Conch, a Broken Windlass, Inhospitable Gulf Stream, and Alligators

I recently returned from a few weeks in the Abacos, northern Bahamas, with my husband on Bali Ha’i IV, and a cruise to take the boat back to Florida for some work. Here cruise doesn’t mean cruise ship! A cruise or the verb to cruise is when you live on your boat (or a chartered one) and spend time wandering around the oceans, seas, or even just bays for a period of time.

blog 77-Bahamas scene

A classic Bahamian scene, but this in the Exumas in the central Bahamas.

One of my favorite things about the Bahamas is eating (and finding) conch. This time the water was too cold for me to snorkel or dive, but I can’t imagine a Bahamian restaurant that doesn’t serve conch.

blog 77-dha with conch

Me with a conch I picked up, but several years ago.

Bali Ha’i IV is a trawler, a type of motor yacht, and is owned by my husband and his son and his family, who live in Minnesota. Before Wayne and I had always sailed, so this was a new experience for me.

The transom of Bali Ha’i IV.

I loved the flying bridge, so much easier to see than climbing into the spreaders of a sailboat to study the water ahead!

Bali Ha’i  IV at the marina on the Okeechobee Waterway.

We were enjoying ourselves when one day as we prepared to pull up anchor, the anchor windlass broke. I won’t go into the machinations and assistance we needed to haul the 120 pound anchor and addition metal chain aboard, but it basically meant no more anchoring, so after using a mooring for a couple of days we took off for 27 ½ hours for Indiantown, Florida on the Okeechobee Waterway. The Gulf Stream was not cooperative; the worst I’ve ever experienced and I’ve experienced several crossings. I discovered trawlers aren’t nearly as comfortable in rough seas as a sailboat, but we were certainly used to such situations and at least we didn’t have to go on deck to pull down torn sails in the middle of the night with waves pounding over us!

The Okeechobee Waterway is interesting and not something we could never have done in the previous Bali Ha’is ( I, II, and III). No swimming here either, but for different reasons: alligators! I’ll write more about the Waterway in another blog.


I hope you can spot this alligator!



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