West End to Nassau A Night Sail N26.42 W78.59 to N25.05 W77.21
West End to Nassau – A Night Sail N26.42 W78.59 to N25.05 W77.21
8thto 12th November 2018
Pursuing our journey to Grenada we left West End in brilliant sunshine and good winds to head down to Nassau, New Providence Island. Haigri sailed well and there was no need for engine assistance which was a relief after all the hours spent motoring in the past few days. We sailed throughout the night in surprisingly busy shipping lanes. This was no great problem for us as all ships were travelling relatively slowly and many gave way to us as they had sufficient water to manoeuvre in. We ploughed on and despite a couple of minor squalls conditions remained good. However, when we reached the Berry Islands we decided to put the engine on again as we wanted to make Nassau in daylight. Finally, 170 miles later, Haigri made landfall in Nassau at 4pm on the 9th November.
Bay Street Marina
Nassau is a relatively easy harbour to enter as it is fairly well marked and has a deep water channel for its cruise ships. As we didn’t want to anchor we made our way to Bay Street Marina, just before the bridges linking Nassau to Paradise Island, and docked there. Entering this marina was a little tricky as you have to go down the channel near the bridges in order to skirt around shallow water to dock. However, the marina is lovely (albeit a bit expensive) but has nice showers, gym and small swimming pool. It also has a bar/restaurant attached which, when we arrived, was extremely noisy as a fishing regatta was just coming to an end. That evening, as we were all a bit tired from the sail (it gets dark really early too, around 5.30pm, which makes you feel even more tired) Peter took us out to a Luciano’s of Chicago. Luciano’s is a restaurant with a great aspect and great food. The staff were very polite and accepted us with our less than sartorial sailing clothes on! They also gave me a chair for my camera which was cute!
The final weigh in for the competitors of the fishing regatta
Next morning we were bombarded with really loud music which turned out to be a running event at a nearby stadium. Due to the heat the event started very early hence the 6am wake up call!!
A sunken boat in front of a number of local bars
Saturday 10th November was my birthday. Notwithstanding significant birthdays we had to provision the yacht (at a fantastic but seriously expensive supermarket) and do the usual odd jobs that always need doing on a yacht. After that went into downtown Nassau. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what I expected as the old town wasn’t really as quaint as I had hoped and there were an awful lot of cruise ship passengers which made the town busy. So, after a quick visit to the Pirates of the Caribbean Museum we quickly left to go back to “The Poop Deck” a restaurant overlooking the water near the marina. Again a lovely meal and a great staff who unprompted sang Happy Birthday.
Chris storing additional provisions
Although a beautiful island, Nassau has displays of ostentatious wealth next to poverty which always brings with it problems of inequality. We found everyone that we met locally to be very friendly and didn’t feel in any way uncomfortable or in danger. However, it was very noticeable that the local shops all had their own security guards outside and some were locked. On our walk back from the Poop Deck we stopped and bought some rum from a local off licence where the staff were very concerned that we were walking alone at night. We noted the warning but continued to walk on and had a look around the small wooden cabins that the locals had transformed into bars and restaurants with no problem – a course of action I wouldn’t really recommend if you are on your own nor if you want to wear expensive jewellery or clothes.
Haigri in her slip
The weather forecast wasn’t great on the 11th so we stayed in the marina and motored by dinghy over to the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. Again, not quite what I expected but we did see a whole school of Spotted Eagle Rays in the marina which was great – beats paying for the experience in the resort!
The Marina at the Atlantis Resort
A rather ostentatious structure but Spotted Eagle Rays have made it home
We had expected to leave for the Exumas on Monday but the weather forecast was 15-20kt winds from the East and overcast at times. As the course we were going to take involved being able to see submerged coral heads which are not visible in rough or overcast conditions we decided it was unsafe to sail that way. Being pragmatic we have now revised our sailing plans. We looked at our proposed route against the prevailing weather conditions and it is clear that we are not going to reach Grenada in our time frame if we continue to try and sail through the Bahama Islands. So we are going back to our original plan of sailing to Spanish Wells and then out into the Atlantic before turning south for the Virigin Islands – a much faster route but unfortunately not nearly so pleasant.