Across the Bank to the Exumas- Part 1

We cruised across the Bahama Banks to the Exumas in two legs since our weather window seemed to be holding. The whole run from Bimini to the Exumas is about 160 nm, and we’ve done the trip in one shot on an overnight the previous two times. An overnight is a good way to chew up miles, but the sleep loss and cruising in the dark when conditions are rough makes for an unpleasant cruise. Sometimes a short weather window makes an overnight a better choice, since once in the Exumas, we can easily do the short hops from cay to cay even in crappy weather because there are plenty of options to duck in and anchor if we decide the ride is too ugly. However, once we depart on an overnight, we’re committed, and if the weather turns to crap, we’re in for a rough ride for the duration since there’s simply no opportunity to pull over.

But this trip we headed to Gun Cay just after noon and anchored there overnight. We dropped the dinghy and enjoyed some beach time, Molly was excited to get to the beach!  We also took advantage of the time and smooth conditions to don dive gear and go under the boat to clean the prop, the keel cooler and sections of the bottom where the paint has gone missing and growth has set in. The bottom was last done in April of 2014.  Two years is about as long as it lasts, particularly in warm southern waters. It will be at the top of the list when we return north in May!

In anticipation of a dawn departure, we turned in early with light cool breezes and calm seas. It lasted till about 2330, when we were awakened by the wind as it wound up to about 30 kts. and clocked around to the east, kicking up a good 2 ft chop. So much for a peaceful night! There were a number of other boats anchored nearby, two of which were charter yachts in the 100 ft. range. Both of those vessels were lit up, and dragging significantly. We confirmed that we weren’t moving, and after an hour or so of standing watch, we headed back to bed, deciding to stay put and simply ride out the pitching until daybreak. Both the charters and two other sailboats headed out for a different location.

I got up a few more times to check position as the winds persisted, but we were secure, and by dawn the winds had calmed a bit; we raised the anchor and headed off across the banks to Chub Cay Saturday morning as the sun rose.


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