A Whale of a Tail

Ambler Isle
V and S
Sat 12 Feb 2011 12:24
It was time to move again.  Only a handful of boats remained at Farmers Cay.  Although we hadn't seen the cave and the ocean beach this time, we would have to take a rain check.  Counting backward from the start of the next forecast front, we had one great travel day and one iffy day to get somewhere to shelter from the N-NE blow.  The Farmers Cay Cut was docile today as we steamed out.  Dragging lines, we would try again for the elusive mahi mahi.  S/V Polar Pacer was ahead of several hours. He reported one in the box and one he gaffed and brought aboard, only to have it flip off the boat.  So they were out there and they were biting.  The sea was calm in the Sound today, too.  But as the day wore on, a beam swell began.  Changing course a bit, the Amber Isle settled back down.  Nothing was biting.  We checked the lines for weeds.  Not even weeds.  The VHF continued to report sightings and catchings.  Still nothing here.  Suddenly about 200 yards off the port aft a 25' brown and tan WHALE arched out of the water, then in, then out and in again.  This was only the second whale sighting in all the years we have come to the Bahamas.  The first was with Dana and Michael Farrell in 2008 as we crossed the NE Providence Passage in route to Nassau.  We scanned  the disturbed water hoping for another look.  We were rewarded when the magnificent creature again broached the water and swam off.   
At 2:30 pm we reached our destination at Adderley Cut.  This led to a series of small islands.  One, Lee Stocking Island,  housed the Caribbean Marine Research Center, a private institution.  We found a spot in a quite little bay and dropped the anchor.  The water was still flat calm here; the wind a mere 4 knots.   Two other boats shared the anchorage.  We launched the dinghy and went to inspect the set on the anchor.  The water was so clear we simply followed the clearly visible chain to the anchor and saw it was buried deep.  No "look bucket" was needed.  We rode to the beach reminiscing about a beach picnic we'd had here in 2007.  Darby, our friends' sheepdog, kept busy trying to herd the swimmers together so he could keep an eye on us.  Much of our trip is memories.  Today was the hottest day so far.  As the tide began to come in, the boat gently, slowly switched directions to face the incoming water.  With the moon only a crescent, the night was pitch black.  We looked forward to a nice, still night.  But at 11:30 pm the wind and tidal currents began a lively game of tug of war with us.  Nearly high tide, the current had slacked and was not able to hold us. So we rocked for three hours til it built up enough strength.  The other boats in the anchorage left at dawn.  But we needed to wait until the tide rose a bit and the sun was higher give better visibility.  We planned  take a different route on the shallow Bank side.