After Thanksgiving, we drove back to Hollywood, FL to move the boat to a new slip so that we could stay at Suntex Marina until it was time to leave for the Bahamas in mid-December.
It was a short, but very busy week in FL. We sold “Big Mama” (the van). We cleaned and prepared the inside of the boat to get it ready for Makenzie and Ella to visit. Shannon changed the oil in the engines.
We bought the last of the needed provisions and got them stored.
We then drove back to Blowing Rock to move the last of our things out of the house and into a storage unit. December 11 was the big day – we closed on our house!
Makenzie and Ella finished their exams on the 11th. We said goodbye to Julie (Grandma) and Jack and drove to Charlotte to say goodbye to Max and Julia (Grandad and Nana).
We made it to the boat on December 12th with the plan to head for the Bahamas in just 36 hours.
As a reward for all their hard work, we took them to Jaxson’s Ice Cream Shop.
Addie got a rootbeer float with black cherry ice cream:
In preparation for leaving in the dark on the morning of the 14th, we rafted up next to Bella (Patrick and Rita’s Cat).
Thanks so much to our Hollywood Suntex Marina Family!
What an amazing year! We will miss you all!
Leaving Florida – plans are to return in 5-10 years!
We had a great 10 hour sail over to South Bimini, Bahamas (about 60NM).
Made it in time to get an early dinner at Sherry’s on the beach.
We spent the next morning exploring Bimini and hanging out by the pool at Big Game Marina where we were docked. The next day we had a great sail over to Gunn Cay for the night so we could leave easily the next morning for Chubb Cay in the Berry Islands.
Just chillin at our Gunn Cay anchorage after swimming with the rays.
The next day, December 17th, we got up at 4:00am and sailed 13 hours (80NM) to Chubb Cay. It was also Ashley’s birthday! The winds were good, the seas were calm and the whole family was on board! It was a great birthday!
Chubb Cay was just a layover for us. On the 18th we had another long, but fantastic day of sailing as we made our way to Hatchet Bay at Eleuthera, Bahamas (83NM).
This is us entering Hatchet Bay; it is a very protected bay.
Can we make it through that opening?
We stayed in Hatchet Bay for 4 nights because of high winds and waves. This gave us lots of time for chilling and relaxing together as a family. We watched movies, played games, ate well, and explored the island!
One day we rented a car and explored north Eleuthera. We found an amazing road side farmer’s market with fresh arugula that Shannon got to pick, a cute little shop in town with local crafts, and a beautiful restaurant on the hilltop with yummy brick oven pizza.
We also visited the glass bridge. This bridge connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Exuma Sound. On one side of the bridge is the Atlantic Ocean and on the other side is the sound. Two completely different worlds colliding!
Did I mention it was windy?
This is the Atlantic side. Glad we are not out in that.
This is the Exuma Sound side.
Our boat is anchored on this side a few miles south of here.
After leaving the glass bridge, we went to Queen’s Bath. On less windy days, it is a natural “hot tub” at lower tides. On our way to find Queen’s Bath:
This is Queen’s Bath. On a calm day people hike down to it and hang out in it. This is as close as we got.
We then stopped and checked out Hatchet Bay Cave.
After Hatchet Bay, we took advantage of a day where the wind was not 25+ and sailed 6 hours (37NM) south to Rock Sound – another protected harbor on south Eleuthera. Going to check out the town at Rock Sound:
We found this really cool natural wonder, a blue hole. Ocean water has found it’s way inland far beneath the surface and made 300 foot deep swimming pool. Hard to tell here because it is a cloudy day but the water is crystal clear.
Everyone explored Rock Sound.
We also explored a cool local bar on the beach ;).
The wind direction shifted so the next day we moved to the west side of the bay to be better protected and found a great beach to play fetch.
And work on our tans…
At last it is Christmas Eve! We celebrated by opening gifts and enjoying a wonderful steak dinner.
Merry Christmas from s/v Aventis!
Caper and Chance playing peek-a-book through an open hatch down into Ella’s cabin:
It was now time to make another jump. On Christmas day we motored 44NM across the Exuma Sound to the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. We anchored at Hog’s Cay and had it all to ourselves.
Caper and Chance love the boat life!
We had this little anchorage (actually a mooring ball) between Warderick Wells and Hogs Cay all to ourselves.
The place where we anchored (moored) used to be a pirate’s lair. Maybe this is why the beach was called…
Life is Good on our private beach in paradise on Christmas Day!
After just one night in the park we continued to head south down the Exumas. We traveled 38NM to Little Farmer’s Cay.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner of fried chicken and lobster at Ocean Cabin. We enjoyed an evening of private dining (we were the only ones there!) with the owner and his wife cooking for us.
Early the next morning we used the good weather window to make our last jump 45NM to get us to George Town, Exuma. It was not an ideal sailing day with waves at 4-5 feet and us heading directly into them and the wind, but we needed to get George Town so we persevered.
We made it and so did a whole bunch of other boaters.
Now it was time for some fun, exploration and beach time.
We had an awesome Christmas vacation and the start of our full-time cruising adventure on Aventis with our girls. It was sad to see Makenzie and Ella leave, and we look forward to their return.
Best wishes for an amazing 2020 from Aventis and the Thompson’s.
May you be filled with love, surrounded by good friends, have good health, and experience many wonderful adventures!