Saturday, February 6, 2021

Little Sale Cay

February 6 2021 20:00
Little Sale Cay

Around midnight last night we were approaching Memory Rock, the entrance to the Little Bahama Bank north of Grand Bahama Island. Despite shortening sail to the minimum for sailing upwind, we were still loping along at over six knots. The water was over 600 feet deep. And then, 10 minutes later, it was only 32 feet deep!

The Bahamas are like great limestone plateaus with deep canyons between them. Some of these plateaus are islands, exposed above the water. Others are submerged, vast areas of shallow waters called banks. Our rapid decrease in water depth occurred as we crossed the nearly vertical wall of the Little Bahama Bank.

Once in the shallow water and in the lee of Grand Bahama Island, the seas calmed and the wind decreased to create ideal conditions for us to slow down the boat so as to arrive at our anchorage when the sun would be high enough for us to "read" the shallow waters.

The Little Bahama Bank seemed to stretch out forever, the water a dusty light blue with a touch of green. It reminds me of the ocean equivalent of driving across the flat plains of Nebraska.

Fairly strong southerly winds are forecast for tonight. The anchorage at Great Sale Cay where we originally planned to stop is exposed to the south, so we diverted to tuck in behind Little Sale Cay, a pretty little limestone island that will provide much better protection.

We circumnavigated Little Sale Cay in the dinghy. Most of the shoreline is weathered limestone cliffs rising vertically five to 15 feet above the water. Water has carved deep fissures in the faces of the cliffs and waves have undercut them to create ledges and little caves. Very interesting and beautiful.

After our dingy tour, we cleaned up the boat and I fixed my forward navigation light which was very burning very dim as we were sailing last night. It was probably not visible from more than couple of hundred yards away, rather than its required 2 mile range. It turned out the LED bulb was not making proper contact with its fixture. I had to rebuild it to make it work properly. Now other boats will be able to figure out what direction we are going in at night.

Tomorrow we depart at sunrise to sail the 50 nautical miles to Green Turtle Cay where we will officially clear into The Bahamas. We are presently flying our yellow "Q" (Quarantine) flag as required until cleared in. Quite appropriate in these days of COVID.