Only a Day Away
04 December 2016 | Abacos Bahamas
What a contrast....one day we are anchored in a bustling busy harbor full of commercial ships and mega yachts, the next we are anchored in a secluded bay on a deserted island. Fifteen hours to Paradise.
With a favorable wind out of the SE, predicted to go S, we left Lake Worth at 0830 on Thursday December 1st. We like crossing the Gulf Stream in daylight so we can see to drive the waves and monitor the shipping channels easily for freighters and cruse ships. The seas were choppy at first, more like Green Bay than ocean, but totally manageable motor sailing on a tight reach. In fact, we were surprised to find less wind and waves in the middle of the Stream. Skies were bright and sunny. We keep pinching ourselves at the luck to get such a good day to cross. We saw less than a dozen boats crossing either north or south of our track.
We arrived at our waypoint of Memory Rock an hour before sunset, just as planned. As there was a chance of squalls, and an obvious front behind us, we took in the sails to continue by motor alone. We are very conservative in our transits and we try not to go forward on deck for maneuvers after dark. By the way, our depths in the Stream +2300 feet dropped to 9 feet in the Little Bahama Banks, where we traveled for seven hours.
Those seven hours were the blackest black night either of us have ever experienced. Visibility was less than a boat length in front. Off to the starboard side the lights from Freeport glowed, but ahead it appeared were we driving in a black tunnel. Color was nonexistent, only shades of black, except for the occasional red or green of a navigation light. Even the water lost ifs green blue tinge and appeared next to the boat as a greige wave. Very weird! Sailing blindly along at seven knots is pretty intimidating.
Finally off in the distance we saw a few anchor lights of boats at Great Sale Cay, our destination for the night. Since we had been there last spring we were familiar with the bay and we were confident in our ability to get in safely in the dark. But thank goodness for GPS and good charts!
We dropped anchor at 2220 hrs (1120pm), a great run. After a midnight snack and a small Scotch, we set our anchor alarm and fell asleep almost immediately.