Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bahamas 60th Birthday Bash


...We did it, WE DEPARTED...two days early...
Jeff and Sharon, IP35 Lucille owners, took time off to join Team Island Spirit to celebrate Jeff and Hayden's big 60th birthdays! Ten years ago, we had chartered a catamaran in the BVI's with their son and daughter. It was time to go adventuring again! They met us in Miami and we pushed hard across the Gulf Stream to Bimini, Bahamas. After waiting out 30-35 knot winds there, we sailed 130 nm to the SE corner of New Providence where we docked at Palm Cay Marina. This sailing leg from Bimini onto the Great Bahama Banks, then through the North West Channel at 0200 into the Tongue of the Ocean and then to New Providence will be remembered as one of our greatest sailing legs in 25+ years!!

Champagne Celebration
Here are a few details. We sailed 120 nm and motored about 10 nm. Winds were 20 knots with some gusts to 28 knots. We sailed all night long with couples taking shifts at 1500, 1800, 2100, 2400, 0300, 0600, 0900, 1200, 1500. It took us 26 hours to sail the leg, which treated us to a calm sea, bright stars, and a beautiful sunrise. This was Sharon's first overnight leg and her first offshore leg, too. She did great and I think she really liked it. Island Spirit sailed great under reefed main and a full 135% jib with autopilot driven by the wind vane which kept a perfect sailing angle all night and all day long. The wind turbine powered the electronics all night long, too. Shortly after day break, we needed to add 1500 rpms on the engine to push the 3 foot chop as the winds dropped to 10 knots but the waves kept running. It is funny, at home on the Chesapeake Bay, 10-12 knots is a great sailing day, but out on the ocean, 10-12 knots is just NOT enough to keep the boat moving and pushing at 3 knots into the swells. What you really want on the ocean is 15-20-25 and that is perfect. That is what we had for 120 nm, nearly perfect conditions which Island Spirit sailed very well.

Bimini Sands, South Bimini Dock, 6 days!
This trip was different than most because we ended up in marinas to safely wait out weather. We docked in South Bimini at Bimini Sands Marina with floating docks, which was a joy with the high winds and 3-4 foot tides. We were docked there 6 days. Then we sailed directly to New Providence, sadly skipping the Berry Islands. We took a slip at Palm Cay Marina on the SE corner of the island. There we needed to stay 6 days, too. We celebrated Valentine's Day, toured Nassau and said good-bye to our crew. We turned around the yacht and waited for our next weather window to sail southeast to the Exumas.

Highlights of our time together:
1. Sailing 120 nm overnight and introducing Sharon to offshore overnight sailing
2. Jeff and Sharon provisioned the fine red wines, two cases of deliciousness from Total Wine in SOBE.
3. Radeen's amazing meals of Lamb Shanks, Artichoke Chicken, Pot Roast, Chili on the Bahama Banks and many more!
4. Super Bowl 50 at Bimini Sands Beach Bar with conch fritters and Sands Beer.
5. The tour of the facinating Shark Lab on South Bimini.
6. "Captain Ron" Movie Night & trivia questions, "If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there!"
7. Golf Cart Adventures and being "Pushed" home by friendly, helpful locals.
8. Having great friends onboard and sharing these adventures together!

Photos of our 13 days together

At 1152 on departure day, we said "Forget it, let;s turn around"...NO, we cannot easily go back!

Gulf Stream bashing, 30 degree wind angle, 2500 rpms on the engine.

Staysail and a reefed main with 2500 rpms to keep moving.

This shows the result of sailing wind vane at 30 degrees and the effect of the Gulf Stream
Note: At the end, we came out of the Stream and the boat turned, still 30 degrees to the wind

Happy arrival photo. Welcome to the Bahamas!

 Delighted to clear in to Bimini, Bahamas, 2016

Jeff and Radeen hoist the Courtesy Flag

Touring the Bimini Sands property with an inifinity pool on the beach

Our first big decision, Kalik or Sands? Both are delicious Bahamian Beers.

We were safe in the marina on floating docks. Look out the inlet. It is calm for now.

We took the ferry to explore North Bimini

Selfie as we walk to the inlet in the AM.

Curly Tail lizards posing everywhere

Radeen loves a pool. That is her (alone) in the 60 degree water! Brrrrrr

A beautiful sky that day at the pool. Another cold front is coming.

Fine red wine with Artichoke Chicken Dinner

We knew the inlet would be too rough, so we waited.

Winds blew at 35 to 42 knots for days.

Huge waves shut down the inlet. This is our exit to sea. This is a "no go."

So, we set out to explore Bimini.

The GrLs walking Alice Town on North Bimini.
The next day we rented a golf cart which lost power on the way back.

Jeff and Sharon enjoying the new modern casino bar at Bahama Bay Resort.

Onboard Island Spirit we have a 32" Samsung.
Perfect for Movie Night with CAPTAIN RON and
trivia questions from IP420 Amekaya.

Yup, the inlet is still not passable, Oh well, we will wait.

PARTY TIME with IP 420 Pura Vida at the Petite Conch Cafe. J-M and Kimberly are so much fun.

Roasted LAMB shanks for Hayden and Jeff's Birthday Dinner Celebration
Great Job, Radeen! Thank you, COSTCO!

Happy 60th Birthday to Hayden and Jeff, with fine Italian DOCG Amarone Red Wine.

Team Shirts thanks to Sharon who designed them for us.
"Sea, Sun, Sail, Celebrate Sixty"
We are ready to head to sea on Hayden's birthday, after a serenade from IP 420 Pura Vida.

Taking the helm offshore

Jeff trims the jib. Fantastic blue water as we head out below South Bimini.

Perfect sailing conditions. We sailed 120 nm like this! A passage worth waiting for!

Sunset on the Great Bahama Banks as we sail EAST.

This is your view of the helm at night. Let the boat run and watch as best you can.
AIS helped us avoid a close encounter with a ship at narrow Northwest Passage at 0200. Island Spirit will take care of you.

Heading EAST. The lights are red to maintain our night vision.

Sunrise, what a spectacular event.

One more sunrise photo on a beautiful day.

Approaching New Providence, we sailed well south of the coral heads and then turned northeast.
 
WE DID IT, we arrived in New Providence.after 26 hours of sailing!

Popping the champagne to celebrate our successful passage.

Team Island Spirit and Whiteaker Yacht Sales up and running. The office is open.

The Palm Cay courtesy car we can use for 2 hours each day.

Happy Tourists! The Queen's Staircase, carved by 600 slaves, leads to
Fort Fincastle, the highest point of land in Nassau.

Bahamian Night and JAZZ Night at the Palm Cay Club, Jeff Gabor takes the drums and amazes the crowds.
Truly one of the highlights of our entire trip!

Walking downtown Nassau. Traffic police are everywhere.

Cruise ships and horse drawn buggies

Valentines Day aboard Island Spirit

Happy Valentines Day

Departure time, the Gabors are heading home. It certainly was a
memorable way to celebrate Jeff and Hayden's special birthdays!

Jeff and Sharon say Good Bye. Thank you for making the effort to cruise with us!

Team Shirts, but, we sailed right past the Berry Islands...missed them all, due to the winter weather.

What a fun time and a busy time, preparing to leave the US 2 days early, docking, waiting weather, and being rewarded with one of the best sails in 25 years! Sharing this all with lifetime friends? Priceless!

4 comments:

David Hornbach said...

Having turned 60 a few months ago, I wish all of you many more wonderful years of sailing and living life to its fullest. Happy birtdays from Dave and Barbara

Lesa Dailey said...

Happy Birthday Hayden, Yacht Broker Extraordinaire! Wishing you and Radeen a year of good health, happiness, and many blessings! - Lesa Dailey, IP35 Panacea (Thanks to you and Radeen!)

G Kerlin said...

Happy Birthday Old Man!

When you are over the hill you pick up speed. Keep on Trucking!

And Happy Valentines Day too you lovebirds.

Ps The Lamb looks delicious!

Dixey Behnken said...

Happy Birthday, Hayden!
I remember the great CHERRY PIE, that Radeen made for Julie's Birthdy, at Norman Cay, on 14 March, in 2014, after we arrived at the Exumas with you and Bob and Nina! HOPE YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY! You are tops! Dixey and Julie