Finally free of the storm and with a clear weather forecast, we made our way across from Chub Cay to New Providence, the island basically known as Nassau after its largest city. We actually had no interest in the island other than picking up our friends, so our plan was to check out some nearby islands in hopes of finding a calm harbor to take them away from the hustle and bustle (and cruise ships) without having to spend entire days at sea (jess has a history of getting seasick so we we’re trying to stay as close as possible).
Just after we see land and start looking at our course around New Providence to Rose island we hear the wwrrrrrrrrrr on of our lines. “Fish On!!” It’s clear immediately that it’s far bigger than the other fish we’ve snagged and a few minutes into the battle I see the huge fish jump out of the water acrobatically and know right away its a dolphinfish (mahi mahi). I’ve read that they often travel in packs, so I have jen kill the momentum of the boat while I fight to bring the fish in over the next 10-15 minutes.
Jen grabs the gaff and tries to hook the fish while I try to get it closer to the boat… but fair to say (like everything else) these are new attempts/skills for us and we’re trying to do so while underway… so we fail miserably. I eventually just grab the line and pull the huge beautiful fish aboard. We are both already tasting the sashimi, ceviche and fish tacos. I freeze monetarily, mostly struck by the intense color and beauty of this fish (he was iridescent- green, blue and yellow and impossibly beautiful) but also looking around me for the pliers to remove the hook and a line to tie onto and secure the fish. That pause of merely a few seconds would turn out to be more than enough time for the fish to slap once against the deck, spit the hook out and slip just inches outside my grasp and back into the sea.
Completely dejected, we turned the boat around for another pass… cursing how close we were to a delectable feast for our pals. We knew there was little to no chance of hitting the fish again but we couldn’t help but try. I hung my head in defeat and we continued on to Rose Island, where we dropped anchor amidst a handful of other sailboats in a beautiful bay and waited a few days for the arrival of our friends.
Christmas was oddly anticlimactic. Not our first Christmas spent in the tropics, but despite decorating the boat for our visitors it still felt very un-holiday like. An amazing view and experience…but really not very Christmas like at all. We spent the next day or two exploring the island, checking out the reef and seeing if it was possible to get internet access for our friends’ visit. All went well except for one fateful attempt to make our way around the island to inspect “gilligans island”, which was apparently used in filming the opening scene of the show's intro.
Turns out we had no idea just how protected our anchorage was from the exposed north side of the island and as soon as we rounded the corner winds picked up to crazy gusts and waves were immediately 6-8’ plus and we were beating straight into them. We only continued on for 5-10 minutes before deciding to simply abort mission and return to the south side of the island and our peaceful anchorage. No sense risking becoming a second version of gilligan’s island just because we’re trying to do advance research for friends. Better to sit quietly in the bay and await their arrival.
On the way back into the bay another boat hailed us to ask how bad it was out there. Apparently they had been paying closer attention to the weather because they were hoping to make a hop down to the exumas but were waiting out the winds. We ended up heading over to their boat later that evening for cocktails and made new friends. They are also pretty new to this liveaboard thing just like us, so I’m sure we’ll see them again. If you’re looking for other sailors to follow, check them out at Sailing Music and Lyrics
The last few days all we seem able to do is think about their arrival. We tried to fill our time snorkeling and exploring the island…but mostly we’ve been so excited we were all but counting down the minutes. We are absolutely in love with this life were living but it’s also something that we already knew would be more fun to share with others.
We made to way back to the south end of New Providence Island a day early to prep the boat, reprovision on supplies and duck a bit of wind heading our way. We always assumed that we should have a marina slip for the first night of their arrival simply to ease the transition and to make things easy, so why not pull in a day early.
SO glad we did as getting around the island and provisioning (we had lots of needs from groceries to marine stores to hardware…) took a LOT more time than we had planned despite the fact the Palm Cay Marina had a courtesy car available to us for a few hours for just this reason/purpose.