The wind was on the nose and waves battered the boat as we made our 28 hour passage from Miami to Nassau, motoring all the way. It was an uncomfortable trip, made worse once we discovered that our main sail, which we’d raised in an attempt to stabilize us, was torn. Brian and I couldn’t sleep, so we were not at our best as we hailed the harbor master on VHF at noon on New Year’s Day to announce our arrival. We were uncharacteristically disorganized, not realizing that in Nassau customs authorities prefer that boats check into a marina to be cleared in. Too blurry to deal with making arrangements without cell service, we opted to stay aboard in the harbor for the night.
The next day, refreshed by sleep, we checked into a marina. Armed with a long to-do list, we wasted no time filling out a dossier of forms for the Bahamian officials, who showed up an hour or so later to clear us in. Once we’d swapped our yellow quarantine flag for a Bahamian one, (signifying that we’d passed through customs) we switched into errand mode. Wary of “island time” – an overly laid back attitude that rubs up against the sense of urgency embraced by us New York types – we stealthily accomplished the following: took the head and main sails down for repair, negotiated and delivered a brand new outboard motor, purchased Bahamian SIM card for my cell phone, tracked down a guy who may be able to fix the broken winch gear (unfortunately he won’t be back at work until Monday), caught a ride with some other cruisers to refill our propane tanks, topped off the water tanks, gave the exterior of the boat a good scrubbing (hadn’t had one since Deltaville, VA), and spent several hours driving around in the dinghy, giving the new outboard engine a proper break in.
We spent our second day in the laundry room, doing four loads of clothes and linens and setting up shop to wrestle the sails through the sewing machine. Our marina neighbors found this to be quite the spectacle, but were good sports about stepping over our mess as they went about doing their washing.
With the sails repaired and back on the boat, we’re almost ready to move on. We’re hopeful that the machine shop guy will be able to help us with our winch problem, the only problem keeping us here in Nassau at the moment. We’re ready to move on south to smaller and less populated areas, to experience the adventure and splendor that every other cruiser can’t stop taking about.