Figuring that we still had a couple of weeks of cruising, we were looking forward to enjoying the Abacos as we began our journey back to the United States.

We decided to stage our 56 mile sail over to Great Abaco Island in the protected basin at Royal Island. Royal Island has a basin that provides protection from the weather for just about any wind direction. Similar to Hatchet Bay but not as deep with clearer water. We decided to stay at Royal for three days, until we got a decent weather window for our crossing.

Walking in town we came across this patch of Banana trees. They have some weird things hanging from them.

Arriving at Great Abaco, we anchored off of Lynyard Cay for a couple of days and then on to Green Turtle. We were looking for a day or two on land at Green Turtle but this was not to be. Chris Parker (Weather Forecast) said that if we did not get on our way and cross the Gulf Stream in the next couple of days that we would be pinned down for another week of squalls in the 30 – 40 knot range. So once again, Mother Nature had different plans for us and we took off for Great Sale Cay where we would spend the night before beginning the 264 mile trip back to St. Augustine, Florida.

It had been a year since we did a multi day crossing and decided that we would take three hour shifts during the night. Renee took a mattress pad and made a comfortable place in the cockpit for the person not on watch to rest. This was awesome because it is important to grab sleep whenever you can and as soon as you lied down on this pad you easily went to sleep.

Since there are two of us on 5KNOTS, taking shifts and resting work out pretty good. Having a good pair of binoculars is a must for any kind of boating. Here is Renee checking out a cruiser making a large rooster tail. At first we were not sure what was barreling down on us. I don’t think this is a very efficient type of travel. This guy burns gallons per minute!

The day started off great with 5KNOTS leaving the anchorage under sail. We sailed until dark when the wind shifted and started coming from directly behind us which meant we were sailing downwind (running). The prediction was that the winds were going to increase so we decided to take down the main while it was still daylight and try running with just our foresail (jib). Unfortunately there wasn’t enough wind at this time to just sail, so we fired up the diesel to help push us along.

We were on a time schedule because we had to stay ahead of the squalls and wanted to get through the shipping lanes as fast as possible. This meant we had to cruise at no less then 6 knots. Morning is always a welcome sight after making a night crossing. We made it to St. Augustine where we cleared customs and will stay for a few days to sort out just where we will leave 5KNOTS for hurricane season.

Here is our Bahamian Courtesy Flag upon return to the United States. Not sure it will make another season.