Warderick Wells to Pipe Cay

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Sat 15 Feb 2014 19:59
24:15.28N, 076:31.21W  Pipe Cay
We sat out two very bouncy nights just off Emerald Rock at Warderick Wells. The wind was in the wrong direction for moving southwards and more importantly it was too strong, kicking up nasty short seas on the banks. So we sat where we were until things died down. We were then able to motor to Pipe Cay in the Compass Cay area where we were to enjoy another interesting night.
In our efforts to find some new places to drop the hook we picked out a very long but narrow anchorage just off Pipe Cay. The anchoring area just off the rocks was minimal before the shallow sand banks started. Add to that a tidal current that either ebbed or flowed depending on the state of tide (except when it was slack water).  We either had to be brave and position the anchor close to the shore and rely on the wind to keep us away from the rocks at the change of the tide or drop closer to the sand bank that ran along the edge of the island and risk touching at low water.
As a harbinger for what was to come we ran aground on the way into the anchorage with our starboard keel. That's the one that doesn't have an echo sounder to indicate depths. We managed to power off and find the deeper water wondering if this anchorage was really for us. But there was another boat at anchor further along the cay which drew more than we do so we ploughed on, so to speak. After deliberating we finally dropped the hook just off the bank and dug in for the night.
Sand, sand everywhere  - the pinker colouring in the water
As the tide slacked on the change from ebb to flood the wind decided to play a part and pushed our starboard side partially onto the sandbank against a ridge of sand - one keel on the bank, one keel in deep water, and there we stayed for the evening, with high tide due sometime around midnight. As the bank was very shallow we thought that we would stay just as we were until the tide ebbed again and back round we would go. That wasn't the case as around midnight the 'Admiral' woke 'Skip' to say we were softly bouncing on the bank which was disconcerting. If the tide was now on the ebb, that is out flowing, we didn't want to be left sitting on the bank at the top of the tide held in place by the wind. It would have been another 12 hours before we could get off again.  So, out went 'Skip', still in his birthday suit, to start both engines and slowly drive the boat off the bank into the deeper channel. Once off the sand the boat immediately backed round to face into the now ebbing current and back to bed went 'Skip'. We suffered no further problems even at the next change of tide but we left the following morning!
            Surreal pic of the sand bank our starboard keel was sitting on with the sand ridge clearly visible - water depth just under 4 feet (we draw 4ft)