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