Crossing back to the States
Watching the weather forecast helped make our departure decision easy. The best crossing day was Monday which meant we needed to be at Great Sale Cay by late Sunday afternoon.
We had left Marsh Harbor in brisk winds out of the northeast. We had not heard a “Whale” report but knew it would be tough. Since we were towing our dinghy we stopped at Bakers Bay just prior to entering the Atlantic to hoist the dink to the flybridge. No easy task in the now 20 knot + winds. Approaching the Whale we got a call on 16 from a sailboat a few miles behind us. They wanted to know what we saw ahead. We were too far off to offer any immediate advice.
The cut or “Whale Cay passage” has experienced more boating deaths and accidents than all other Bahamas locations combined. It is not to be underestimated. As we made the turn to port from the Atlantic to approach the center of the cut we could see short, steep seas but they were not breaking. An outgoing tide with an hour left to slack did not help. We surfed through the cut safely but it was rough. We radioed back our experience to the sailboat behind. Once through, sea conditions improved and we made Green Turtle by mid afternoon.
Great Sale Cay is a popular jumping off spot for the states. It is a 60 mile trip to Great Sale from where we were anchored at Green Turtle Cay. The ride was spectacular with bright blue skies and perfect northeast winds. We passed two trawlers heading east and then a Gozzard sloop passed all of us.
We were treated to a family of dolphins swimming in harmony alongside our boat. We counted five in all. They stayed with us for about ten minutes and then were suddenly gone. We never saw them again.
Of course we tried our hand at fishing and had great success. Our first catch was easily bested by our largest catch of the trip. We took turns reeling it in and was just in the process of bring it on board when the leader snapped. You can see below the size of the Mackerel we “had” on the line.
We left from Great Sale Cay at midnight on Sunday. The weather forecast was perfect, and spot on, and we crossed the Little Bahama Bank in the inky blackness. Our radar tracked two other boats all night long nine miles off our position and going in the same direction. We did not catch a glimpse of them till well after daybreak.
We made the edge of the bank around dawn. The ride had been incredibly smooth throughout the night and only got a little bouncy when we entered the gulf stream. Winds from the east kept the seas flat.
Along the way we decided to try our hand at fishing one last time before our late afternoon approach to Fort Pierce. And we got a great strike.
We entered the Fort Pierce inlet at 5PM and anchored for the night just south of Harbor Isle. At 8AM we pulled into the lift slip at Cracker Boys Marina and their new 75 ton remote travel lift easily plucked us from the water. We expect to be one week on the hard getting the bottom painted, fluids changed and other minor work before we splash and head to St Simons GA for a six week layover at Morningstar Marina.