Bimini to Boatyard

Bimini
Way back in time, almost exactly three weeks ago, we were in this lovely spot in The Bahamas:

On North Bimini (the island in the pic above), the marina we were in had crystal clear water and interesting visitors. In addition to the sharks you learned about in the last post, there were some large spotted eagle rays. These huge rays--with 5-6'/1.5-1.8m wingspan--would sometimes jump completely out of the water! We had not seen that before and were absolutely astonished at the feat. I wish we had video of them jumping. At least in this still shot, if you zoom in, you can see how beautiful this (smaller) spotted eagle ray is:

A couple of days before we left Bimini, we went searching for Bonefish. Bonefish are gorgeous, elusive fish, disappearing in the water as they swim. They often hang on the flats around Bimini—areas we had not yet really explored. Ebbie, a local guide, took us out in his boat. He’s been fishing in Bimini for 50 years. We ended up going all the way around and in and out of North and South Bimini islands. It was a lovely morning filled with Ebbie sharing knowledge about the habits of Bonefish (and sometimes singing!)... along with beautiful views, crystal clear water, fishing, sharks, and a squadron of manta rays. 

Bonefish are named for the many bones they have in their bodies. They are so strong! They are hard to reel in safely. We caught a couple of other types of fish (jacks), that Ebbie took back to local families to eat. And we caught a few Bonefish. Two times we didn’t reel the Bonefish in fast enough to release: Sadly, they got eaten by a shark on their way in: line, hook, Bonefish--all. :( But here is one that was released to strongly swim again:


Our last evening in Bimini, we anchored out just south of radio beach, and enjoyed--for the first time--the joy of jumping off the back of our boat for a swim. The water was so clear that we could see our anchor ~20 feet below! 

Bimini to Boatyard
We finally found a weather window suitable for crossing and motored over from Bimini towards Fort Lauderdale. We motored because there wasn’t going to be wind in a friendly direction with safe and suitable seastate for another week or two. The seas were much bigger than I’d ideally like in terms of wave height (with some around 10ft), but the period (the time between the crests of the waves) was long. So we had big slow waves to ride. It was beautiful and eerie. You can (sort of) see the height and motion in the video on IG or FB if you somehow came to this blog directly.



Thanks so much for all your input on sea sickness drugs. I decided not to try the patches after a couple of you PMed me about experiencing psychotic side effects (included on the warning label). I didn’t want to risk Ryan having to deal with possible negative effects like that when it’s just the two of us, so next up is likely Zofran. In the meantime, Bonine works ok, especially if we're just motoring like this trip.

After getting to the Fort Lauderdale inlet (aka "Port Everglades"), we came pretty far inland, a few nautical miles along the narrow New River. We went through five draw bridges! It was interesting. Fortunately we had a big power yacht--being towed by two boats: a boat in front and a boat behind--through the river just in front of us, showing us how it was done.  We didn't take any pictures of this part because we were paying an awful lot of attention to radioing the bridges, waiting, avoiding other boats, and navigating through the bridges with the other boat traffic.

Boatyard
For the past three weeks-ish we’ve been in a boat yard with the goal of getting expert diagnostic assistance and a couple of things repaired (a hatch seal had a manufacturer defect) and replaced (the couple systems we didn’t want to pay to have shipped to The Bahamas). 

It's been interesting, if loud, in the boat yard: It’s a working yard. There are boats being re-wired, fiberglassed, completely revamped, hauled in and out of the water, you name it. It’s also just been been weird and tiring. The company we’ve worked with didn’t do a great job setting timing or assistance expectations: “We can pretty much help you as soon as you get here” somehow meant “we can hopefully get someone help you a bit a week or two after you arrive" and also "we'll keep you guessing and waiting on your boat in terms of timing”. But here we are. Hopefully the last thing to be installed will be done this next week. Fingers crossed. Friday we finally moved to a quieter part of the facility, more like a normal marina. Whew. The cell service isn’t great either side, but the wifi works occasionally on this quieter side.



The nice thing about this spot is that there there are cute neighborhoods to walk through nearby, and the beaches are a short drive.

Florida Fun
Of course we’re finding some fun wherever we are.. I made a quick trip up to retrieve our car, taking some much needed time to myself. Even lovely, spacious boats like SV Banksy can feel confining sometimes! Thank you again, Jordan, for taking care of our car. It was so lovely to have dinner with you and Brian, and try a new tapas place! :) I also got to stop in for quick hugs with my Uncle Doug and Aunt Bonnie on the drive back down, too. So got a wee bit of social time with amazing family to fill my heart. Yay!

The water colors and white sand in Bimini were so striking, and the white sand beaches around Lucaya were just gorgeous to walk on for miles. In both places you could swim in crystal clear waters, see all around while you swim. It’s oddly difficult to come back to (East Coast) Florida beaches and appreciate them appropriately after being in Lucaya and Bimini...but they’re still nice. And we’re still solidly in flip flop weather.

We were lucky to have Ronica visit us for a week last week. She was unlucky that her timing had us in the boatyard. We were all hoping for her to visit while we were in The Bahamas, but that bit about “I can’t tell you when I’ll be where” with a boat—well, we all FEEL it.  So/and/but we explored some graffiti in Miami, Fort Lauderdale area beaches, spent an afternoon body boarding, and took a trip over to the Everglades. We got to see manatee noses, lots of different types of birds, hurricane damaged (and recovering!) mangroves. At one point we also managed to get a little too close to an alligator.


This past weekend, Ryan and I also got to visit Heidi and Kurt! We got to be the first guests on their styley new boat, and play with their super cute Dalmatians. <3


What’s next
Ryan and I hope to leave the Fort Lauderdale marina in a week or two. We’re not quite sure where we will be after that, whether we will head back over to The Bahamas, or maybe back up the coast. 

It’s been an interesting experience living on a boat since last October. It’s been a good adventure and worthy experiment, wonderfully different and immersive. It's definitely not my cup of tea for longer term living/travel. It’s a lot of work taking care of a boat! It's a real job with lots of fixing and cleaning, lots of weather and location and food and boat systems logistics. 

On top of all that, sailing is also--oddly?--a more sedentary lifestyle than we are used to. Note that if you’re thinking about sailing full time, lots of people find live aboard sailing much more active than they expect. Because Ryan and I were so active normally, it’s actually been a significant decrease. 

I think it's much more fun to help amazing humans come together more happily and effectively. To help amazing teams practice new behaviors that change their leadership, their companies, their communities... and even the world.  

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