West End Grand Bahama Island
09 April 2017
At Mangrove Cay we were only about 22 miles from West End but needed to arrive before low tide so up and at it at 6:14.
We had been listening to other boats who had transitted through the channel to West End and reports were the shallowest water they had encountered was 6'. We draw 5'2" so there is not much room for any error. To complicate this the charts show several areas of 4' depths at mean low water.
It is nerve racking to transit these areas as all charts say "Visual Piloting required".
This means use your charts but post a look out and steer around any obstructions you see!!
We approached the Barracuda Shoal with the tide .84' above low water so off we went. The water is so clear here that it only looks to be a few inches deep but we headed in. There are no markers here and a few turns to avoid the really shallow shoals. As we approached the charted 4' depths I was nervous but the water only shallowed to 7.3'. We made it!! Not recommended with cloud cover or rough conditions!!!!
As we exited the channel there was another sailboat coming opposite to us. We tried to hail him to advise of the depths but I guess his radio was off. He entered the channel three times then turned around and went another direction. This channel looks very intimidating as there is breaking water and shallows all around.
We continued to the Old Bahama Bay Marina.
It is located in a hurricane hole with easy access. We fuelled then proceeded to our slip. This marina is in a beautiful resort but unfortunately was underwater during Hurricane Matthew and still has not recovered. There is no power on the docks but we were Ok with our solar panels. Water is $15.00 per day for unlimited usage, which was a luxury so we could hose all the salt off Parka.
We stayed three nights because of strong wind.