Jan 26-27, 2016
It looks like we have 2 days to get across the Bank before another front rolls through. We do not run the boat at night in the Bahamas. There are way too many unmarked things to hit: coral heads, reefs, shifting sand bars. Because we had to wait for the harbor master to take our electric usage reading and get the receipt, we could not leave earlier than 8:15. We would have to anchor on “The Bank” overnight. The shallow waters can kick up quickly with wind changes, so we wanted to make sure the “weather window” was good. No time to enjoy the Thirsty Turtle seafood pizza on South Bimini this trip.
We anchored about 25 miles off the NW corner of Andros. There was crazy hull slapping noises all night long and the boat was rocking about. Everyone had to take more Bonine in the middle of the night. So much for a great “weather window.”
Our original “plan” was to anchor at Chub Cay and ride out the storm that was brewing. However, Mark heard over the VHF that boats were dragging anchor from the winds the previous night. We could try to make it all of the way to New Providence and find shelter from the storm, or we could tuck in at Morgan’s Bluff on the North point of Andros. We had options, depending on how the “weather window” was treating us. We could not spend another night on the Bank, because the seas would build and make it much, much worse. We had to move forward.
The trip turned out to be another miserable day with the hull hammering and being tossed around. The reported 10-15 knot winds and 3-5 ft seas turned out to be 25-30 constant with 35+ gusts and 10-15 ft seas. Angie again, was passed out from the meds. Mark had more than one 20 ft wave set (they seem to come in 3’s) roll over the boat and crash at the stern. The two engines were running at 1600 rpms. It should have given us 7.8 knots of speed, but we averaged 2.8 from the waves and troughs and the current ripping through the Tongue of the Ocean entrance. We were not going to make it to Chub nor New Providence. We were lucky to make it to Andros before dark. It was the toughest day so far for us on the boat. Angie missed it, but saw the aftermath. A cleat was yanked out of the fiberglass. A reef line snapped. A genoa line unknotted and frayed. Bilge pumps were constantly cycling. One of our new trampoline tension lines snapped.
Mark has now experienced first hand what it would be like to single-hand a passage and does not like it. More than once, both of us thought, “What are we doing?? Trying to meet deadlines again….Is it worth losing our boat or our lives?” We knew we should not have been out there.