We left Bimini Sands Marina early in the morning and headed north for a sixty-three-mile sail to West End, Grand Bahama. The seas were predicted at three feet with nine-second intervals. This means that on average the waves would hit us every nine seconds and be three feet tall, but four to six-foot waves would not be uncommon. We butted heads with quite a plethora of six-footers as we crossed the New Providence Channel for a few hours. Then it went back to average as we reached West End over ten hours after departure. We made good time sailing in frisky wind at close to Echoe’s top speed going over seven knots.
The West End marina had closed the week before our arrival. We decided to anchor in a notoriously uncomfortable but safe (good holding) anchorage due to our arrival at low tide and other tedious reasons. You could not leave a glass of water on the counter or the swells would knock it over. The dishes were rattling in the cabinets along with our nerves. We had not eaten in eight hours and for dinner, I had a piece of white bread and Captain Where’sthebeef? had a few chips. That may help paint the picture. Neither of us slept as the waves rolled us over in bed. Next time, we will choose the “poor holding” calmer anchorage and set the anchor alarm and/or take sleep shifts if need be, or possibly just keep on going through the night. Sail and learn.
The next morning we impatiently waited for a rising tide to navigate through the skinny (shallow) Good Will Channel. Once clear of the channel we hoisted the sails and had a glorious eight-hour sail on settled seas under a sunny, smiling sky all the way to Great Sale Cay. THIS! I screamed pumping both fists in the air, THIS is what I signed up for!
Much of navigating through the Bahamas is by watching the water for obstacles as the sea floor is ever changing and navigation is not well marked. We approached a football-sized white sandy area and were worried it was an unmarked shoal. We were surprised to find there wasn’t a change in depth at all. We later found out that the Little Bahama Bank is known for these huge sandy areas that are the mysterious Fish Muds. The most common theory of their occurrence is that they are created by gimongous schools of bottom-feeding fish.
A large and satisfying dinner at a calm anchorage was followed by a large and satisfying night’s sleep and a calm sea princess. I awoke my old, feeling young self and we set sail again in perfect conditions for a six-hour sail to Allans-Pensacola Cay in the northern Abacos.
Refreshed and optimistic, Captain Sometimessmellsandactsfishy told me to text our good boat buddies on Soul Divers to tell them we would meet them that afternoon at Allans Cay with fresh sashimi (raw fish). He skipped around the cockpit like a school girl and let out his line. A couple hours later the telltale whine of the reel went rattattattatta. It is very hard to catch fish when sailing as it is difficult to slow Echoes down when she has a bone in her teeth and two full sails pushing her along. He lost the fish but fought it well. The hook was bent ninety degrees when he reeled it in. A new lure and an hour later the next fish spit the lure. Third time’s a charm. Captain Giddydanceypants reeled in a small but big enough Cero Mackerel. He beat it on the head with a winch handle to kill it and the cockpit was covered in blood and fish guts like a scene from a horror movie. We will be buying cheap booze to kill them with the next time. He immediately cleaned Macky and put him in the fridge.
Three hours later we were anchored next to our buddies on Allans Cay in the Abacos. I can’t quite explain what a joyous milestone this felt like. Soul Divers’ Matt and Sadie dinghied over with Sadie’s alchemist perfected Pineapple Smash.
Pineapple Smash: 1 Cup Barcardi Gold, 1/2 Cup Pineapple Rum, 1/2 Cup Coconut Rum, and Pineapple juice to your liking – but don’t overdo it on the juice as it is best strong.
We had an enthusiastic toast to the magic of the sea and friendship and then gobbled up the sashimi. It was delicious. Matt and Sadie had us over that night for a great meal of kielbasa and lentils.
The weather was PMSing so we spent a couple of days relaxing and walking the beaches of the uninhabited island.
There is a “signing tree” on the Atlantic side of Allans where cruisers leave various stuffnstuff with their boat names on it.
After a couple of days, we moved on to Crab Cay/Angelfish Point to anchor in another quiet bay and enjoy the peace and beauty of the northern Abacos. Sadie and I went beachcombing and gunkholing while Matt and John went fishing. Can you imagine how glorious it was to be that far from our spouses? I’m not sure you can. Matt caught a barracuda but they can carry a disease called ciguatera so he tossed it back.
Today we are to off Manjack Cay to do what we love to do best, sail, explore, fish, create beautiful food, get giggly, play games, make fun of each other and plan the next adventure.