Overnight - Long Island to Mayaguana
15 March 2013 | Mayaguana Island, Bahamas
During the days leading up to our freediving course, we had been keeping an eye on the weather looking for an opportunity to move eastwards towards the Turks and Caicos Islands and then on to the Dominican Republic. The challenge is that the prevailing wind is from the east, which means that unless you really like beating slowly to windward against the trades, you want a wind from almost any direction other than the normal one. The wind had shifted to the north on Thursday, but was forecast to shift back to the east early on Saturday, so it was either head off as soon as we finished our diving course on Friday afternoon, or wait for another week or so. None of us were very keen on our first overnight passage since sailing down to the Bahamas in November, but the alternative was to do the same passage in multiple hops over the next week or so.
It was a long night but nothing went wrong. In fact the wind veered slowly enough from NE around to E, that we could sail the whole way on a port tack in a big curve - east over the top of Crooked/Acklins, then SE across to the southern side of Mayaguana, till we finally had to motor the last 6 miles upwind along the S shore of Mayaguana. However, it was rough and windy (20 knots) and we were sailing almost as close to the wind as we can manage in those conditions, so it required pretty constant attention to the autopilot as the wind kept shifting during the night. Of course going upwind in 20 knots of wind at an average speed of just under 7 knots was pretty bumpy and surprisingly cool. The photo shows Marta the next morning still in her new foulies - which she loves.
The last 5 miles was wending our way across Abraham Harbor which is about 5 miles long, 10ft deep, with scattered coral heads that need avoiding. We finally dropped anchor around 1pm, having done 130 miles in the 20 hours since leaving Clarence Town on Long Island.
Once anchored at Mayaguana, we relaxed for the next 5 days waiting for the next weather change so we could continue east on the final leg to the Turks and Caicos Islands. It was a quiet 5 days catching up on schoolwork, some snorkeling and a trip to shore to see the town - our last stop in the Bahamas.