March 1, we made the decision that the weather through the Windward Passage would be good for a trip north to the Bahamas! We would leave on Wednesday, the 3rd. We had much to do to both leave Jamaica as well as prepare to enter a new country. First thing of importance was to schedule the COVID PCR test that the Bahamas required to enter. Port Antonio had no testing site! Our only option was to go to Kingston, 2 hours away on a winding mountain road with a lot of traffic! So we hired our driver, Triston, since there was no way that we would traverse the road while driving on the “wrong” side all of the way to the busy (and some say dangerous) city of Kingston.
We took advantage of Monday afternoon to do laundry at the marina as well as prepare the boat for our 3 day journey and cook some food to eat while underway. As well as say goodbye to the friends that we had made at the marina.
Triston picked us up at the marina at 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning, citing the need to get through the mountains before it got busy. The Blue Mountains were beautiful. There were many little towns scattered along this “highway”. There were also many clear rivers. We were really happy that we chose not to rent a car, as only an experienced driver could navigate a highway that was really only one lane wide! We passed many cars heading the opposite direction. There were actually some brave (?) souls that passed us on corners with traffic in the opposite direction! Now came the trucks. Large trucks! Triston was a champ and pulled right next to the edge to let them pass. It certainly didn’t look like they would fit! And looking down over the edge, it is really a wonder that cars don’t just topple down. Ohhh….and did I mention the road? Potholes big enough to sink our tires as well as entire stretches of road washed down the mountain. The ride gave us that roller coaster feeling of fear then calm, fear then calm.
Finally we rounded the top of the mountain and there was Kingston below. Whew! Now to make our way to the airport where they were conducting the PCR tests. Of course they required the test that was not same day results. So we sat and waited and stood and waited. Finally two hours later we had completed our tests and could expect the results no earlier than 48 hours. But we were leaving in the morning! AND we had to attach the results to an entrance request that had to be approved BEFORE we entered Bahamian waters. Along with that, there would be no cell reception while at sea. Hmmmm…..ok, let’s chance it. It might be another month before we get a weather window this good to head backward up the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti.
Wednesday morning was beautiful and relatively calm as we motored out of Marina Errol Flynn and headed north into unknown waters.