Updated: Dec 18, 2020
There's something magical about "firsts"....the first kiss, the first love, the first time tasting a delicious new food...the first time a mother experiences a baby kick in her belly. I remember when the kids were little, it was so fun to experience those firsts all over again through their eyes. The wonder of seeing a bug for the first time, or the feeling grass on their toes, sand on their bodies or snow in their hands...experiencing the magic of the holidays for the first time.... It was like watching them experience it reminded me of the thrill of experiencing it myself all over again!
We got to experience a lot of "firsts" in our cruising life this week! It was the first time we sailed into the ocean in pitch black darkness...We used our navigation to guide us as the only things visible were our bow lights and Sea Escape's stern lights. There was no demarcation between the inky blackness of the water and the night sky until we were away from all light pollution.
Once we were a good ways away from shore, the night sky filled with shooting and still stars, planets and slow moving satellites. The milky way was clear and dense.
It was the first time I had ever experienced seeing the moon rise at 5 AM in darkness so complete that the whole moon was visible even though only a sliver was lit as a waxing crescent. Shortly before the moon rose there was a start so bright that I thought it might be the Christmas Star we've been hearing about but on investigation, it looks like it was likely Venus because it rose in the East, directly over our bow, a bit before the moonrise. I loved night sailing and would like to do more of it. I think I'd enjoy a full moon experience next time!
Other than short trips out to Cape Lookout in NC, it was our first time making any ocean passages. Robert made sure we were prepared for all possibilities! We had our lifejackets checked with lights attached, jack lines in place with tethers to attach to our lifejackets if we had to go up on deck. I had packed high protein foods in backpack and had a cooler full of water available so we wouldn't have to go below if the seas got rough. We'd secured everything down tight and put a waterproof covering on the v-berth just in case water over the bow leaked through the hatches. We had heard the gulf stream would slow us down a great deal and we were prepared for a long trip of at LEAST 12-14 hrs. We were READY!
What we experienced was calm, flat seas and minimal effects of the gulf stream! It maybe slowed us down 1/2 a knot. We had a little wind out of the South-Southwest but not enough to even put the sails up. We could easily move around the boat and enjoyed listening to audio stories to pass the time. It was a delightful, calm passage!
It was our first time sailing into a different country, raising the quarantine flag, and going through customs in a marina. We were staying at the Old Bahama Bay Marina in West End and they had the option of paying some money to do the paperwork ahead of time. Robert was in and out in 15 minutes. We were free to enjoy the beautiful beaches, sunsets and magical concoctions at the beach bar. We were struck by how empty the marina was. It's great for being isolated but I worry for the economy of the country unless tourism picks up. With their covid-19 safety requirements in place, I feel safer here than in the US at this point.
Perhaps one of the secrets to living life fully is to continue to create new experiences...new firsts...for ourselves and for other people. I know it's working for me!