Crossing the Bank

Internet availability has been sparse, so the past few posts have been uploaded at one time.

We departed Bimini Friday, 2/25 along with Celebrate and Mystic Moon and made the 12 nm cruise to Cat Cay where we anchored. Honeymoon Harbor is just a few minutes’ dinghy ride, so off we went with the pups and Chris & Joyce following. We hit the beach for a bit, and met a family from Connecticut who were on an outing from Bimini for some beach time and fishing. They had some squid and were happy to share some for feeding the rays. The rays are very docile, come right up and take food out of your hand. They’re velvety smooth, and after a while they would nose in between our feet and sort of squeeze on through. It was quite a sensation. The feeding and watching continued for a good 20 minutes with the appearance of several other rays, 5 total. We returned to the boat and prepared for a pre-dawn departure.

We departed Cat Cay at 0600, leading the three boats, Celebrate and Mystic Moon about a half hour behind. The larger boats cruise a bit faster, so when traveling together, the bigger boats often leave last. Bahamas cruising is dependent on good light, and it’s always desirable to arrive as early in the afternoon as practical to take advantage of the more direct angle of the sun for better reading of the water. At dusk, the shading disappears, making navigation almost impossible. There is a notorious dearth of ATON’s (Aids to Navigation) in the Bahamas, partly because of funding, but in a larger part because it is possible to “read” the water depth by coloration, so ATON’s are a plus when they’re present- if they’re correct! We crossed the banks with a light breeze, calm waters and bright sunlight. A delightful cruise. We took advantage of the great conditions to catch up on some detailing while underway, it was that calm. We also deployed some fishing gear along with the rest of the fleet, and we got dibs on the 1st fish, a barracuda about 3-4 ft. Wow, some NASTY-looking teeth on that critter. Back he went, many carry ciguatera bacteria, and ingestion can cause problems from diarrhea to major systemic crisis, so not worth the risk. We also caught what we think was a bluefin tuna or bonita, very dark meat, but quite good eating. Chris & Joyce also snagged a ‘cuda, and a couple of spanish mackerel. More precisely, a mackerel and a half, since the one was hit by another fish as it was being reeled in. Mother nature is brutal! It seems our Sammy has quite the palate for sushi, he stays close by when the fish are being cleaned, and just loves the raw fish. Molly, the resident food disposal and all-round hog, won’t touch it. Go figure!

Our destination was originally Chub Cay, but later decided to continue to Frazer’s Hog Cay, another 5 miles. The facilities at Chub are some of the most costly in the Bahamas with slip fees at $4.35/ft. We also heard some cruisers tell of an additional $100 fee for temporary club membership to use their facilities (marina) and a $60/night fee for power and $.50/gal. for water. The Berry Islands Club at Frazer’s has moorings available for $25/night, and easy, marked access into the channel, so we decided to extend our cruise to Frazer’s and stay on the moorings. A good decision if only from a cost perspective.

We picked up a mooring at 1730, and traveled a total of 80.7 nm for 11-1/2 hrs, a long cruise day for us! We chatted a bit with some of the other cruisers on the moorings, one couple whom we had met at Brunswick in December. It seems news of the Selene rendezvous has made its way through the cruising community as we were asked if the three boats were headed to the rendezvous. Small community- spread out, but small!

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