Monday, March 18, 2013


Great Harbor Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas

After waiting in Miami for a seemingly long 18 days, a weather window opened to cross the fickle Gulf Stream. At long last, the northern wind began to lighten and clock east, then southeast and off we went.

For a change from the usual hop to Bimini, we set our eye on Great Harbor at the northern tip of the Berry Islands, 146 miles from Miami. We estimated it would take us just over 24 hours, so we left Miami at a luxurious 9:10, waved goodbye to our dear friends Joe and Deb on Kajon and pointed east.

And Mother Ocean smiled on us today. You just never know when you head out there, but except for a few hours of confused seas, we had smooth water in the Gulf Stream with enough south in the east wind to keep the main full. By 3, the wind was a light 5-8 knots at 150 degrees, and all the sails were flying.

Gulf Stream doesn't get much better than that!
Our goal was to make it onto the Bahama Bank by sunset. Most of the day, that seemed unlikely, but sure enough, as the sun sank low in the west, Bimini was right there on the horizon. We cleared North Rock, north of Bimini as the sun was setting, but not before we reveled in our first glimpse of gorgeous turquoise water. With more than half our crossing to go, it felt like we'd already arrived.

We sailed on into the gathering blackness that slowly unfurled a blanket of stars overhead. We huddled together in awe, watching.

Chip sailed, full sail, for his 12-3 watch, which he gallantly extended to 4, so I could sleep. The wind lightened just before 4, and we went back to motorsailing.

On my 4-7 a.m. watch, the wee crescent moon was long gone, the horizon ahead just a barely visible line differentiating the black of the sea from the dark of the sky. But it's not really a line, is it? Just my own perception of the edge of my world.

The stars, if possible, were even more brilliant. I leaned back to watch.

Off to my starboard side, something caught my eye, a star trying to get my attention. It was not the brightest nor the biggest, but it blinked the most, right along the southern horizon, the only one to send a luminous reflection across the black water straight toward me. Its faint reach of light beamed an unfathomable distance across space and atmosphere and water but dwindled out a few feet from my outstretched hand, just beyond my grasp.

Unrequited love is always the most tender.

Then something caught my attention in the water below. Did I see a flash of light? No, surely not. There, again, did I see a light?

Yes, I did. Bioluminescence bubbling up in the fast-moving water along Cara Mia's hull, not fireworks but a gentle spark there and then another over here. A flash and then gone. Two flashes and another.

I leaned back to look up at Cara Mia's sails, there in the crest of the sky, an arc of stars encircled Cara Mia's mast like a crown.

A dazzling blanket of stars above, twinkling water below, me and Cara Mia in between.

We almost resented the sun for awakening us from that dream.

But Great Harbor waited just ahead, and we entered the skinny limestone channel, tying up at 10:24, 25 hours and 17 minutes after leaving Miami.

And the Bahamian flag flies once again on Cara Mia.

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