Atwood Harbour, Acklins Island, Bahamas
Position: 22:43.225N 73:52.920W
Date: Thursday 24th April 2014
We left Abraham’s Bay just before 8:00am on Wednesday morning. It took about an hour to work our way out of the bay, going slowly around the coral heads, but by 9am we were out and free and on our way. The only problem was that there was hardly any wind to fill the sails. In this part of the world there are very few anchorages that we can use, and they are all pretty far apart. In our case our intended destination was about 50 miles away with nowhere in between where we could stop. Most anchorages are shallow with coral reefs in the approach so it is important to arrive in good daylight to be able to negotiate the entrance with any degree of safety. So we decided to use our engine to give us a reasonable forward speed.
There was practically no wind all day, and so we motored all of the way to Atwood Harbour on the northeast coast of Acklins Island. On the way we passed a couple of uninhabited islands called the Plana Cays. As we sailed (motored) by we took a photograph of them showing the incredibly flat seas.
We continued on to Acklins Island arriving in mid-afternoon. Here is another picture showing Acklins Island in even flatter seas:
Although we don’t like motoring and much prefer to sail, there is something quite magical about seas as calm and flat as those we encountered today. The colours and the light are just very special. The water was also extremely clear. As we approached land and the water became more shallow there were times when we could see clearly the bottom of the sea even though we were in 60+ feet of water. At times shoals of fish would swim languidly by, appearing to hover half way to the seabed.
The anchorage at Atwood Harbour was very calm and we had a good night’s sleep. However I did not feel particularly relaxed as I could appreciate how dodgy this harbour could be given different conditions. The entrance crosses a narrow and shallow patch between two stretches of coral reef, and it faces north into the open Atlantic. Once inside we only had a couple of feet under our keel at low tide. With only moderate swell from the north (hardly unusual in this part of the world), there could be breaking waves at the entrance, and any significant swell entering the anchorage could cause our keel to hit the bottom. If ever I am back in this part of the world I’ll think carefully before deciding to visit again.