Hello from sunny Bahamas! Sorry to rub that in for those of you in snow climates, but it it just so nice to finally be in the Bahamas. We have dreamed and longed for this for so long, and it’s so cool to be here. We have certainly had our ups and downs in worries about weather and conditions, but it is good to be here.
We are currently anchored just south of Rose Island, a small island just NE of New Providence Island where Nassau is located. Cruisers apparently don’t typically go to Nassau because of the crime and not being a clean city, so we opted to skip it as well. We had been there on a cruise a bunch of years ago, so it was cool to be on our boat going by the Nassau Harbor entrance where we had gone in on the cruise ship.
We left Bimini last Sunday morning, not on Saturday as we originally thought, to make our trek to Chub Cay. Saturday was such a windy day from the W, a direction the wind has not come from in a long time, that it would have been brutal getting out of the Bimini Harbor. So we left Sunday morning with three other boats: San D, North 45 and Too Many Toads. The first two are Canadian families traveling with their children, and Too Many Toads is a single female sailor seeing the world with her dog, Sailor. They were all at the Bluewater Marina with us, and in fact we saw them anchored way back in Marine Stadium in Miami, so it was good to set off with them.
Our route was to head south about 10 miles to Gun Cay and then head east over the Grand Bahama Bank to the Chub Cay area, a total distance of about 90 – 100 nautical miles. We had to break it up into two days, and since there is no land in between what you do is just stop somewhere along the way and throw your anchor down for the night! The Grand Bahama Bank only have a depth of 12 – 15 feet, so it’s no problem to anchor. They say it’s good to make sure you have a couple of extra lights on your boat at night in case any other boats are doing overnighters that they can see you and not hit you. Good idea!
San D and North 45 learned you could anchor just off the northern tip of Gun Cay and after taking your dinghy ashore you can swim with stingrays there, so we did just that. Too much fun! There were groups of 6 – 12 stingrays just slowly circling our feet while we swam about. After about an hour of doing that we headed back to the boats to pull anchors and head east across the Grand Bahama Bank.
The wind was only 5 – 8 knots out of the NE so we were able to put out our headsails while we motored along. We had the sails pinched in pretty tight but it helped a bit as we headed east. In the afternoon the wind picked up to the 12 – 14 knot range so the sails were even more helpful then. The waves picked up a bit, but were still good in the 1 – 2 foot range. The forecast was for the wind to pick up a bit more during the night and for it to continue to be a bit wavy, but we hoped it would be tolerable for sleeping.
We threw down the anchors just past Mackie Shoal, only 45 miles into the trip. San D was experiencing some prop vibration so wanted to dive on it while the sun was out yet, so we stopped about 4:00 pm. After diving on his prop he could see his zinc anodes were gone and the remaining screws were still there possibly causing the vibration. Because of the mild bouncing of the boat he decided to not change the anode there but to wait for calmer waters in Chub Cay.
I just have to add that it was a strange concept to be 45 miles away from anywhere at that point, and to see water only as far as the eye could see and for it to only be 12 or so feet deep! But that’s what makes up the Grand Bahama Bank!
The wind did pick up a bit in the first part of the night and it was a bit uncomfortable trying to sleep, but after about midnight it calmed down a bit to allow us to sleep for a while. But at 5 am we were all on our way again, headed east. We saw a gorgeous sunrise, and eventually came through the North West Passage into what they call the Tongue of the Ocean where the water deepens substantially. And when I say substantially, it suddenly goes down to 2000 and then close to 8000 feet deep! Quite a change!
Shortly after going through the North West Passage we came upon Chub Cay, which is the southernmost island of the Berry Islands. The other three boats decided to anchor there while we opted to continue on another 3 – 5 miles to an anchorage recommended to us called Frazer’s Hog Cay. Going up the entry way into the anchorage was through a shallow area but we made it fine with Sharon watching on the bow. And it was a delightful area to anchor! There were three other catamarans already there, one being Magic Dragon who had recommended this anchorage, and we ended up going ashore with them at 4:30 pm for the nightly Happy Hour Ashore. How fun! All told, it was about a 106 nautical mile jump from Bimini to Frazer’s Hog Cay, but we had arrived.
After two beautiful nights at Frazer’s Hog Cay we left on Wednesday, Jan. 9, to head toward New Providence Island area. We left with three catamarans, Magic Dragon, Mohini and Gypsy Soul, and headed the 30+ miles south toward Nassau. The wind was now from the North, directly behind us, so after goofing with sails we settled on having our mainsail out to help steady the boat while motorsailing. As we reached New Providence Island the wind picked up into the 15 – 18 knot range, but we continued to do well even though it was still directly behind us. Eventually we headed east toward Rose Island and the sail especially helped then.
We pulled into the lee of Rose Island and it was suddenly calm and wonderful. Two of the catamarans we traveled with went into Nassau Harbor for supplies or whatever and must have stayed. Gypsy Soul went into Nassau for a couple of things, but arrived at Rose Island a few hours later and had us over for Happy Hour.
It was a beautiful night last night here at anchor and we will probably stay here another day or two until we continue on probably to Allen’s Cay and then down the Exuma chain to Georgetown. We did some snorkeling in Frazer’s Hog Cay and hope to do that again this afternoon. And I would love to use our softer brush to remove some of the algae on the hull of the boat. While snorkeling in Frazer’s Hog Cay I did see that our zinc anodes are both totally gone as well, so I did replace the shaft end anode and hope to put the donut anode on the shaft this afternoon.
So all is good on Adventures Await! Lest you think it is all just wine and roses out here, we had spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out weather and when to make longer passages. A lot of our time in Bimini was actually kind of cruddy in trying to figure out when we could go and not get beat up out there. We have had tears and much frustration over it, but hopefully now that our longer passages are over things will get better in dealing with weather windows. Our phone system seems to be working out well in getting a signal through the Batelco system so that helps in looking at forecasts. We have had a few issues with the boat as well, but we’re working through those.
Since we reached St. Ignace, MI, way last July, everything we have done and gone is new. At some point you get tired of everything always being new and unknown. I won’t go on about this here, but suffice it to say that everything always being new can be tiring. It’s also exciting, but it takes energy.
Hopefully I can get this posted from this new Batelco phone network, and I will continue to do my best in posting in the future.