Maybe it was because we were tired from our Gulf Stream crossing, but when I saw our first Bahamian anchorage all I could think of was dropping the hook and having a beer. I didn't even think about taking a moment to stop and stare at all of the splendid beauty and scenic landscapes around me - because there wasn't any. At least to this untrained eye.
I think it all comes down to expectations. My only real sailing and cruising experience is in New Zealand. Do you like dramatic scenery? Then New Zealand is the place for you. I think there's a reason they make all those Lord of the Rings and Narnia movies there. It's drop dead gorgeous. The Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Islands are chock full of volcanic islands, rugged cliffs and stunning anchorages. It looks something like this.
|Great Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand|
Our first stop after the crossing was Mangrove Cay. Although we don't have a picture of the anchorage, you can get a glimpse of its flatness in the picture below. Not quite what I was expecting, but I was glad to see it as we were shattered by this point.
|Putting the sails up on our way from Mangrove Cay to Great Sale Cay|
So, how did we find ourselves at what I now affectionately call Pancake Cay? Once we passed Memory Rock, we found ourselves in the Little Bahama Bank, which is a shallow sea around 85 nautical miles wide and 35 nautical miles long. After crossing the deep waters of the Gulf Stream, it was amazing to look out at miles and miles of nothing but water so clear and so shallow you can see the bottom. It's at this point, I really start to pay attention to our depth sounder! I know everyone grounds their boat sooner or later, I would just rather it be later.
We motored for hours across the Little Bahama Bank, surrounded by nothingness, until we came across Mangrove Cay. It's a tiny little island. Basically, just a rest stop while you're on your way to someplace else. Kind of like Walmart is for RVers. Except, in this case, no one lives on Mangrove Cay so you can't pop out for some milk and bread. I don't think anyone really lands on it, unless they have a dog.
We stayed on our boat the entire time because (a) we don't have a dog; (b) it didn't look that interesting; (c) we were tired and possibly a bit cranky and (d) we were under quarantine.
"Quarantine? What are you talking about? What horrible disease do you have?" This is what you might be asking yourself if you're not a cruiser. Once you cross into another country's territorial waters, you have to hoist up a yellow flag, also known as a Q flag. You're basically like a social pariah who has to be quarantined until you clear into the country. While you're flying the Q flag, you're not supposed to set foot on land. You can sail around and anchor where you want, but you have to stay on your boat. That was fine by us.
After getting some shut-eye at Mangrove Cay, we hoisted the anchor, put the sails up for the first time and made our way to Great Sale Cay, or what I affectionately call Crepe Cay. Yep, that's right another flat as a pancake (or French crepe) island. No people. No shops. No going onshore. Just another road-stead on our way to clear into the Bahamas.
LOGBOOK NOTES | Thursday 14 May 2015
Total Nautical Miles - 36
Total Hours - 8 hours 25 minute
Number of Tacks - Too many (discovered our winches need to be serviced)
Anchor Up - Mangrove Cay
Anchor Down - Northwest Harbour, Great Sale Cay
Days Flying the Q Flag - 2
Next time on the blog...we try to clear into the Bahamas, discover its charms and meet up with the crazy cats on S/V Wild Blue.
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