Anchoring out on the Grand Bahama Bank

Jan. 27, 2014: This post will mean more to those who have read the first chapter of Night Watch. I posted a draft of it on this blog some time ago. Hopefully, I can find it in the archives and direct you to it.

023We arrived in Bimini after a night out on the Grand Bahama Bank which Carter describes in Night Watch,as a magical and mysterious expanse of water, never more than twenty feet deep. A night when the wind dies and the seas calm are rare. Too often the wind comes up and the seas bounce the boat around, causing the cruisers to pull up anchor and head for Chub Cay or Bimini on too little sleep.

For us, it started just this way. The sea was flat. 002We left Nassau for Chub Cay but as the day progressed it seemed possible to do the run straight to Bimini, anchoring on the Bank for the night.  Part of  our decision to do this was because we have a weather window on Tuesday to cross to the U.S. and we didn’t want to miss it.

Just as Carter did, we stopped short of the Mackie Shoal light, and went off course a safe distance from the shipping channel to Nassau, thus avoiding a collision with a freighter while we slept.

008Like Carter, we watched the red ball sink on the horizon and the stars come out, absorbing the silence and remoteness. There was not another boat as far as we could see. It’s a bit of an eerie feeling. Very alone.

As we dropped anchor and turned on our anchor light, we talked about Kat and what she must have felt when she was swimming for her life. She kicked off her shoes and oriented herself toward what she had to believe was the light of a sailboat and not a bright star near the horizon. It was her only chance. Trying to calm the panic rising in her chest choking off her breath, she repeated; It is a sailboat, it is a sailboat, matching her chant to her strokes.

Our only disruption in the night, was the noise of the water slapping the hull as the wind and seas came up. Ed was up three times checking the anchor and our position on the chartplotter. Finally at 4:45 we gave up, made coffee, pulled up the anchor and were under way by 5:20.

This ends our cruise for this winter. We have very mixed feelings, but we have a new travel adventure to look forward to and we need to get back to ship our car to Africa for the rally. We will be back next sailing season. We know, we’ve seen the rainbow, ask any Bahamian, it means you will return. 003

Jan and Ed on Sable

About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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1 Response to Anchoring out on the Grand Bahama Bank

  1. TBC says:

    So sorry your extended time in Bahamian waters was cut short, but we all look forward to seeing you back in HB.



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