Johnson Cay

Recommended by cruising friends Wayne & Sharon of My Sharona as one of the prettiest spots in the lower Bahamas, we decided to move the few miles from Buena Vista to Johnson Cay. A smaller cay, it features a horseshoe cove with a north-facing opening. The opening is just off the ocean side of a cut that connects the ocean to the bank. Not a particularly difficult entrance, but reefs on both east and west sides of the entrance preclude a shortcut. We arrived mid-afternoon, and found an easy set in firm sand with room for both boats. Because the opening is in such close proximity to the ocean, the anchorage is subject to ocean and wind driven swell; the guide books caution against anchoring there in any north wind, it can be untenable. Even with an east wind less than 13 kts, we found a bit of roll, but not uncomfortable. We enjoyed exploring the island, and were entertained by the local goat population. We suspect there may be 30 or so goats living on the cay. The beach on the ocean side is rugged, but there is some sand behind the ironshore edge that collects all manner of trash. A great spot to comb for treasures, in particular the much sought-after glass fishnet floats. No luck there, other than some sea beans and hamburger beans. Most of the other trash we left for the sun to disintegrate.

We returned before dark and a late supper, no chance of a green flash this night as the sunset was behind the cay and clouds.We noticed a bit of an increase in roll, but still tolerable by the time we turned in. Later, however, the wind shifted from a steady E-SE direction to more S. Not a problem for holding,but the change in direction and increase in speed was enough to amplify the roll to the point of being untenable for sleeping. At 0320 hrs, we had had enough, and despite the hour, decided to deploy our second anchor as a stern anchor since conditions were not rough. Friends on Aries Too had employed this tactic when we were anchored nearby and had reported good success in keeping the nose of the boat pointed into the direction of the surge. Since the surge is typically at odds with the wind direction, both conspire to keep the boats beam parallel to the wave, setting up a perfect storm of maximum rolling. The deployment was difficult; the anchor is 45 lbs with an additional 30 lbs or so of chain. One person lowers the anchor and chain from the bow roller to the dinghy stationed below. The 2nd person then handles the anchor and chain, then while the person on the bow pays out anchor rope, motors the dink to the intended location where the anchor and chain is heaved over the side. It’s a one-time chance, since retrieval of the anchor and chain would be nearly impossible from the dinghy! The rope rode was passed to the stern and pulled tight, bringing the stern around so the bow would face the incoming surge, and the beam faced the wind. The results were well worth the effort, as the roll was converted to a bit of pitching but the wave acting on the length of the boat rather than the beam has significantly less effect. We returned to bed and were able to sleep the rest of the night!

We decided to move on the following morning, As we came closer to Duncan Town, Luc was able to get a 3G signal and download weather, the forecast continues to be good up until Sunday when the winds are predicted to ramp up again, so we decided to move on to Ragged Island and visit Duncan Town, then begin our return north to arrive in Georgetown by Friday afternoon. We’ll be able then to make the ocean side passage to Black Point Saturday before the wind picks up. Innu planned to make a slower return north to Long Island and then perhaps Rum Cay. Their travels will be dictated in part by the weather.

One Response to “Johnson Cay”

  1. Linda & Corey on 11 Apr 2012 at 8:56 AM #


    We, too, had varying degrees of success and a great deal of difficulty putting out a stern anchor (just as you described). Later learned how to side bridle the boat. It is much easier and just as effective plus you can easily adjust the angle when the winds and swell shift – as long as your primary anchor is well set. You might give it a try sometime.

    Glad to see that you made it to the Jumentos. It is truly as beautiful location – one of our most favority stops in the Bahamas!