December 2, 2009.
This is by far the earliest we’ve ever been able to cross to the Bahamas. Last year it wasn’t until February 13th and the year before it was January 11th. The weather during the Bahamanian cruising season mellows as the season progresses. So I was always able to justify our late crossing by saying that we’d just be missing the worst of the weather.
This year we got an early start and arrived just in time for some, that’s right, crappy weather. We had a very calm and windless night for the crossing and yesterday we were up and out at daybreak. Our destination was Goat Cay in the Berry Island group. We had stopped there for a single night on our way south last year and it seemed that it would offer the protection that we would need from a frontal system due to arrive later this evening.
We were making great time so the crews of Solitaire and Veranda decided to press on a bit. The front was supposed to bring winds in the 20 to 30 knot range with squalls approaching 40 all from the south. We would have liked to get to the cut at Devils / Hoffman where we spent 10 (glorious) days a couple of years ago, but it was just to far for us to arrive in daylight. We opted instead for a large cove on the eastern side of Great Harbor Cay. The place offered great protection from the south although promised to be a bit rolly.
We entered the cove behind Hawksnest Cay followed closely by Solitaire. There were already 2 boats lying at anchor. We snuck past them and positioned ourselves upwind of them for when the wind started to crank. We set the hook at full RPM’s and settled in for the night in 9 feet of water with a hundred feet of chain out.
We dropped the dink and went over to Solitaire for dinner and discussed options. As of that moment we didn’t really have any. We were 10 miles from Devils/ Hoffman and there were 3 boats already in there. The forecast hadn’t gotten any worse, it was just that the wind was going to be out of the south for longer than first predicted. If it abated a bit we might make the 10 mile jump down to Devils or maybe even Adler Cay but we’d have to see.