Bahamas Trip 2024 (ORIA)

On January 29th, 2024, I headed south with my buddy Rick on ORIA, bound for Spanish Wells, Bahamas. Weather permitting, the plan was to go non-stop. Unfortunately, rough conditions prevented a gulf stream crossing with the window that we had. As a result, we anchored at No-Name Harbor, Biscayne Bay, Florida so that Rick go fly home the next day out of Miami.

We had a fantastic 470 mile sail offshore from Hilton Head to Miami with typical conditions being a beam reach in 15-20 knots of wind. At times it was a bit rolly, but at times we were sailing at over 8 knots.

ORIA reaching south
Rick fixing grilled cheese on the George Foreman Grill

I can always count on Rick. He is a world-class sailor with many thousands of miles passed under his keel. He sailed with me for 1,600 miles to Antigua in 2021.

Capt Randy on watch off the coast of Florida
ORIA on a nice Broad Reach
ORIA anchored at No Name Harbor, Biscayne Bay, FL

Fortunately, my buddy Moose was able to fly in the day after Rick left, and we departed for Spanish Wells the following day with a perfect weather window for crossing the gulf stream and Bahama Bank with calm winds. The weather was near perfect.

Beneteau 40 ORIA Motoring at Sunrise across the Bahama Bank
ORIA Beneteau 40 Main Cabin, waiting for Customs to Open
Sunrise on the Bahama Bank with ORIA motoring in calm water

We arrived into Spanish Wells on a Saturday, and we could not clear into customs until Monday. We still enjoyed ourselves on a mooring very close to the docks. Our buddy Tom arrived on Tuesday.

Cargo Boat Departure, Spanish Wells – That’s close to our bow!
Capt Randy at The Shipyard, Spanish Wells
Spanish Wells, Moose and Tom
A Waterfront Bar at Spanish Wells, Bahamas
Another Cargo Boat Making a Turn Behind Us at Spanish Wells
You can’t go to Spanish Wells without hitting Budda’s Bar!

We left Spanish Wells after two days and sailed south on a beam reach, at an average speed of 7 knots, anchoring in Rock Sound for a couple of days. This was a great destination, hanging out at Wild Orchids for lunch or dinner, live music, and watching the Superbowl.

Me, Moose, and Tom in Rock Sound, Eleuthera
ORIA at anchor, Rock Sound, Eleuthera
Tom, Moose, and Me at Wild Orchids, Rock Sound
Rock Sound Dock, Eleuthera
Tom in Art Gallery, Rock Sound, Eleuthera
Getting ready for the Superbowl with the Owner of Wild Orchids, Rock Sound, Eleuthera
Tom and the owner’s grandkids at Wild Orchids, Rock Sound
Rock Sound, Eleuthera
Exploring a cave in Rock Sound, Eleuthera

The next stop sailing south was Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina. Here, I splurged and rented a slip for two days. This marina had a very nice bar/restaurant, pool, and free loaner bikes with many miles of places to ride. It was a 5 star experience and I will be returning with my wife, Kay.

ORIA in her slip at Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina at Sunset
The Beach at Cape Eleuthera Resort
ORIA’s slip at Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina
Cape Eleuthera Resort Cottages after sunset

The next stop sailing south on another great 7+ knot beam reach was Cat Island, where we anchored for one night, but did not get to shore.

Tom and Moose Sailing South on ORIA to Cat Island
Wahoo caught off of Cat Island at the steep drop-off (from 30 to 1,500 feet water depth)
ORIA booking along at 8 knots on a beam reach heading for Long Island

The plan from the beginning was to make it to Long Island in the Exumas to spend time with two old college buddies (Tom and Eric) along with their wives. My wife, Kay was supposed to fly into Georgetown a few weeks later.

ORIA anchored at Calabash Bay, Cape Santa Maria Resort, Long Island, Bahamas
Tom, aka Tommy Knocker, aka Big Guy, Cape Santa Maria, Long Island, Bahamas. ORIA is in the anchorage
Eric and Me, Long Island


The View from the resort on Long Island looking at our Calabash Bay anchorage
Cape Santa Maria’s Restaurant prepared the Wahoo 3 ways that we caught on ORIA the day before
Me, Tom, and Moose on Long Island, Cape Santa Maria Resort

This trip ain’t over yet… Tom and Moose flew home from Georgetown a couple of days later. After that, I sailed home solo after Kay had to cancel her trip to Georgetown. Our sweet dog, Ellie was diagnosed with a nerve sheath tumor on the right side of her head. Photo below:

Our Dog Ellie, Age 12. She’s doing fine. She just has a dent in her head.

The anchorage in Georgetown had over 400 boats, which was a record. After hanging out in Georgetown for only 2 days (strong winds out of the west made the anchoring uncomfortable), I started sailing north stopping at Little Farmer’s Cay, then Shroud Cay, then Highbourne Cay Marina.

Beneteau 40 ORIA Sunset Anchorage, Stocking Island, Exumas
Beneteau 40 ORIA at Highbourne Cay Marina
Highbourne Cay Bus Stop. I guess this guy was never picked up..
Highbourne Cay Scenic Overlook of Beach
Beneteau 40 ORIA at Highbourne Cay Marina

What a beautiful marina and property! It is pricey, but well worth it for a couple of days, especially if the winds are strong out of the west. The food at the restaurant was outstanding.

I departed Highbourne Cay Marina and sailed 421 miles solo non-stop to Fort Pierce, Florida (except for anchoring for six hours on the Bahama Bank at midnight to rest). This was my route:

Beneteau 40 ORIA Solo Sail Route from Georgetown to Fort Pierce, FL

I stayed in Ft. Pierce for two days and continued north up the ICW. Anchored for the night near Cape Canaveral. The next stop was Halifax Marina in Daytona Beach, FL. My depth sounder transducer needed to be replaced (from inside the boat). Luckily, Amazon came through and it was delivered the next day. I visited my buddy Moose and as a bonus, it was Bike Week in Daytona!

I sailed 421 miles solo to meet this nice bartender at Daytona Beach Bike Week!
Beneteau 40 ORIA almost home

Below was my route for the entire roundtrip from Hilton Head, SC to Long Island and Georgetown in the Exumas. Returning from the Bahamas, I used the ICW between Fort Pierce and St Augustine, FL.

Beneteau 40 ORIA Route of Bahamas 2024 Trip

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