21 March 2008 | Thompson Bay, Long Island
Beth - hot, windy
As you may note from the location of this posting, we didn't do what I said we were going to do a couple of postings ago. On the other hand, we kept to our larger game plan - following "wind, weather and inclination".
The wind stayed up longer than was expected, and the swells were high enough on the Sound that heading south into them was not desirable. (Five boats came in through Galliot Cut while we were there - heading north with the wind behind them but that's a different matter from pounding into the waves and wind heading south.)
So the choices were: stay put another day or two until the swells died down, go back to Little Farmers or some point north - because we were tired of staying here, go just a bit further and anchor off Cave Cay (our deeper draft does not allow us to continue down the channel past Cave and Musha Cays), or set an entirely different course to follow the Banks route all the way to Long Island. (Once again, because of our nearly 6 ft draft we didn't have many choices about going back out to the sound from the Banks)
We opted to travel on the Banks to Long Island - bypassing Lee Stocking, and Great Exuma Cays, including Georgetown. We'll pick them up later - on the way back up north or as we do some back and forth travel.
The wind was gentle on the Banks and we were pretty much alone out there. We met one catamaran coming into Galliot as we left about 10am, another as we neared Rocky point at 5pm, and another one came by while we were anchored there. We had our staysail out for most of the way and it boosted us by about half a knot, meaning that we made roughly 5 - 6 kn for most of the trip. It was pretty much like the old days of just making time - plowing our way through the water (except this was a beautiful greenish, milky water about 8 ft deep), with land barely visible on the horizon. Rocky Point - west of Barraterre on Great Exuma Cay - made a fine first night stop. The holding was good in the sand and the moon was almost full. This was one of the few places where we didn't go ashore; we just left the dinghy up and read our books in the evening. At first light on Friday morning we powered up and headed out again - on the magenta lines between Explorer Chartbook waypoints. By the time we reached areas where coral heads might lurk, the sun was high enough to see them, but we needn't have worried. Our course avoided them all.
Once again it was a day of motoring and we were straight into the wind so we didn't have a sail up at all. The plus side was that the wind died to almost nothing until midafternoon so we made pretty good time - a good thing because we needed to cover 60 some nautical miles to Indian Hole at Thompson Bay on Long Island. The alternative was to just drop the anchor along the way - probably at Comer West - overnight and take the channel in the next morning. We passed one little fishing boat, but saw not one single cruising boat over those 60 nm.
Jim and I felt quite pleased with ourselves for going off the beaten track this way. The banks are shallow anyway, and the route we took to get into Thompson Bay from Comer West to Comer Channel to Comer East carried just about our draft at low tide. Because of timing we couldn't avoid, we happened to be there at just about low tide and decided we'd give it a whirl. The worst that could happen was that we'd have to drop an anchor and sit on the sand till the tide came up.
Well - I'm happy to report a successful passage and calm nerves! We covered about 10.5 miles with anywhere from 0.5 to 1.5 ft under our keel - mostly in the 0.5 to 0.9 range - that's like - 3 or 4 inches! But no worries because it was just sand.
We dropped our anchor among about 20 others spread out over the northern part of the Bay, turned off the motor and listened to the blissful silence as we watched the sun drop over Indian Hole Point. Those sapodillas are ripening and Denzel was right - they are sweet like honey! The texture is pearlike and the taste - ambrosia. I had a chunk of gorgonzola cheese in the fridge and with some crackers - mmmmagnificent sunset feast to celebrate a long and successful day.
There is wind picking up tonight (Friday) and a good blow forecast for next week, and we will be nicely established in Thompson Bay, Long Island. Yee-haw!