April 14, 2009.
The sail up to Royal Island was great for the first 25 miles or so and then the wind got flukey and died off. We had to start the engine and motorsail for the last 15 miles.
Our journey today would take us through the Current Cut. They don’t call it “Current” because it just happened either. The tide rips through this narrow, reef lined cut. The tide was supposed to change and be in our favor around 1300 hours. We scheduled our trip to arrive at 1330 so we could ride the ebbing tide through the cut.
During our trip, Norm from Blown Away related the story of the last time he had been through the cut. It seemed that he arrived under full sail in 25 knots of wind at dead low tide. He had his 6 foot draft boat screaming through the approach at 7 ½ knots in 7 feet of water. He made out okay, but he was still very relieved to be going through this time on such a beautiful day and just after high tide.
So, of course, 2 hours later as we approached the cut the sky became ominus. We were the last of 6 boats as we drew near to the cut. Off our port bow several water spouts were attempting to form from the bottom of the cloud. So, in my minds eye I’m picturing us topping Norm’s “Current Cut horror story” as we meet a waterspout in the middle of the cut. Boats going through the cut were reporting speeds of 7, 8, 8 ½ and 9 knots as the tide started to run. By the time we ran the cut we saw 9.8 knots.
Once through the cut several of the boats turned to face the freshening breeze in an effort to drop sail. We had all sail flying and as a result, so were we, as we barreled along at 7 ½ knots for the last 8 miles of the day. We did have one waterspout almost completely form behind us as we charged along. It was far enough back that we could have dropped sail if it had become an issue but we weren’t going to give it that opportunity.
The anchorage at Royal Island is one of the most protected spots in all the Bahamas. Once inside we found ourselves part of a 12 boat mini armada. Most were planning to move north to the Abacos while we were heading west to the Berries the next day.
Funny thing about the next day was that nobody went anywhere. The wind was blowing 20 to 25 knts from the south with very confused 6 to 10 foot seas running, so everybody decided to stay put.
They say an idle mind is the devils workshop or some such crap. We had a little too much time to think while we were there and changed our itinerary a “bit”. The Berries are out and the Abacos are in. The wind and seas were forecast to make a westerly trip to the Berries a nightmare for several days. While a northward run up to the Abacos looked a bit more promising. So rather than sit for a few days we decided to make our first trip to the Abacos.