Great Bahama Banks: Bimini Islands to Berry Islands

Route across Great Bahama Banks from the Bimini Islands to the Berry Islands
Saturday, February 18th
Gun Cay Lighthouse, Bimini Islands, Bahamas
Gun Cay Lighthouse
I wanted to stay in the Bimini Island chain. I wanted to go back to Honeymoon Harbor and see the stingrays. I wanted to snorkel the Sapona wreck.  I wanted to wait to cross the Great Bahama Banks in calm daylight and count star fish. Sadly, it is winter and the weather forecast simply has it's own plans. 

So, after 6 days of waiting for weather to do any or all of the above, we woke up on Saturday to south winds: perfect for crossing the banks. The Great Bahama Bank is a large area of shallow 10 ft water. It is about 80 miles from the Bimini Islands to the Berry Islands; more than our ability to complete in daylight. We would need to either sail at night or anchor in the middle of the Bank with no protection from wind and just our lights to warn other vessels. Traveling at night meant no visual on any coral heads, random plane wrecks, or sand banks. I was afraid of traveling at night; Matt was afraid of anchoring at night. Hastings was afraid of running out of chicken. 

We pulled anchor at 12 Noon and left our lovely anchorage at South Cat Cay,   heading into the Atlantic waters. We were initially planning on a quick stop at Honeymoon Harbor to snorkel; however, we had wind - which is good for sailing and not for snorkeling, so went through Gun Cay Cut at 2PM and started sailing. 
The sails are up!
Such a good helm team!
Vibrant turquoise water 
Sailing The Banks
Right at sunset, we passed a random shipping container. Remember how excited I was to cross the banks at night? This seems like a bad omen! Of course, it would have been absolutely unbearable to just anchor in the seas at night. Matt pointed out how nicely the container showed up on radar.

We ended up motoring from 7PM to Midnight, and it was really, really dark. I dreaded my shift, but as Robinson Crusoe would say “...fear of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than danger itself.”

After awarding myself a last meal of delicious potato chips with garlic dip, I reported for doomsday watch. And it was fine. I spotted at least 7 different Little Dipper Constellations - the largest number I have ever seen.

I stared at our radar screen a lot, and told Matt I felt like the dudes on Hunt for Red October. He pointed out that they were watching Sonar, and the light on the horizon that I thought was a ship was a star. It's really hard being married to a know-it-all. And yep, my "ship" that wasn't on radar or AIS was miraculously deemed higher and higher into the sky!

We approached our destination in the wee hours of the morning. We'd already taken in the jib and reefed, but we weren't able to slow enough for a day time arrival, so we hove-to (adjusted the sails to stop forward motion) and drifted for two hours. I'd been fascinated by the glow from a nearby island - it seemed like little Miami! Sunrise provided the answer: a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship.

After 89 miles of travel, we anchored, took Hastings on a walk, and settled in to watch the cruise ship goings-on.
Lagoon 380 sailing catamaran at anchor, Cistern Cay, Berry Islands
Anchored off Cistern Cay, near Bullocks Harbor, Berry Islands
Lagoon 380 sailing catamaran at anchor, Cistern Cay, Berry Islands
Beach at Cistern Cay, Berry Islands
Have you ever been afraid to do something, and then been upset at all the energy you wasted?

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  1. Have I ever been afraid to do something and then been upset about all the energy I wasted? More often than I care to admit. :-)

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    1. yup, like nearly every time we leave for somewhere.

    2. Pretty much 90% of the time I'm awake! But the truly terrifying things that have happened I didn't think about at all!

  2. A new destination, a new adventure! Have fun in the Berries. I love that Crusoe quote "...fear of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than danger itself.” Sometimes it is good and comforting to have a know-it-all husband. I know. :-)

    1. A know it all is a good thing, for sure, after get over the irritation :-)

  3. I love reading your Bahamas posts since we'll hopefully be there soon if our stupid solar array ever sorts itself out.


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