I have some catching up to do, for although we’re ‘connected’ when we’re within range of Batelco towers, I’ve discovered that the speed of their service is on island time too, mon. Photo downloads? uploads? take forevveeerrrr, so I’ll likely be cutting back on those L
Anyway, from where we last left off ….. we were rested and feeling ambitious, and looking to transit from Bimini straight through to the Exumas. ‘Guessing that would have been a 30 hr. ‘ish passage. To be truthful, it wasn’t ourselves that devised that plan. It came from the “older but wiser” group of cruisers we met in Bimini. Ken & Connie on Oz, Reto & Sally on (I forget), and ? & ? on Ten Years After; all in their 70’s or better; were doing it! It’s not just the younger cruisers doing the longer passages.
We left Bimini on Saturday at 10am, near the time of low slack water so as to minimize the effect of the current. We were the first of several (7 or more) boats to depart, and had no issues leaving the dock. Not yet out of Bimini’s channel, Captain Gil had the sails up! It was an incredibly great sailing day… no motor (quiet), warm and sunny, turquoise water, just the right amount of wind, close reached at 5-6 knots for hours and hours.
I baked Bob Bailey’s Apple Cake. Yum yum; it was half gone by day’s end. The sea state was relatively calm the first half of the day, but got bigger as the day wore on. I had planned on BBQ’ing a steak, but thought I might lose it overboard if I followed through on that. So I used it for a beef stroganoff. In hindsight, cooking below decks wasn’t too smart either. Note to self: just keep it simple and use those freeze dried meals on passages. I was feeling pretty green by the time dinner was ready. Before I could eat I had to go above deck to watch the horizon … my stomach settled with the setting sun.
Under the stars, and approaching the Northwest Channel Light waypoint (many of the buoys are gone, due to storms), we picked up radio transmissions to/from Rob & Serena on Vita. They had left Bimini a day ahead of us, and had been planning on anchoring out on the Bahama Banks south of the Northwest Channel Light. Past this point, you’re off the Banks and into the very deep waters of the ‘Tongue of the Ocean’ and therefore committed to continued overnight passage NE to Providence Island (+8 hr) or E to Chub Cay in the Berry Islands (+2-3 hr). Well, they were there, and at least a couple of the other boats we had left with (Guillaume & Gwen on Slow Waltz, and Dave & Jane on Romana) had decided to stop for the night there too; so we did too. We dropped the hook at 11pm, in 16’ of water on the Banks, in the lee of Andros Island, where the sea was more settled, and went down below for a good night’s sleep.
Vita was gone before the sunrise, and the rest of us were off with the sunrise.
sunrise over the 'Tongue of the Ocean'
Slow Waltz and Romana headed to Nassau; but we followed in Vita’s path to West Bay on the west side of New Providence Island, dropping anchor on Sunday, about 3-4pm. Though Vita’s a smaller boat, and presumably slower, we couldn’t catch up to her. I’ve given Captain Rob another nickname – Gingerbread Man :-P
sunset from West Bay, New Providence Island, Bahamas