Crossing the Bahamas Banks / Berry Islands Adventures / into Nassau

We ended up leaving Bimini a day later, as it was so windy Monday morning, we couldn’t figure out how to get out of our tight boat slip in the very tight marina without risking being blown into another boat.

On Tuesday (April 20) we motored north towards north rock (we had a south wind) and once we made the turn east, put up both sails. We were on a broad reach, which was perfect for sailing the way we wanted to go.

Sailors (including us) always complain that there is either too much or too little wind, or that if it is the right amount, it is not coming from the direction you want to go. Not this time! With 14 to 18 knots of wind, we averaged 7 to 8 knots all day under full sails. It was sailing heaven!

We anchored out on the banks again because the forecast had called for a relatively quiet night. It was our 3rd time anchoring out on the banks, but we will never get used to being anchored out in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight!

Sunset was cloudy, so we went straight to pizza dinner, a beer and bedtime. It ended up being a rough night after all, and it was still blowing 16 knots when we got up at 7 am. We pulled anchor and set sail again, but needless to say the wind died within 30 minutes. Where was yesterday’s wind ? We were committed to sailing though, and only had about 25 miles to go, so we sailed along doing 3 to 4 knots with just the mainsail in 8 to 10 knot following winds.

We got to Great Harbour Cay around 3 pm, pulled into the basin before the marina, and set the anchor. This is the perfect spot to sit out a northerly blow (there are few of those spots in the Berrys).

We spent a few days catching up with our friends in Bullocks Harbour from last year, and made some new ones, got our 5 day Covid Rapid Test, provisioned, did laundry, and  just enjoyed being in our old “stomping grounds”. We went back to Sugar Beach several times, went for swims, and enjoyed a perfect lunch at the Beach Club. It was so nice to rid the marina bicycles around and see everything open and back to life, church services going on and shops open!

On April 29 we pulled the anchor again, went north around Great Harbor and past Stirrup Cay (the cruise ship island they call Coco Cay, which of course has not been reopened yet) and then south to Soldier Cay.

Stirrup Cay empty cruise ships

We had to beat into a 20 knot wind on the nose with 4 to 6 foot waves, so we only got to sail part of the way. Sushi took to her favorite place on the berth, wher it does not matter which way the boat heels or rocks, it is always comfortable:

We anchored behind Soldier Cay, and we were the only boat in the lagoon, with a beautiful white sand beach and crystal-clear water:

The next day we hiked along the beach and across the rocks, then lifted anchor around 2 pm to go further south to Little Harbour Cay. We met Linda and Allan on the Wildflower Catamaran, a very nice couple that had just run aground coming into the anchorage , fortunately close to low tide , and warned us on the radio as we were coming in. They invited us onto their boat in the evening, and we spent a fun evening over a few drinks and much laughter.

The next day we paddleboarded (Anya) and kayaked (Rob) to the beach, and then to the famous Flo’s to make a reservation for dinner. There is no menu, they just serve what they have, and you have to tell them in advance that you are coming. Back at the boat, a squall with about 20 plus knots blew through, and our anchor dragged, so we had to reset the anchor. Then an ocean bath, and off to Flo’s in the dinghy. Dinner was delicious Conch Fritters, followed by fried Snapper, Cracked Conch, beans and rice, and cole slaw, all accompanied by a cold Kalik:

The next day had us lift anchor again and head back up to Soldier Cay for better protection from the Southeast wind, and to wait for a good day to cross over to Nassau, where we will pick up our new dinghy motor!

The wind was very strong overnight, and we were glad to be in a protected anchorage for some nice sound sleep. Another perfect Monday of relaxing and beaching, and on Wednesday we will be going to Nassau. We already have reservations at Palm Cay Marina on the southeast side of New Providence.

Tuesday waiting out the wind at Soldier Cay, our fridge quit. Rob tried to pinpoint the problem, and it seems our compressor is broken. Thank goodness we still have the portable Engel fridge, but of course we can’t fit everything in there, so we will try to eat as much as we can and the rest will unfortunately go to waste. Cold beer will now be a real problem OMG!, and we can basically forget about provisioning in Nassau. At least we have lots of cans and dry goods on board, but we will miss our daily salads!

Wednesday morning we got up at 5 am and lifted anchor at 6 am. The wind was still blowing on the nose and we had 11 hours to go, so we bit the bullet and motored. It was pretty rough, but otherwise the crossing to New Providence was uneventful, except that the fridge made a miracle halfway recovery to 60 degrees. We will need to find a good ice box in Nassau. Coming in we passed Atlantis on Paradise Island:

We pulled into Palm Cay Marina at 5 pm on Cinco de Mayo, checked in, has some dinner on the boat (lots of food needs to be eaten now with only a tiny fridge working) and then a nice shower. The facilities here are really wonderful! Sushi and Miss Wilson came out right away too, and couldn’t wait to get on the dock to explore.

On a side note, we installed waterflow inhibitors on our faucets before we left, and have only been “showering” in the ocean with a freshwater spritz afterwards, so including our drinking water we have only used 40 gallons in 18 days between the 2 of us. That makes only 1.1 gallons per person per day!

2 Replies to “Crossing the Bahamas Banks / Berry Islands Adventures / into Nassau”

  1. Hallo Anya,
    unseren ersten Segeltörn durften wir auch ab Nassau in die Bahamas unternehmen. Wir beneiden euch und wünschen euch weiterhin viel Spaß auf eurer genialen Reise. Liebe Grüße aus dem Schwarzwald Dany und Thomas

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