Nassau Bahamas to West Palm Beach Florida.
4th – 10th July 2015
After a teary farewell to our Aussie friends in Nassau it was back to the boat and time to pull up the anchor. We’ve anchored in Nassau harbour quite a few times and are not fans of the place at all for a number of reasons. Stopping there is usually only out of necessity and not convenience. In fact,where possible, we avoid the place like the plague.
It is incredibly busy with a myriad of water traffic, the captains of which have little regard for anchored boats or the damaging wakes their speed creates. The current that rushes through the harbour is just horrible and at the change of the tide boats play the downright dangerous “game of dances with anchors”, which makes for a stressful time for all concerned. I could go on and on but I’ll get off my soap box and get back to the tale of pulling up our anchor. The holding in the main harbour, although in sand, is not the most reliable and the seabed is lurking with heaps of old building debris and assorted stuff just waiting to snag your anchor and chain.
Once again our number had come up and we really hit the jackpot of snagging pulling up not one but a whole daisy chain of crap. If you look hard at the photo you’ll see not just the rusty old beach chair but also some derelict rope and a big ol’ metal fish trap just below the surface. At this point our windlass was just about to have a coronary and Liam had to break out a knife to cut us free, sending the offending debris back to the murky depths below.
Being the 4th of July the mega resort of Atlantis, which is chokka full of American holidaymakers and dominates the Nassau skyline, was putting on a fireworks spectacular .So we figured we’d hang around for the show. But rest assured we moved GWTW down to the far more kindly seabed just off the swimming beach near the western harbour entrance.
Clear water, a sandy sea floor with no nasties to foul the anchor and nada a trickle of current greeted us as we settled in to our new found parking spot for the night. If you have to stay in Nassau on the hook this is the spot to be. Sadly we were so knackered after being on the go for the last 12 days with our friends that we slept through the whole thing. The fireworks photo is courtesy of the internet.
While we were here Liam made one more visit to the dentist, who he’d previously seen down in Georgetown. Getting the all clear on his root canal treatment, we did a really quick bit of provisioning and a little souvenir shopping and then it was time to get out of dodge. Heading back north to the Berry Islands we stopped for a day or two before tackling an overnight sail back to Florida.
Our passage to West Palm Beach in Florida was totally uneventful, just the way we like it. A beautiful sunset bid us adieu from the balmy Bahamas and in the wee small hours masses of lightning-filled thundertops welcomed us to Florida. Luckily the bad weather kept it’s distance and by dawn it had all disappeared as though it had never been there in the first place.
Dropping the anchor just inside the Lake Worth inlet around midday, we took took to the dinghy for the short ride over to the customs office above the cruise ship terminal at Riviera beach. Fifteen minutes later we were checked back into the USA for the next six months.
Cruising Info: Formalities : Bahamas Checkout. We have found that the authorities are fairly relaxed on this, compared to their check-in formalities, and you can hand in your departure card if you want or you can just leave. But be aware that some countries require clearance papers from the Bahamas at your next port of call. See www.noonsite.com for further info.
Formalities : USA Lake Worth Inlet / Riviera Beach. Once anchored phone the Central Florida Customs & Border Protection Office (CBP) and report your arrival. You then have 24 hours to present yourself face to face at the local CBP office where you are anchored. Take with you passports, ships papers, clearance papers from last port if applicable and USA cruising permit if you have one and it is still valid. If you have a B1/B2 visa make sure that the CBP officer is aware of this (i.e. tell him or her and show them the visa) and ALWAYS check that you have been stamped into the USA in your passport before leaving the office. This will save your bacon at a later date if it is not there and friends of ours just went through that heartache.
Dinghy dock for check-in. We took the dinghy to the Riviera Beach Municipal Marina just past the cruise ship terminal and then walked one block to the CBP office which was open until 1600. We weren’t charged for the dock as we stopped in to have a drink at the marina’s bar.
Check-in Anchorage. We anchored in position 26. 45. 860 N, 80. 2. 783 W, in 10 –12 ft sand good holding and just out of the turning basin marked on the chart.