Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Frazers Hog Cay to Nassau

The weather forecast for this morning was still the same. Stiff winds until around 0700 then they should subside, and start clocking around to the east. There was a trough moving through and the wind was supposed to be fairly calm in the center of the trough. The idea was we would move south along with the trough to try to stay in the calm area.

Lone Palm was ready to head out right behind us. A couple of other sailboats were going to make the run to Nassau, as well. While we had originally planned on bypassing Nassau, and clearing in at Morgan's Bluff in Andros, this would require backtracking. Not willing to do that we decided to just push on to Nassau and clear customs at the government dock there.

As we moved out into open water the seas continued to build. Initially they were coming from behind us and the ride was pretty good. As we progressed further south, however, they started coming from the east, and hitting us broadside. That, in addition to many squalls kicking up the winds, made for a most miserable ride. To add to the discomfort it was pouring rain necessitating closing all windows and doors. This resulted in it becoming quite warm and stuffy inside.

Poor Duke was miserable. He could not find a comfortable place on the boat anywhere. As much as he hates to be wet he went out on the bow in the pouring rain to lay on the cushion up there. We were pitching around pretty good and I was afraid he would fall overboard so I made him come inside. It made my heart ache to see how miserable he was. Heck, Paula and I were pretty miserable, too!

It took us slightly over 7 hours to get to Nassau.  It was a welcome sight to see the towers of Atlantis in the distance, once the rain stopped. An hour later we were entering the harbor and calm waters. It felt wonderful.

We called the marina we had decided on staying at to see if they had space for us. They did. It is a bit of a run down place, and difficult to find, but the cheapest thing in Nassau, by far. But, they said we could not clear customs there (I don't know why, since customs goes to the marina next door).  We called customs directly to confirm this. They asked where we were located and we said just passing the cruise ship docks. They directed us to come to the customs dock there and they would clear us in.

The customs dock is a large concrete dock primarily for commercial vessels. We had to get out our big ball fenders to protect from the rough concrete. There is no one to help you tie up, you are on your own. Thankfully, our boat is tall enough that I did not need a ladder to get off here.

I entered the customs building and was directed to an office down the hall. There I met a very nice customs officer who would be clearing me in. He started to give me the forms to fill out, but I indicated I had already printed them off from the web site and had them filled out. He was pleased that we could get right to business.

Everything was going smoothly until we got to the list of weapons aboard. We had four pistols, but they only allow three weapons. I was unaware of this law. The officer tried to let me slide by, but his supervisor was in the room and said "the law is the law!". So, that was that. They said they would detain one weapon and gave me the option of choosing which one. Since we would have to return here to pick it up on our way out of the country (which we may choose not to do) I picked Paula's revolver, as it was the least expensive of the bunch. So they took it, and all the rounds for it, and gave me a receipt. Then it was on to immigrations which went smoothly.

An hour later I was cleared in, had my cruising and fishing permits, and we were on our way. We called TPA Marina for instructions on how to get to their marina and it sounded easy enough. However, upon rounding the mailboat docks I could not see TPA. Calling them on the radio elicited no response. As we idled around the harbor we were hailed by another marina. They told us we were getting close to shallow water and needed to turn around. We did so. Then called TPA on the cell phone to get directions. They came out to the dock to direct us in. The first slip they tried to put us into was far too small, and in an area we would never be able to maneuver into the slip. They finally decided to put us into the slip along with the owners 70' Burger motor yacht. They pulled it back a few feet and we tied up in front of it. The bow is sticking out past the dock by 20' but that's okay. We get off from the boarding gates about 15' forward from the stern.

They only had 30 amp power available, which is fine with us. We have been living off the grid for the last 2-1/2 months so 30 amp power was a luxury. That's enough to run two air conditioners, or the water heater, or to bake and use the cooktop. We are in hog heaven here. Plus, it is only $1/ft per night, which is much better than the $3-$4/ft per night from most of the marinas in Nassau.

It feels good to be tied up at a dock again. The weather is supposed to be crappy until Saturday, so we we will be here for a while.

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