Bye Bye Bahamas – Sailing To Florida
Ragged Island was the end of the Bahamas for us. With a little less than one month to make our way back to Florida, and a mountain of sailing prep ahead, we knew going further south wasn’t an option.
Turning the boat north is not only a switch in our sailing direction, but it’s also a major mental switch. Play time is over. We’ve had our fun sailing about the Bahamas and getting comfortable with the cruising lifestyle but our next big voyage is closing in.
Soon, hurricane season will be nipping at our heels. If we want to make our goal of sailing the South Pacific in 2018 we have a lot of work to do. There’s heaps of research ahead of us to ensure Curiosity, our furry felines and the human crew are prepared for extended international travel. There are customs regulations to meet, visas to obtain, vaccination and health certificates to complete, parts and provisions to stock, additional safety gear to install, routes to plan and the list goes on and on. We can’t dwell too much on it, otherwise this mountain of prep will seem impossible to climb.
With what’s left of our time in the Bahamas we decided to enjoy our sailing days and spend our anchored days working and preparing for the adventures ahead. So, here are the 24 days, along with 480 nautical miles of sailing, summed up in 24 minutes.
And just like that we are right back where we started, in Florida at Just Catamarans preparing for another adventure. It’s been a wild ride and the past year has flown by in what feels like mere days. So, to say that our last few weeks sailing back to Florida went by in the blink of an eye isn’t an overstatement.
The Swimming Pigs Take Two
Round two of the swimming pigs was an interesting stop. If you missed the pig drama the first time around, you can check it out here: gonewiththewynns.com/silly-sailors-swimming-pigs-scandal-exuma
There was a new shade structure, signs posted, some new pigs and all the pigs had numbered ear tags. It has always been a major tourism draw and we’re thinking there will soon be a barrier of sorts that will only allow the tour operators to come ashore.
We brought the dinghy over early in the morning and we were the first visitors to Pig Beach. To our surprise a couple of younger pigs began swimming out towards us! That’s the first time we had experienced the ‘swimming’ part of the famous Bahamas Swimming Pigs of the Exumas.
We have mixed feelings about the pigs and after our first visit we did a little searching about animal tourism. We found this very informational website that helps us know which types of animal attractions are okay to visit and those that are not: https://www.worldanimalprotection.org.uk/protect-animals/our-guide-to-animal-friendly-travel
Allan Cay, AKA Iguana Island
I expected to see a handful of iguanas, but WOW, it seems like the entire island is full of these giant lizards! The Northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas are endangered and only found on a few islands throughout the Bahamas. The Allen Cay Rock Iguana is protected by law and Wikipedia says there’s about 1000 of these guys left in the world. They must be aware of their importance and fame because they are more than happy to pose for the camera.
Leaving the Bahamas for Good
It’s bittersweet heading back to the USA. On one hand we’re excited about our future travels yet on the other hand it seems like our time here flew by. We’ve learned so much sailing these past 6 months and it’s been the perfect place to get our proverbial feet wet. We were accepted into multiple cruising communities, hung out with loads of locals, learned to freedive, speared our first fish and we loved every minute of it. And how perfect was that dolphin escort sailing into Andros?!? Some people may tire of the Bahamas, claiming it’s all the same, but this string of 700 islands will definitely hold a solid place in our hearts.
Checking Into The USA by Sailboat
For us the check-in was easy as pie. We arrived at the Just Catamarans dock, raised the Q flag, called US Customs Pleasure Boat Reporting 1 (800) 432-1216, drove to Port Everglades office and we were legal in less than one hour. For people boating in and out of the USA often there’s a program called Small Vessel Reporting System SVRS that saves the step of driving into a physical customs office, but that doesn’t really work for us since we’re planning to leave for good in June.
To see our full map with interactive pins, click here: gonewiththewynns.com/map
Dates: April10 – May 4, 2017
Nautical Miles Sailed: 480 from Ragged Cay to Ft. Lauderdale
Anchorages: We used our Garmin Blue Charts with the Active Captain overlay to pick our anchorages. They are clearly marked with reviews and additional information.
Cell & WiFi: Our cell phone signal/data only worked in well at the more populated islands. With our booster on we were able to increase the strength of our signal in between and at the smaller islands.
Gear Used In This Video
- Navigation – iPad Pro using Garmin Bluecharts App (and Active Captain): http://amzn.to/2d9Oopf
- Portable Floating VHF w/GPS: http://amzn.to/2hwEoK7
- Dinghy: gonewiththewynns.com/dinghy-swap-ab-highfield
- Mantus Lights to Light Up The Boat, very important in remote anchorages so late night boaters don’t run into us: gonewiththewynns.com/product/lights-torches
- Mantus Anchor: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/product/mantus-anchor
- Insulated bags and packs for provisioning: gonewiththewynns.com/product/thermal-totes-cooler-packs
- Iridium Go and Predict Wind App for weather and communications: bit.ly/PredictWindIridium
Cameras Used to Capture This Video
- Sony A7ii: http://bit.ly/a7rii-sony
- Sony Zoom Mic: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/product/sony-gun-zoom-microphone-black
- Sony 24 – 70mm f4 lens: http://bit.ly/2470-zeiss
- Sony RX (little camera): gonewiththewynns.com/product/sony-dsc-rx100m-iii-cyber-shot-digital-still-camera
- All of our up to date photo and editing gear: gonewiththewynns.com/best-travel-camera-video-photography
We love your video’s and all the info you provide. We just started watching with the sailing but have we gone back and watchedthe rving also. We would love to come crew but we have another year of work. So maybe next year. In the meantime we will be sailing on a lake in Indiana and enjoying your adventures. Thank you for what you do.
Gina and Jeff Davis
Your videos make us very happy to watch. You guys are adorable.
That video was filled full of fun stuff! The little pigs were so cute! Much friendlier this time! The iguanas wow! The Dolphins pretty awesome! That that’s a pretty packed full video! So much fun wish I was on board!
Wow! Pigs, and Lizards, and Dolphins! Oh my! And your spinnaker sail really steals the show (when you can use it)… also, ICE CREAM! Nikki, I, too, Captain my lovely little 16 foot Four Winns boat around, but you kick so much ass maneuvering your very large and beautiful sailboat through traffic. And Jason, I love how you are cheering her on all the time!
Such a fun ride! Loved all the sights…and this one seemed to reflect the bounty of animals! Your squeals of delight for the dolphins reminded me of the kids on Christmas morning!! So fun to see such a large pod seemingly playing “Catch me” with Curiosity! Even the cats were in more frames this video! (belly rubs and catnip for both of you!) The anxiety, as you headed into Florida, reflected my feelings of going into Finals Week at college. You know you prepared, perhaps you could have hammered down a few more details, but “it is what it is”…remembering that others have faired the same torturous event and are still among the living! You are young, adventurous, and flexible…so this will only add to the part of your life where you gain wisdom, memories, and a sense of relief when it’s over!! The part where you can say one word…look at each other and smile…both knowing what the other is thinking. Another chapter in your book of “Remember Wynn…”
Thank you so much for taking us all along for your maiden chapter of your sailing adventures. So ridiculously excited for you, the refits and the upcoming segment.
Thank you for always being a source of inspiration, support and an all around fantastic friend! Can’t wait to go on a salty adventure together one day!
What a great adventure! You looked exhausted in the last seconds of the video… but also very pleased and satisfied. It must have been a great feeling. I envy you so much. Maybe one day… Just a question: I like to follow ocean regattas like the “Vendee Globe”. The sailors seemed to be particularly concerned by the UFOs (Unidentified floating objects). Did you see any of these? Any that could have damaged your boat?
I’m a retired Pilot from the Port of Palm beach and have been following you for a couple of years now. Knowing you are headed for a canal transit in the future I contacted a fellow pilot in Panama. He has provided some details of what to expect and people to contact. Knowing your depth of planning this may be nothing new but if you are interested in his thoughts I will pass them along. Is there some way to send you a private message with this info as I would rather not post it. All the best, George
You can sent it to
info “at” gonewiththewynns “dot” com.
Two questions: when you are out in the seas overnight, do you share shifts? Is there always one of you that has to wear the Captain hat? Also, have you decided on your new crew yet? If you have, will you miss your privacy? Totally addicted to your videos, they take me away in a good way. You two are awesome, really really 🙂
P.S. I think you have a cookbook in the making!
Just saw my question about overnights was previously answered :-0
We’re looking forward to your next adventure. We love the Caribbean and look forward to your sailing adventures to the south and beyond.Thanks for the ride around the Bahamas.
Ellen M Darby
Hi Guys! Enjoy all your videos but the dolphins, OMG!!!! It was beyond thrilling–cannot imagine how it must have been for you to experience it LIVE!!!
Hello Nikki and Jason,
My husband and I are so enjoying your adventures! We are recently retired, contemplating an RV for national park tours and own an Irwin 35 currently in dry dock getting a makeover. My husband’s goal is to sail through the Panama Canal. We are looking forward to your next trip. Best of luck to you on the next leg and we will be with you all along the way!
Very exciting adventures ahead for you! We will try to document the Panama Canal really well just for you…or you could meet up and raft up. 🙂
Nikki is now, officially, a Dolphin Mom.
We enjoy all of your video’s. Thanks for letting us be a part of your adventure.
Thanks for the ride.
Mary D. Vance
I was so excited to see the swimming pigs, they were just adorable to me!! The dolphins are my favorite, I was raised in Miami, spent tons of time in the keys and lived in Virginia for 24+ years and seeing dolphins are over are my most exciting thing to see too!’ I get very giddy when I see them it’s like a gift to see them! Thanks for all your videos, my husband and I have been wanting to live and travel by boat for years and now we think it will happen sooner rather than later, seeing your videos makes it seem achievable!!
Welcome Home!! 🙂 We are all looking forward to the South Pacific adventure next!!
Always look forward to seeing the video arrive and we both watch it. Thanks for including us. As with hot-air ballooning, the wind controls your life.
I love you two! You are my virtual traveling companions. I still have my head rapped around the RVing as im probably too chicken to do the sailing. But I loved ever moment and I am sooo glad that you are living the dream!!
RVing is the land yacht and equally as exciting! So many places to go, things to see and adventures to have.
Another great video. It’s such an ahhhhh factor seeing the animals. Loved the swimming pigs, but the dolphins were magnificent. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us. I never get tired of watching you two and your sailing adventures on the high seas. Be safe
Like Connie…diggin’ on all the animal shots…??? the dolphin being my fave!! Other than Singa, of course! ?? Also love seeing the different sailing challenges & adventures. On to some new ones soon!!! ?⛵️?
You are one of 3 boats we have been watching and you are the only one to share info on sailing. I’m 66 and plan to sail again and around the world with my wife in 4 years. Oldest man to sail around the world alone was 89.
Looking forward to 2018
Way cool! Age is nothing but a number and normal is a setting on a washing machine. I hope we see you out on the ocean blue!
We have followed you for quite some time with the RV and now this new adventure. You are my dream in a younger self. This January we will be renting a Catamaran in the BVI’s for a week got for the second time. We don’t have the nerve to do what you have done but you are thirty years younger than us…at least we can hire a captain and a cook to provide to us the wonderful opportunities that you are tackling. I admire your courage and love reading where you are heading to next. Stay safe, Be Happy and thanks for sharing
Be sure and let in all know when you go through the Panama Canal, as we can access live feed cameras to watch you sail through.
Howard can you help me out with a good link? fantastic idea!!
Hey guys. Welcome back to the states! Woohoo!!! Really interested in knowing… what do you do in 6,000 feet of water overnight? Is someone always at the helm if not anchored? Also, what’s the fishing tackle plan? (PS – buy a really good hook sharpener)
Hey Gerald! If we are in 6,000 feet of water we keep sailing with someone at the helm. If we are underway, someone is always on watch. As for the fishing tackle, we have some fishing friends who will help advise us on what to get…and a good sharpener is on the list!
Awesome really enjoyed that. He dolphins were just brilliant xx
Hi Nikki and Jason, I am a big fan and have followed you since you were traveling in the RV. I would like to let you know of some tips for your south pacific trip. I would appreciate it very much if you contact me on my email to share them with you. Hope to be of some help to you.
We are all about the tips!
I, too, dance when I walk into a Publix. 🙂
Loved seeing your journey back. Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to see where your next adventure takes you.
Some great adventures you left behind and more ahead. Hope the work is going good and you’re getting some enjoyable docking time. Can’t wait until your next adventure.
Loved all of your Bahamas adventures. Now I’m excited for the next adventure. I hope you are enjoying your dock stay with lots of beer and ice cream. Your vegetarian tacos looked great. I have 2 questions 1. How were the lentils prepared 2. What type of food chopper did you use for the mushrooms ( its cute and compact)?
Be safe and have fun
Super video (as always) ! You two are my Sunday fix. Looking forward to your next big adventure and hope to see you in Costa Rica. Nikki, I would love to get more of your recipes, a book maybe ?
That was great! Glad the pigs are ok, well you know. Dolphins, oh yeah!!!! Iguanas so many ….love love love…..hope everything has been going ok with the Catamaran work….see ya next week…..Big love as always❤???