Crooked Island

Bird Island Light from a distance.

A quick note first – hurricane Matthew just blew past Crooked Island. Our thoughts are with the people there, and in the rest of the Bahamas. With all our hearts, we hope no harm came to them.

We left Rum Cay determined to sail – not motor – to our next destination. We couldn’t be sure, until we got away from the island, exactly what the wind would be doing. To accommodate the uncertainty, we set a number of potential destinations in our chart plotter, and decided we’d make the eastern-most one that the wind would allow. Clarencetown, Long Island if the wind was south of east, Crooked Island, Plana Cays, or Mayaguana if we had a little more luck and the wind was pure east or north of east.

It turned out that we could not have been luckier if we had tried, because we ended up at Crooked Island, which we would have otherwise passed by, and it was just amazing. Not just the island itself, which would have been enough, but the beautiful people we met there, both on land and on another boat.

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Cay Hopping to Georgetown


Alan hunting a big grouper
Alan hunting a big grouper

We left Staniel Cay with the intention to get to Georgetown pretty quickly, but in short hops. We pulled into a different anchorage each night, and left early in the mornings.

First we stopped at Little Farmers Cay. Our timing was off for the tides, so it was a really sporty ride getting through the cut, but we made it without incident. This is the first place we’ve been where our Navionics charts have been WAY off. They showed 1-3 feet of water in a large area where we found nothing less than eight feet. Fortunately, by now we felt pretty confident in our ability to read the water, so we proceeded with caution, and were fine. Our ancient Explorer Charts showed more depth, and were ultimately more accurate, and that also gave us confidence. We had a nice evening there visiting with the crew of s/v Monarch, who pulled in right after us from the other side. We took off as soon as we had decent light in the morning. Leaving, we also sailed right over water marked on the chart as 3.5 – 4 feet, but had plenty of depth: 8 feet or more again. We re-entered the Atlantic side of the water through Galliot Cay Cut, and were stunned at the beauty of that area. We hated to pass it by, and I’m sure we’ll return someday. Read more

Warderick Wells – Exumas Land and Sea Park

Cliffs at Warderick Wells
Cliffs at Warderick Wells

Warderick Wells

We left Shroud Cay on a forecast of 12-17 knots of favorable wind and 3-5 foot seas. Let me tell you what I’ve learned about forecasts: they are sometimes made up. They are made up to encourage boaters to get out and sail, I guess. Often, they have little to do with reality. This was one of those times. The wind direction was less favorable than predicted, which was ok but meant that, in order to sail, we had to go a little wide of our destination. OK, we do this all the time. No big deal. The wind was also 20-25 knots as the day went on, gusting 30ish. Well, that’s a good bit of wind, but we have had 30 knot gusts before. Not ideal, but doable. Our boat can handle that, and so can we. The real issue was the sea state. 3-5 feet? Try 6-8. Gross. Uncomfortable. Hard on the boat, hard on the crew. And it caused us to make ridiculously slow progress. We had planned to get into Warderick Wells at slack tide, but instead we got to come in against the running tide to take a mooring in the narrow river of water at this park. We made it fine, but my nerves were shot by the time we did. Read more