Friday, April 14, 2017

MokaKat Goes To the Bahamas!!!

After spending a week on MokaKat in December, the time was finally here to fly to Florida and sail MokaKat to the Bahamas, where she would stay for the year.  I rounded up a few close friends to help me sail her across the gulf stream and enjoy some time in the Bahamas.  My mother, Audrey, also came with us, as she planned on boat sitting in the Bahamas, tough gig!  

Unfortunately, we were on different airlines, but all arriving in West Palm Beach on the same day.   My mother was leaving from Dallas, and the rest of us from North West Arkansas.  

Dale, Kathryn and Bubba ready to go!
Our flights were easy and after a short Uber ride, we arrived at MokaKat.  My mom came a few hours later, and the crew was complete and ready!

We had many tasks to be ready to travel to the Bahamas.  We had three days before we had to check out of the marina, and we were also looking for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas West End.

We organized our food lists and split up, Bubba and I headed to Sams Club, and Kathryn and Audrey(mom) headed to Walmart.  It was divide and conquer!!!  I also sent Kathryn on a little of a wild goose chase, as I didn't know if the propane bottles were completely filled or not.  So she caught an Uber to fill the tanks.  Turns out the tank were already full, and after $2.60 for propane and $20 Uber rides, we had the peace of mind that we would have coffee and cooking for the foreseeable future!  Thanks Kathryn!!!!

This was only half of the stuff!  Where to put it all????

Always time for a quick beer!

Bubba's bucket of beer!

We tried our best to loose those white sunglasses
It also didn't help that West Palm had a record low that night, with 54 degrees.  We actually had to run the heat on the boat, as we were not prepared for such a cold night.

Of course our social butterfly Bubba had friends in West Palm Beach.  So we had dinner with Gizzi, who's name is actually Kristin...took me a while to get her name right!
Bubba, Gizzi(Kristin), Kathryn, Dale, Audrey

Beautiful sunrise West Palm Beach
Early morning walk

Sunset in West Palm Beach
Sunrise at the marina
Bubba and Dale installing the new BBQ grill
Bubba and mom removing the old decal
Dale and Bubba installing the new decals


No comments needed!

Our first dinner on anchor

Sunset in West Palm Beach harbor

MokaKat was ready for the crossing, but the captain was totally stressed.  The only time that I had taken the boat out of the marina was the quick motor to the anchorage.  I did spend a couple of hours with the boat in the harbor during the sea trial, but no blue water sailing.  I didn't know how the boat was going to perform and I really didn't know the boat that well.  Luckily, the boat was very similar to my original MokaKat, a 2009 Leopard L40.  I was still stressed and the butterflies were flying!

After a short sleep, we woke up at 3:00 am and made coffee, and got the boat ready to go.  It was anchor up at 4:00 am, and we were motoring out of the anchorage.  The large dock lights lit up the whole harbor, so getting through the other anchored boats and into the channel was very easy.  We headed out the pass with 5 knot east wind and very small swell.  The wind was to be on the nose the whole trip, so we would have to motor the whole 60 miles to the Bahamas West End.

Lights from West Palm Beach

Sunrise in the Atlantic, heading to the Bahamas!

Relaxing after a stressful couple of days

Fish on!!!!
Mai Mai!!!

Our first Mai Mai!!!  Great job Bubba!

Captain doing what he does best!

Mom enjoying being on the water again

Quick lunch selfie on the open seas!

The only casualty of the trip was the boat bucket. I was trying to get sea water to wash out the fish blood and the lost the bucket overboard.  It was floating, so Bubba turned around but we ran over the bucket.  we circled around again, but it was sinking fast.  I took off my shirt and shorts and dove into the cold 1000 foot water, but the bucket was already down below 30 feet.  Oh well, I believe we had a spare, but you know captains and their boat buckets....

Land Ho!  West End Bahamas
 After an easy 11 hour motor, the West End came into site!  It really had been a very easy crossing, even though we didn't get to sail.  MokaKat did perfectly and we burned about a quarter tank of diesel for each engine.
Entering the West End Old Bahama Bay Marina for customs check in!

Large bull shark welcoming us to the marina!  Yikes!!!
After tying up in the slip, we had the welcome committee local shark to check us out!  Yikes!  It was a very large bull shark swimming around our sugar scoops!  No swimming at the marina!!!

Bubba's shopping efforts
 Bubba out did himself in finding a bucket of lobsters and conch salad from a local fisherman.  $5 lobster are hard to beat!!!
Officially in the Bahamas!
The Bahamian Officials are very proud of their paperwork!  After filling out several very long forms, it seemed multiple of times, I finally got our year cruising permit and visa stamps for everyone.  $300 for the cruising and fishing permits for 3 people, and an extra $20 for our fourth crew member!  They gave me extra forms, so that next time I can be more prepared.  They were extremely nice, just like all of the Bahamian people that we encountered on this trip.

View of the marina

Lobster dinner!!!
In conclusion, we had an excellent experience crossing the gulf stream and motoring into the Bahamas.  We used the WindyTV app on the iPhone to make a decision on when to leave.  It seemed like a good tool for short term weather window decision.

Coming up next will be our Bahamas experience in Abaco!

Happy Sailing on MokaKat!