After our amazing week on the Exumas we headed back to Nassau again. Dreading the anchoring situation where all the boats kept dragging and spinning into each other with the turn of tide, we decided to go to Rose Island just a few miles off Nassau. We met up with our dutch friend Max and celebrated Kings Day together by drinking all the orange booze within reach. When we were done with that we made our way through everything else we had left as well, leaving us with two dry boats.
We were running low on just about everything else as well, but the Bahamas are so expensive that we used the occasion to get through all our tinned provisions. We knew a couple of other boats in Nassau, waiting for their passports with US visas (just like us). We asked them to join us in the anchorage and bring a bit of milk and beer, hoping that one boat would show up and save us from having to go over to Nassau for provisioning. By the next day all three of the boats had showed up and we had a fridge full of milk and beer again!
We stayed in that anchorage on Rose Island as long as we could stretch our food and filled our days with kitesurfing (Thomas), baking bread (me), searching for coconuts and making fires on the beach at night. One day, when Thomas and Max were looking for a good kite spot, they cut across the island over an abandoned property taken over by peacocks and found a couple of pretty idyllic beaches.
Thomas had fixed all his kites with a repair kit he got for his birthday. But after a day of kitesurfing, even the repair patches were coming off! He was glad he got a bit of kiting in before everything broke again, but also a bit frustrated that we didn’t invest in new kites one year ago. That would have saved him so much time and disappointment..
Rose Island was an awesome place end to our time in the Caribbean. As everyone got the e-mail that our visas were ready and could be picked up, the boats left the anchorage one by one. We had to sail to Freeport to pick up ours.. We waited for good wind and left with a heavy heart, knowing that our time in the Bahamas had been way too short. We definitely should return and stay a whole season, there is just so much more to see!
The passage to Freeport was an exceptionally rough one. It was only about 120 miles, a 24 hour sail. We left at noon and headed out into the bumpy deep ocean after almost a month of comfortable shallow water sailing. We were pushed by a current and the wind was consistent over 20 knots, so we flew along at 9 knots. We had to reduce speed to avoid making landfall at night, so we reefed all the sails as small as we could get them, but we were still moving at 8 knots or over. The waves hit us from the side and were enormous, bigger than they had been on the Atlantic crossing. One wave broke on top of our spray hood and ripped through the zipper, releasing bucketloads of water onto Thomas, who was hiding under it. Not only onto Thomas, but also onto the e-reader and my phone… bringing our broken phone and e-reader count to 5. Remind me again why we didn’t get travel insurance?
The weather had gotten so bad and we were moving so fast that we decided to heave to for a couple of hours. We had never tried it with bad weather, so we also found it quite a good exercise (since we are still trying to improve our sailing skills). We got the mainsail down and turned the bow through the wind, giving us a wind angle of about 60 degrees. We drifted with the current, 1-2 knots, into the right direction. The movement of the boat got much more comfortable and we could actually sleep for a couple of hours. We still did 3 hour watches to keep a sharp lookout for other traffic. We arrived in Freeport the next day, and tied up to a marina (anchoring isn’t allowed in Freeport). The marinas in Freeport are also resorts, so we spent a day or two lounging in the pool and ‘waiting for better weather’. And of course we picked up our American visas! Succes!