One year–to the day–after we last checked into the Bahamas here in North Bimini, we are back. After watching the weather for some time as we were getting ready to pack up, it seemed there were weeks of very steady, contrary winds. We were expecting to have a bit of a wait, but in a bit of a surprise, on the first day we were ready to leave, the weather shifted, and off we went.
We have friends who are new Amel Super Maramu owners here in Florida, and they are busy refitting their “new to them” boat, Ora Pai. We invited them along as crew for the 12 hour passage. Alan passed in order to keep some projects moving ahead on their boat, but Laura jumped on the offer. It will be easy, just hop on the ferry back to Florida. Alan even asked if it was important to have a ferry ticket ahead of time, or if it was good enough to just wing it. I assured him that “winging it” would be fine.
We arrived back at Brown’s Marina on North Bimini a little before 6PM. Filled out our paperwork and marched down the street to clear Customs. A bit unusually, the Customs office is open until 11PM. After Customs, you have to go to Immigration to complete the check in process. That office closes at 5PM. So we have to call out the Immigration officer to process us on overtime for an extra $75. As he is finishing, Laura mentions that she is going to be taking the ferry back to Florida. He has some information for us, “No, can’t be done. Yesterday was the last day. The ferry boat is in dry dock for two weeks.”
The next morning Karen and Laura take a hike across the island to the office of the local puddle-jump airline which flies the 50 mile route over to Fort Lauderdale. Things are very quiet on the island. We didn’t appreciate the percentage of the tourist business that arrives by ferry. Almost everything is closed. Even the big Hyatt resort has shut down for the two weeks the ferry is out of service. In a bit of odd logic, even the airline’s office on the island is also closed!
By the end of the day, Laura has managed to reach the main office of the airline by phone and booked the next available ticket on Thursday for a flight back to Fort Lauderdale. Apologies to Alan for kidnapping your partner during your busy project time!
In other news, Karen managed to track down the Bailey, the Lobster Man and stocked up the freezer with a couple dozen fresh local lobster tails. I think a big pile of fresh, and inexpensive lobster will be the highlight of her visit here! (and Bill’s too, as they are in the freezer for months to come! Karen)