14 February 2011 | Allan's Cay
We finally took off from Nassau. As we were leaving to go east, we passed Jon and Arline in Kasidah going west. We were close enough to say good-bye. Jon commented that this was as close as we were going to get to sailing together this year. Arline and I took pictures of each other; I put the two I took in the gallery.
It was a nice sail; we had about 15 knots of wind on a close reach to a reach. Coming out of Nassau Harbor, when we first set the main we had close to 18 knots, so we put one reef in it. We didn’t stop for fuel as planned because we have better than half our tanks and both fuel docks we passed had boats fueling up and nowhere to tie. Consequently, we were early, and there is an area we had to cross called the Yellow Banks that is 14 to 16 feet deep, but studded with shallow coral heads. You are supposed to be able to see them easily, but not with the morning sun in your eyes. We didn’t want to reach that area before 11 AM, so we never took the reef out of the main.
Even so, we were doing better than 7 knots and got to the Yellow Bank at about 10:45. It was not fun. I had to stand on the bow and keep a look out for the coral heads. I put on my foul weather boots and pants because it was too cool for shorts and I didn’t want my boat shoes and jeans covered with salt water. The waves had settled down from the deeper water, but some were big enough to get the bow wet (Earendil is a wet boat, she cuts through the waves and takes a lot of water over the bow). It was easy to see the coral heads off to the sides of us or behind us, but not so easy right in front of us as we were headed into the sun. People had told us they went through there and never really came close to any, but for a while we were seeing a lot of them and there were at least three we had to alter course to miss.
But miss them we did. And we made it to the anchorage here at Allen’s Cay (or Allan’s depending on the guide book you read) at about 1:30. There were only 2 boats here when we pulled in and we were able to pull into the area that we wanted and drop the anchor in sand with no problem. We got the anchor set, but didn’t attach our snubber (a line that attaches to the anchor chain and then to your front cleats, so the force of the anchor and chain isn’t on the windlass- the device that winds the anchor up). Instead, we launched the dinghy, loaded up Fuzzy and our viewing bucket and went out to check how well the anchor was set and see if we could find the 50 foot anchor chain mark to see exactly how much chain was out there. The anchor was set nicely (again – that’s 2 for 2 for the Rocna), so we took Fuzzy ashore before we came back to let out some more chain and set up the snubber.
We couldn’t take Fuzzy to the closest beach because that’s where the Rock Iguanas live. There are a lot of them and they come right down to the beach. We’re anchored right along the beach where most of them hang out.
This isn’t exactly a deserted area, even though no one lives here. By the end of the afternoon there were 10 boats in the anchorage. (One of them is Rasmus, so we have found Scott and Brittany.) And for a while there were two fast excursion boats from Nassau that came and beached, so the folks could feed and take pictures of the Iguanas. While they were snapping photos of the Iguanas, I took a picture of them for the gallery.
It’s quiet now and would be just about perfect if two young men in a small steel sailboat hadn’t anchored right in the middle of three other boats. They were so close to us the first time they dropped anchor that we asked them to move, so we didn’t swing into them. They did move a bit. But there is wind and current from the tides here, and every boat reacts a little differently to the combination, so we aren’t all swinging together, and the steel boat is still too close for comfort. Oh well, if we bump in the night, they’re the ones who’ll have to pull up anchor and move.