The trip from the Bahamas to Puerto Rico has always been the part we have feared the most. There are long legs we have to travel in the open Atlantic Ocean, and comfort and safety are very weather dependent. The first section of this trip is making the crossing from the Bahamas to the Turks and Caicos.
Little Harbor, Long Island, Bahamas. We were all alone in this calm and lovely anchorage.Sunset in Atlklins IslandOur last Bahamas sunset at Mayaguana Island.
We left Georgetown on April 13, which also happened to be John’s birthday. We made very good time motoring to Long Island and were happy to be anchored in what should have been a nice anchorage. Unfortunately, although the scenery was gorgeous, there was a huge swell and we rolled all afternoon and all night long. It was really uncomfortable and I couldn’t wait to leave early the next morning. From there, we traveled to Little Harbor, which was on the opposite end of Long Island. We were the only boat in the anchorage, it was wonderfully calm, and we truly enjoyed a night of relaxation. The next two stops were Atklins Island and Mayaguana Island, where we spent the last of our time in the Bahamas. Finally, on Sunday, April 17, we made a beautifully calm and peaceful crossing to the Turks and Caicos and arrived at South Side Marina in Providencials, often known as Provo.
Our first view of the Turks and CaicosThe view from Bob’s Bar.
South Side Marina has been a wonderful place to stay. Bob, the owner, is very accommodating and helpful. He called Customs and Immigration officials for us and for the other new arrivals, and we were easily checked in without ever having to leave the marina. Bob is always around the property as he lives here in a house up on a hill with a perfect view of the water, his harbor, and the grounds. The gathering place is Bob’s Bar, which is attached to his home. Every night, boaters climb the stairs to the bar to socialize and hear of trip plans of the other cruisers. Everyone has advice to offer and everyone has experiences to share.
The right hand wheel.
Originally, we planned on spending two nights at South Side Marina. We rented a car on Monday and drove around one side of Provo. Driving here is a challenge; because it is a British Colony the standard is left side driving. The car we rented had a right side steering wheel and it was so strange to me to be sitting on the left side and so near the left curb as John drove. We planned on touring more of the island on Tuesday, but for a while it seemed that we needed to hurry a little to leave due to weather conditions. John returned the car, I took care of checking out with Immigration and Customs, and we were ready to go when Craig from our neighboring boat came to offer us new weather updates. As always, everything depends on the weather, and we found that leaving was not going to be a good idea after all. Our departure was delayed was therefore delayed four days until tomorrow, Saturday, April 23. Such is the cruising life.
While we are safe, secure, and happy at the marina, we didn’t get to see very much of the Turks and Caicos this trip. We did get one day on a beach when a family a few boats away invited us to join them and their dog. This was a huge day for Kirby! He is a terrible runner, and so is never allowed off leash except at a dog park, but this beach had a natural barrier in that it was encompassed with rock sides that were about 10 feet high. The sand was soft and fine, perfect for doggy digging, the water was shallow, perfect for playing in the waves, and there was really no way for a crazy terrier to get too far away from us. The fact that there was another dog for him to play with only made the situation better.
We are ready now to leave tomorrow and I will be making my first overnight crossing (John and Jeff did an overnight in New Jersey, but I was not aboard). Our next destination is Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and we will travel with our neighbor here, Craig, who is single handing his sailboat. It seems that we have a very good weather window for the next several days, and we will travel as much as we can over this time. The very big deal coming up is the Mona Passage, which is in the path from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, and we want to do it when the weather is the most favorable. We will have a few overnight voyages along the way, and we may not get to do as much sightseeing as I would like, but before long we will be in the Virgin Islands. I can’t wait!
Here is where we are today.