It didn’t take us long to discover that we had the wrong anchor for the Bahamas. The weed-covered sand bottom was almost impenetrable to our 30-kilo Bruce anchor. After several attempts, I dove into the water with my face mask on to see what was happening while Ruthie tried to back Rutea down and I could see our anchor skipping across the sea bed, refusing to set. Ultimately, we were forced to tandem anchor – using two Bruce anchors, one shackled to the other with 50 feet of 3/8ths chain. Even though neither of these anchors would properly set, we knew it would take a substantial wind to cause us to drag with both of them out there.
|New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay
Of the roughly 700 islands that make up the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, the Abacos Islands in the northwest part of the archipelago, the Exumas in the central part and Great Inagua Island at the southeast extreme, only a small percentage are inhabited and many islands are privately owned (Johnny Depp owns one as does Nicholas Cage). We made our way to Marsh Harbor on Great Abaco Island where we rendezvoused with our good friend, Christie, who had recently sold her bed and breakfast on the Oregon coast. Freed from the 7/24 demands of being a hotelier, Christie was eager for warmth and downtime, although she arrived at the dinghy dock in the midst of a tropical downpour that had reduced visibility to just a few feet.
We found the charts for the Bahamas to be very accurate but the gin-colored water made depth perception difficult and we had to rely on our depth sounders as much of the water is extremely shallow. We never really got used to just having twelve inches of water beneath our keel but we still delighted in sailing in such delightful conditions, clear skies, gentle beam reaches and warm water. Catching a twenty-pound dorado (mahi mahi) on our way from Great Abaco Island to Harbour Island, about 50 miles, made for some delicious sashimi, ceviche and fish tacos.
Ruthie and I fall somewhere in the middle. So many of our most rewarding friendships have developed through our contacts in the cruising community and we feel our lives are richer for it. What struck both of us was that there wasn’t much of a community among the cruisers until we got to Georgetown, where hundreds of cruising boats gathered. The town itself was a little sleepy and dusty without much evidence of any unique Bahamian culture but we were able to find some fabulous jerked chicken.
|Roseate Spoonbill - Juvenile
|Matthew Town, Great Inagua Island