperative, we could’ve stopped for a little photo op. They were not - so we opted to sail on.
We arrived safely - after FINALLY catching our first mahi, and dropped anchor for the night near Simms settlement. The next day we moved on further south to Thompson Bay/the Salt Pond. This bay is fairly shallow, and we were expecting “a blow”. Which, like most, fortunately turned out to just be slightly higher winds from an unusual direction (west). There were only a few boats anchored when we arrived, but that number quickly exploded and we had a full anchorage. This, of course, led to a beach happy hour/bonfire. Doesn’t take much to get cruisers to hang out on the beach together and chat!
Invariably the chatting leads to “so what are your plans?” Which then forces us to make some sort of plans… This was an almost daily conversation for weeks. It’s a little less frequent now, but still comes up. I think we’ve finally decided, but some days it is still a toss up!
Our 2 Options Ok, so maybe we have WAY more than 2 options, but we’ve narrowed it down to two. That’s progress at least. We’ve come pretty far south, relative to the Bahamian islands. Our first option is to keep going! We are really excited to get to Puerto Rico/Culebra/Vieques. The Virgin Islands are also ridiculously high on our list. Hurricane season doesn’t begin until July 1 (per my insurance at least…) so we have time. The learning curve has been steep, but we are settling nicely into our cruising life. There are also several blogger folks in our general age range “down there” and we would LOVE to connect! Option Number 2 - go north and visit the States! What?!? Visit the States? We just left 3 months ago… Why go back? Well, we would love to explore the Keys and the gulf side of Florida. Heading further north to Louisiana would let us spend some time with Mark’s family, too. And we’d be a car ride/short flight from family and friends. Sure they can visit in the Caribbean, too, but Florida is excellent for a cheap, quick visit. Being this far south, it’s time to make that call. Do we carry on toward the Caribbean this season? Or do we head north, explore the parts of the Bahamas we’ve missed, then check out southern Florida? And how do we even choose?! Today at least, we are choosing to go north. We have an open ended adventure, guys! That means, though we are DYING to get to the Caribbean, we also LOVE the Bahamas! There is no need to rush. We have enough time this season to head back up and see some of the islands we’ve missed - including Cat Island, the south end of Eleuthera and the Abacos. The Abacos were too cold for us thus far, but rumor has it they are warming up nicely by March.
Our Planned Route
From here - currently the north end of Long Island, Bahamas, we are crossing north east to Cat Island. We hope to spend a few days at least exploring - as we hear from numerous people that it is their favorite island. From there we will explore the south end of Eleuthera before crossing over to Marsh Harbour, Abacos. There is a giant St. Pat’s celebration there - which happens to be the day after my birthday! Multiple boats we’ve met along the way will be there, so it should be a fun meet up! After the Abacos, we will cross the Gulfstream and again be in U.S. waters. After exploring the Keys, hopefully visiting with friends, and moving up the Gulf coast, we will hang out in southern Louisiana while visiting family. While in the U.S., we will do a few tweaks to the boat and load up on food again - and then head south!
Next fall we fully intend to be heading to Puerto Rico and beyond! It’s nice to have a plan. And we look forward to continuing our hands-on sailing education before making the big jump down south. And as with all sailing plans, these are all written in the sand a low tide…