February 12, 2023
We have been making our way south from Black Point in a pretty steady rhythm. This is just a short post to highlight some of the points along the route.
On Thursday we ran around Great Exuma Island on the west side to stay out of the wind. It was still bumpy, but we anchored in the lee of Rocky Point and it was the most calm and peaceful place we have been since we arrived in the Bahamas. Because the weather on Tuesday is the most important, we decided to continue moving.
On Friday we took a very short excursion from Rocky Point to the lee of Coakley Cay, and it was not nearly as settled as Thursday night. We were able to get through the requisite phone calls, and prepare for what was supposed to be better weather on Saturday. In the photo above you can see a recently grounded and abandoned boat on the back side of Coakley Cay. This adventure isn’t without it’s risks!
As we make this trip to Turks and Caicos, the most outstanding feature so far is how horribly wrong the weather reports are. The Friday weather was okay, perhaps as expected. We didn’t think too much about it because for an 8 nm trip from one rock to the next, a wrong decision isn’t horrible. Saturday and Sunday have been a different beast altogether.
Saturday we made the run from Coakley Cay to near ‘Hard Bargain’ on Long Island. The weather was so far from correct it was unsettling. With winds expected to be 17-20 knots, we thought it would be bumpy, but on the Great Exuma Bank, the waves wouldn’t be too high. The second part of that assessment is still correct. The winds howled at between 25 and 33 knots the entire trip and it was dead centre in front of us. The waves didn’t get much higher than 2-3 feet on the bank (no more than 4′ in the deeper water), but they just bashed all day.
The boat was much slower because of this and the ride was supremely uncomfortable. We did arrive just after sunset and put out the stabilizer, grabbed some quick food and went to bed. Sleeping wasn’t easy and I was up by 4 am starting the engine to get underway again.
The anchorage was very exposed to the wind from the SSE, and so the roll of the ocean was essentially unbearable at rest. Underway, the boat corrects for most of that and it is a bit more manageable.
An early departure set us up for a mid-day arrival at Fortune Island (Long Cay), but the area is also very exposed to winds from the SSE. We arrived before 1 pm, had some food, cleaned some salt off the boat and calmed down from the unrelenting waves from the past 48 hours.
If it seems all bad, it really isn’t. The views are nice, the weather is warm and mostly sunny and while the wind keeps blowing it still beats shoveling snow. Today was made even better by a visit from a pair of Brown Boobys. At first it was just one, but soon two, and they played around the boat for probably 20-30 minutes.
Playing may be an overstatement. It came to my attention after awhile they were actually hunting flying fish. As Home Free runs through the deeper ocean waters, we regularly scare up flying fish. Apparently the boobys know this too, and flew along side and chased the flying fish that were spooked. Watching them dive to catch a fish was exciting.
Now we sit at anchor just to the South of Fortune Island/Long Cay, and are preparing for (hopefully) a shorter day tomorrow again, before we run to Mayaguana on Tuesday. This is all weather dependent, and with the problems with (inaccuracy of) the weather reports, we will have to see how it goes as we progress. But tonight sleep will be a welcome visitor.