The Search For Bright Waters

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bright Eyes is Back in America.....The End

We planned to leave Nassau asap Thursday morning but things didn't go so well.  

First we overslept till 7:45am.  Then when we went to turn on our Garmin we noticed it wouldn't stay on because our last lonely battery had gotten too low.  So we had to walk to the marine store and pay a whopping $190 for a starter battery then lug it back to the boat. ugh.  Then after installing the new battery a storm swooped in and kept us inside for a bit.  Then finally around 1pm we started pulling up the anchor only to find that the anchor chain had wrapped around another huge old anchor that had been left behind.  Our chain was covered in algae and wouldn't stay in the windlass so I had to pull up both anchors by hand without an engine, UGH!  We ended up tying off to a near by mooring ball while I pulled the old ruins anchor into the dinghy and untangled it.  

Around 2pm we were finally free. We untied from the mooring, raised the sails and left Nassau behind.

We sailed pretty slowly, about 3.5mph, all day and all night reaching the Great Bahama Banks around 5:30am.  We saw a few tankers coming through the north east channel that night but we kept our distance. We also saw a few storms brewing around us but managed to dodge them all.

We spent all Friday sailing the Great Bahama Banks.  We did a little better this day, averaging about 5 mph. We put our third crew member, the auto pilot, to work.  Great Job!

Alone at the helm on the Great Bahama Banks and surrounded by water I decided to capture the moment on video. It went really great until the end when I couldn't figure out how to stop recording and stopped paying attention to steering. (You can hear the boom slam to the other side) haha

At first we were using 8 hour shifts to get plenty of sleep but the sleep underway wasn't any good so we switched to 2 hour shifts with naps in the cockpit.  We passed North Bimini around 8:30pm Friday night and entered the Atlantic Gulf Stream as the sky went dark.

We were sailing pretty well, around 8 mph, when all of a sudden the wind died.  We were kind of floating in circles trying to harvest a little wind when all of a sudden the wind kicked into overdrive and thunder started booming.  We reduced our head sail and stayed close to the wind to keep our speed around 6 mph.  The winds went crazy for about an hour as the sky constantly lit up with lightening and thunder, but oddly/luckily no rain.

Waves scare us more than heavy wind and the waves never got too big so we managed well and soon the storm had passed.  We sailed steadily toward Ft Lauderdale through the night and arrived about 5 miles outside the harbor at 7:30 am Saturday morning.  We called tow boat and they came and scooped us up.  Of course one last squall came and rained on us while we were waiting. We then called Cooleys Landing and reserved a slip.

The friendly tow boat guys took us on a scenic tour through downtown Ft Lauderdale to our marina.

And so after sailing 198 miles over 44 straight hours we had finally arrived back in the States!

Coincidently Joey's mom Tina is in Ft. Lauderdale with the family she nannies for. Cliff, the dad, was kind enough to let us spend a day recooperating in his condo, in the AC!!! relaxing, and even took us to the resort he belongs to Lago Mar, and out to a neat brazilian steakhouse - Chimas.

We will spend the next week repairing the engine and cleaning the boat out.  It feels good to be home and bittersweet to end our adventure.

Thank you for all the support and well wishes and to anyone who enjoyed reading :)

The Fate of Bright Eyes blog to come...


Brad said...

Congrats! Glad to hear that you made it back safe, well done!

MJ said...

I've been following along here, FB and on CForum. I'm glad to see you made it, never really had any doubts you would. Sounds like good weather overall. What an adventure!
Martha on s/v Journey

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Glad to hear your passage to the States was uneventful! You made it so easy!

Mark McGuire said...

Thanks for a great blog and sharing your adventure!

The Ceol Mors said...

Congrats on completeing your first sailing adventure! You learned a lot, had fun, experienced a different pace of life- I hope you look back on this trip fondly and can't wait to hear what is next in store for you. Fair winds to you both....

hans and laura said...

I was out of town for a bit so I missed your post. Congratulations on sailing back to the US! You two are pretty gutsy!

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