Atlantic west to east: waiting for the right wind

Stravaig'n the Blue
Thu 21 Apr 2022 19:00
Position: 25:32.25 N 076:45.45 W (near Spanish Wells, Eleuthera, The Bahamas)
Position timestamp: Thursday 21 April 2022  19:00 (UTC-4 / EDT)

In January we came up with an outline plan for our time in The Bahamas and our return passage to Europe. The plan had us leaving The Bahamas from Nassau on New Providence Island around the middle of April.

However, the weather over the past week has not been favourable (too much wind, all from the wrong direction) for the first leg of the journey, The Bahamas to Bermuda. But rather than sit things out in the marina near Nassau, we sailed to northern Eleuthera last Sunday and knocked 40 miles off the 800 miles Nassau to Bermuda leg.

We spent a few nights anchored off a small island called Meeks Patch but moved closer to the town of Spanish Wells on St George’s Cay yesterday morning (Wednesday) in order to dinghy into town and to shelter from a couple of days of brisk north-easterlies. Twenty five other boats took the same avoiding action and last night we were all anchored either side of the main channel into Spanish Wells, some perhaps a tad closer than they should have been.

At 7am this morning anyone who wasn’t already awake was woken by the mail boat chugging its way slowly up the channel through the anchored yachts. The mail boat which arrives every Thursday brings not only the mail but, more importantly, fresh provisions and other supplies for the three supermarkets and the various restaurants in town. The mail boat has to get through.

Shortly after, a small freighter chose to go outside all of the yachts and went aground in the soft sand off the main channel. With a rising tide it was eventually able to drive itself off but it was there for the best part of two hours.

It has been a very overcast this afternoon with strong gusty wind and the occasional shower - very unusual for The Bahamas.

The passage to Bermuda will take between five and six days and there looks to be a reasonable weather window starting tomorrow evening or Saturday morning. So tomorrow we are going to be busy.

We are booked in to a local clinic for covid rapid antigen tests at 9am (required in order to obtain our Bermuda Travel Authorisations) following which Linda will do a final fresh food shop and I will visit the local Customs office to surrender our Bahamas Cruising Permit and obtain our Clearing Out paperwork which will be required for our entry into Bermuda.

Then it is back to the boat to complete our applications for our Bermuda Travel Authorisations, register our planned arrival with Bermuda Customs and Immigration, and lodge our details on Bermuda Radio’s safety network. That done, we will move the outboard motor from the dinghy to the sail locker, hoist the dinghy into the davits and attend the myriad other things that need to be done (but couldn’t be done sooner) just before a long passage.

And then we’ll look at the latest weather forecasts to see if we are still good to go.