We left Bimini the following day after exploring the town and taking it slow as our bodies began to feel normal again after all the pounding they had taken in the Gulf Stream crossing. Wow what a rough day and night…
Anyway, we decided rather quickly, based on forecasts and time frames, (Ken needed to be in Nassau by Friday), that we would leave right then at 4 pm. We would sail about 2 hours South to Cat Cay in the Berry Islands, where we would duck into the incredibly large and shallow Bahamas Bank and anchor. We would grab a little sleep and set sail by 1 am for Whale Cay in the Berry Islands Group hoping to arrive there late that afternoon. From Whale Cay it would only be about 8 hours to Nassau and we hoped to arrive there on Friday afternoon.
Side note; The Bahamas Banks are incredible! They are at times 50 miles wide and over 50 miles long. Where we crossed it was about 25 mile across. The real interesting part about the Bahamas Banks is that they are just 10 to 15 feet deep everywhere! At times we of course couldn’t see land, but we could always see the bottom. We could theoretically anchor anywhere we wanted to, it was all sand bottom and 10 feet deep.
Before we had left we had asked Captain Pat, a local salty Captain, about what it would be like on the Banks if the wind picked up, he simply replied “ how big can the waves get with jus' 10 feet of water." Hmmmm... I don't know
The wind was blowing quite hard in Alice town harbour and the current was once again pushing us agianst the dock. How were we going to get off!?
Ken and Krista tried pushing the bow off but that failed, the wind and current pushing against us was just too much. We were also worried that if we were to get off the dock with the wind and current being so strong, there was a big chance we would be pushed into the large fishing boats moored dead ahead of us at the public dock. Would there be enough room to get our engines fired up and Saltair 3 moving before crashing into these fishing boats a consequence of being pushed from wind and current? Not something we really wanted to chance.
I had asked Kaymani earlier if he would lend a hand and he had laughed at me, but just then he and another large fellow came walking down the dock to help!
He had a great suggestion to rig a spring mooring line on the boat at the dock and to run the engines hard forward pulling our nose out into the current and the wind. When the boat was firmly pointing out into the wind and current, with engines pulling hard forward, he would let go and we would slingshot out into the harbor and hopefully have close to full control keeping us away from the large fishing boats and the public docks. It worked and we were on our way.
The Bahamas Banks were fairly mellow compared to our passage so far, but as you leave the Banks to arrive in the Southern Berry Islands and Whale Cay you cross the “Tongue of the Ocean” and Northwest channel. This is a world class fishing area! There are many large 100’+ sport fishing boats out here.
We were excited to put out a fishing line and our entry to Bahamas inlcuded a fishing licence for the whole boat. We put in two lines one off each side of the boat. One with a lure and one with a Bally Hoo (a fresh frozen herring rigged with 2 hooks). Cole manned one rod and we left the other in the holder. In less than 10 minutes we had a Fish On! Cole landed a Baracuda. Right after that we had a Mahi Mahi was on the other rod, then right after re baiting we had another Mahi on the other rod! Wow! What great fishing!
We landed the Baracuda, one of the Mahi Mahi and lost one.
We had a Sushi feast for the next 2 days.
Mahi Mahi! Excellent Sushi
Cole Lands a Barracuda
We arrived at the Berry Islands and it was equally as beautiful. Very remote and pristine. We arrived late afternoon and spent the next day exploring the land and the reefs in the water including an abandoned light house building. That night we set our alarms for 0430 am and had the anchor stowed and were on our way by 0500. Sunrise is 0715. Next stop Nassau, New Providence!