Fish On!

We left Grand Bahama Yacht Club at 12:20 yesterday. As soon as we were out of the channel Kyle put his lines out and started fishing. Ten minutes later he got us two tuna. Unfortunately, he got them from the pantry and they were already canned. But this was to be a foreshadow of what was to come.
 
We traveled south east, headed towards Royal Island, just off the coast of Eleuthera Island.
 
Around 5pm Kyle got his first tuna, but the hook didn't set.
 
The sun set shortly after 7pm, and with no moon for two hours, the stars were breathtaking. Then around 9pm the blood red moon cracked the horizon. Within a minute it was fully above the horizon and the colour faded to yellow.
 
At 11:30 at night, with the bright moon climbing high, Kyle got a second tuna and this time the hook set properly. We are running Sufix Superior 80lb monofilament in hi-vis yellow on a Penn Slick Butt International V Standup 6-Foot rod with a Penn Squall 50 Level Wind Trolling Reel. Even though this was a good sized Albacore tuna, he didn't stand a chance. A short time past midnight it was all over and the 50+ cm fish was aboard.
 
During the night Kyle and I took three hours shifts at the helm.  The waves calmed down during the night and the water got so smooth it was reflecting the stars. With no land in sight it was impossible to tell where the ocean end and the sky began.
 
At 5:58am, with dawn approaching, we got another bite, and this one was a huge one. I was at the helm when the rod twitched, then took off like a shot. I hollered "Fish on" and Kyle came running as I set the hook and increased tension on the reel to slow this powerhouse. For 30 minutes Kyle fought this monster, and with the sky now bright in the pre-dawn light we saw it come to the surface. It skimmed just under the surface spraying water and making a large wake, then dove. This was repeated several times before it came to the surface and rolled multiple times. Unfortunately the rolling managed to dislodge the hook and it was gone. It was likely a Wahoo, but what ever it was it was big enough and strong enough to slow our 5,000 kg boat, despite running both 30hp engines.
 
By 10am we had arrived at the magnificent Royal Island Harbour and dropped anchor. First job was to get Cedar to shore as we had been running for 22 hours now.
 

Weather's good, Bye-bye Freeport.

We were expecting to depart Port Lucaya and the Freeport area of Grand Bahama Island on Monday. But the weather is so good today that we are leaving early.

We have had an absolutely fabulous time here, meeting so many wonderful people, and seeing so many gorgeous sites. We've had visits from family and friends, and have made so many new friends here. But now it's time to go. Time for new sites to explore, and new people to befriend.

With a 120 nautical mile voyage, we are expecting a 21 hour sail from here to Eleuthera and will arrive some time on Monday.

We will try and take lots of pictures along the way.

 

Feeding the Sharks (with video)

Kyle went on a shark feeding dive where there were tons of sharks. He took some time to pet a shark, and even kissed one. You really should watch the video, it's amazing.

January Family Visit (with video) by Jenn

Our trip to the Bahamas started with waking up our 4 month old at 2 am to head to the airport.  Waking her up was a task with mixed feelings as she had spent the week sleeping 12 hour nights. Yet, turning on her night light and whispering her name yielded a smile so wide that it was totally worth any screaming that may have followed. But, being an amazing baby from the start, and this night proved no exceptions, she did not cry all day! Between the noise, bright lights and security, she didn't get much sleep until we were on the plane at 6 am. This is where she promptly fell asleep for most of the flight. We watched the sun came up over the horizon and the ocean sparkled as we flew smoothly onto Grand Bahama Island. Greeted warmly by mom and dad, we learned the news that the stroller we had been anticipating upon our arrival had lost a wheel! Now, a 14 pound baby is not all that heavy, but factor in that we'd been carrying her since 3 am (it was now 10 am) and add in the checked luggage, carry on and diaper bags, we definitely had our hands full and 14 pounds was really starting to feel like 50 pounds! Our trusty snuggly carrier was a life saver to our arms at this point and allowed little Annabelle to get some more sleep in as we checked into our resort and got ourselves oriented. Oh, and of course we totally hit the buffet first, even before the beach!

 
The next day was cold....and rainy! But we still enjoyed the town market and some Greek food with mom, dad, Kyle and Becky. We had the chance to finally tour Quest, and were introduced to the lifestyle of sailing! Too cool! We also learned of the "return of the stroller wheel" as dad retold the story of chasing it down from the taxi it had been lost in! So we returned to the resort that evening with a stroller!  
 
The weather was warm and breezy in the following days, hitting highs of 22-24°C. Normally, this would not be my definition of a vacation (I like it hot), but it was the most comfortable temperature for Annabelle and we took advantage of it by enjoying the resort activities - zumba, stand up paddle boarding, archery, beach volleyball, trapeze, and more! We grabbed a resort bicycle and took turns riding and running with the stroller for the 4 km to the Garden of the Groves, where we received an unexpected discount on our entry for riding the bike instead of taking a motorized vehicle! 
 
Wednesday brought warmer temperatures (27) and was sailing day! We took a taxi from our resort to Grand Bahama Yacht Club and boarded Sail Quest.  Within minutes, the engines were humming and the marina was sinking into the distance as we headed out to the ocean! Cruising smoothly over small white caps, we watched as the depth of the ocean grew larger, yet the sand beneath never seemed to disappear.  Finding a wonderfully clear reef, we inflated the lounge raft, fired up the BBQ and had ourselves a wonderful afternoon.  We snorkled in waters 3 meters deep, that could have passed for 1 meter by the clarity of the water.  The water was absolutely fantastic for swimming and we were joined by a variety of fish playing within the coral below!
 
The remainder of the week just flew by as the temperatures raised and we explored the island and ocean!  Thursday involved scuba diving in shark-infested water (Jenn couldn't equalize and stayed behind on Quest instead).  It's probably a good thing Jenn couldn't equalize - she never would have stepped into the water once she'd seen the sharks anyways! Denis had a fantastic time in the ocean and was able to see all sorts of fish and coral.  A shark even rubbed against him as he followed the rope down into the depths at 40 feet!
 
Friday was spent on the east end of the island exploring the Lucayan National Park, the underwater caves, and the beach where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed!  The sand bar went on for ever, despite being there at high tide.  The water was so refreshing after hiking the park.  Denis and Kyle carried Ms. Princess Annabelle in her stroller through the park trails as they were not so stroller-friendly, and we were worried about losing the wheel again! She seemed to love the view because she never once complained - until her toes were splashed in the ocean!
 
This was our first time in the Bahamas and we were not disappointed.  Despite the island having taken a beating during Hurricane Matthew, the locals were happy and joyous and (much of) the island was already cleaned up - with our resort looking miraculous and showing nearly no signs of a hurricane at all!  Hearing the devastating stories from the locals of the damage the island endured and how they all banded together to clean it up was heartening.  It was seeing and hearing this that reminded us of the resilience of which people are capable.  It reminded us that the most important things in life are the people around us and that nature, in all its beauty, glory and fury, can bring people together in miraculous ways!
 

We look forward to our next Southern Adventure!