Departing Great Guana early on Monday morning, we had little trouble making good progress along the north-east side of Great Abaco. The 0815 "cruisers net" confirmed three more days without a cold front and the weather was excellent for the Whale, that almost always rough passage between Guana and Green Turtle, that pushes out into the Atlantic. We soon passed by Green Turtle and Spanish Cay and turned west along the deserted coast of Little Abaco. It is here that we encountered the "The center of the world rock", a curious outcropping of coral right on the track and miles from any land. Our anchorage that night took a little timing with the tide and allowed us to snug up close to Cave Cay before the sun set.
The departure from Cave Cay on Tuesday was delayed to get a bit more water under the keel. And, that morning delay worked against us when we hit the six waypoints that allow us to pick our way thru the shoals just north of West End. Having safely passed that test, we were surprised to find that we bumped something in the middle of the fairway inside the Old Bahama Bay Marina. This is the place where tragedy recently struck the John Travolta family. Over the past five years we have watched as this place moved from bust to boom to bust again. It seems that at this time it is on a down cycle...half of the piers were without power. The restaurant was still functioning and we soon met up with four other cruisers for a delicious farewell-Bahamian dinner.
The Gulf Stream crossing on Wednesday was far better than the inbound leg, six weeks earlier. We made the 53Nm in just over seven hours and checked into Customs and Immigration by cell phone; a first for us under their Local Boaters Option. This first ever phone check-in provided a little humor as the operator asked where we were. After a little pause Bill replied that we were passing red buoy 31 to which the operator replied, call back once you are in a fixed position. Not wanting further delay, we just came to a stop to complete the transaction. Lake Worth was filled with anchored vessels waiting for a crossing, so we moved on down the ICW to a clear patch for the night Our cells and the wideband internet came up on cue and we were able to check in with family and friends. It also gave Jean a chance to begin working on a flight to see the grandkids in Arlington...old ones and new ones.