Bahamian cruising

We dropped anchor in Abrahams Bay on Mayaguana because the wind had disappeared. We had to stay out quite a bit because the bay is very shallow, but dinghied into town as soon as we knew that the hook was set. Shore was five miles away – so far away that we had to refuel the outboard half way. We were blown away by Mayaguanas beauty and simplicity. The main settlement only consists of a couple of houses, but has a customs & immigration office, a phone store and a bar. What more do you need, right?

We checked into the Bahamas, which was quick but extremely expensive. For a whopping 300 dollars you can get a cruising permit for the season (six months). If you only stay for three weeks like us, its the same price! Next time, we’ll definitely stick around for a whole season. After this cash drain we were 4 dollars short to buy a simcard. And as you can imagine, this tiny island didn’t have any bank or ATM! We went on to the bar, where we met all the other sailors of the anchorage. Some had already noticed us coming in and everyone knew each other by name. They gave us some useful tips on how to continue our way to Nassau, which was still a long sail from Mayaguana.

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Checking on the anchor, can you believe this water colour?

Overnight, the wind changed and it got very rolly in the anchorage. But at least there was wind again! We immediately sailed on, as it was more comfortable being underway than staying in the anchorage.

Our next stop, the Highborne Cut, was still 2-3 days away so we got right into sea rhythm again. It was a perfect sail, with just the right amount of wind and very little waves (until the last night).

We were still a bit tired from the previous sail, so we had no trouble getting to sleep for a few hours every time. Thomas wanted to take a little nap for an hour, but when it was time for our shift change he was passed out so deeply that I absolutely couldn’t wake him up. I shook him, turned on the lights, turned on music, made a tea, shook him again and then I gave up and let him sleep a bit longer. I was a bit scared for a short moment, but I saw he was still breathing so that was reassuring.

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Scehawk was flying along with the good wind and little waves that we had. We were even arriving a night early! But we would arrive in the dark, so we went through our options. We could heave to (which is basically letting the boat drift with little sail), but there were a lot of waves which would make it impossible to sleep. So we went on to find a big, sheltered and easily accessible bay. That isn’t easy in the Bahamas, where there are shallow patches and reef everywhere! We found one just above the Highborne Cut, which we would later use to cut across the Bahama Reef into the Bank. With wind gusting up to 30 knots and very, very high waves, this bay with an access on the lee shore looked like a suicide mission at first. We decided to slowly try our way in, and if it was impossible we would sail back and heave to anyway. I was so nervous I nearly cried but managed to steer the boat right where we wanted to be (with two navigational devices plus Thomas’ eagle eyes to check our position). Success!

We woke up to stormy weather, so we decided to try and anchor on the inside of the Bank. This was another almost impossible mission, going back to that large waves and steering the boat through a tiny little cut in the reef. The cut was so small we could almost touch the reef on both sides.. It made me too nervous so Thomas stepped in as a hero and steered us through the cut. The inside was much calmer, and we enjoyed a nice and well-deserved relaxed afternoon at the beach. Now we’re REALLY in the Bahamas!

We also explored a tiny bay around the corner, with an island where a group of endangered iguanas live. This was a perfect little hideaway for the bad weather that once again had come our way. We chilled on the boat, baked bread and prepared ourselves for the sail to Nassau, 40 miles right across the shallow Bahama Bank!

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