We left our anchorage at Chub Cay around 5:30 am in the full dark. The night was clear and we could easily see the the other anchored boats, the small islands and the markers that led to the main shipping channel. The prevailing east wind was already up enough to sail so down wind we went.
We figured we had about 85 nautical miles to sail. We hoped we could get into a marina by twilight… as long as we could maintain a decent rate of speed. We also hoped the wind would stay up so we could sail the entire way.
The sunrise was beautiful. The stars gradually disappeared as the sky got lighter and lighter. There was one ship far away to our south, likely heading for Andros Island (if you’ve watched the HGTV show “Island of Bryan”, you might wonder if the ship had supplies for Bryan and his staff at his Caerula Mar Club on south Andros!)
The sun was out and the day was pleasantly warm. The sailing was steady and comfortable for most of the day. The waters along our route are quite shallow and many cruisers on slower boats actually anchor on these banks overnight rather than try to do this hop in the dark. But as predicted, in the afternoon the wind dropped from 12 knots or so to around 5 or maybe less. Dang. Jim decided to motor sail the rest of the way to North Bimini. So, for the last four hours, we motored across beautiful clear waters to our last stop in the Bahamas. Quite a few boats were headed in the same direction over the day, probably trying to get home too.
We arrived as the sun was low in the sky. I remember Jim saying that he didn’t think we would make it during daylight – as we always seem to be arriving in the dark!!
As we got close enough to the islands to get a cell signal, I learned that the Bahamian government had imposed new rules in their efforts to help to stop the spread of Covid-19. The new orders – to start the next day – stated that residents were to stay on their own properties now unless going for groceries or fuel. This was a 24 hour curfew. Only essential businesses would be open. Marinas were likely to be closed too. Once again I felt we were 1 day late to achieve certain goals. In this case, we had a package waiting for us at The Bimini Post Office. Now even the Post Office was closed and we weren’t allowed on the streets of Alice Town. As visitors we could go to get groceries or fuel but we really had no need to go ashore. We stills had plenty of supplies. So our plans were foiled again. We would leave the package in Bimini and try to get it later once the pandemic was over.
As the sun set over Florida 50 miles away, we made a decision and anchored off of Radio Beach on the west side of North Bimini instead of going to a marina. It was quiet and peaceful. Nobody was on the streets that we could see, not much sound from the homes nearby. It was slightly eerie. We had a pretty rolly night due to gentle waves rolling in off of the Florida Straights. We knew it would be rolly from notes on our electronic navigation charts and it was a great jumping off point to head to Florida, but I don’t think I’ll ever elect to anchor there again!
Below are some of the screenshots of wind and tide info we use to plan our passages. (Windfinder app whose info we we take with a grain of salt, and tide info on Navionics which we can use offline!)
Setting out from Chub Cay with our navigation lights on. It’s cool how they light up our pontoons and the forward screecher sail.
Sunrise in the Northwest Providence Channel as we sail westward.
The “cruise ship” dock which was built by the huge resort just visible at the left. We heard a few years ago that visitors to the resort were actually warned to not go to Alice Town as it was dangerous. Give me a break!! The locals in Alice Town were great last time we were there.
Almost to our beach where we’d anchor for the night off of North Bimini. We dropped the hook about 300′ from shore in 10′ of depth in front of the trees to the right of the shot above.