Fast Track Southward

23 degrees, 54 minutes N. 76 degrees, 16.4 minutes W.

We worked our way south as rapidly as possible because we fully intended to make it all the way to Georgetown in the Southern Exumas. We motor sailed hard on the wind as far as we could easily and safely travel with our draft on the banks side of the cays and dropped the hook in the lee of Cave Cay. The wind was still blowing hard out of the southeast at 20 to 25 knots when we got there, so we snuck in as close as we dared before we started seeing all kinds of coral heads reaching up to snag us. We eased back out and ended up anchoring in about 30 feet of water. We read in “The Exuma Guide” by Stephen J. Pavlidis, that we were smack in the center of the nighttime mail boat route, a spot where the guide related the tale of a foolish cruiser failing to display his anchor light and being run down the same dark night. Shudders. 

Sailing South on the Banks
Sailing South on the Banks

If you look to the right, on Page 140 of “The Exuma Guide” by Stephen J Pavlidis, you can see on his chartlet where we anchored that night. In the bottom right corner is Cave Cay Cut, and you will notice the sunken ship and a 33 foot sounding. That depth carries right close in to shore, where, by the time we found eight feet of water, there were lots of coral heads. We  were much too close to the shoreline for our comfort, so 33 feet it was with lots of lights showing! We dropped our Bruce 44 anchor with all 100 feet of chain and plenty of nylon rode. Somehow, we lived to tell the tale. If the mail boat came by, we never knew it as we slept quite soundly that night. 
Reprinted with permission of the author and the publisher, Seaworthy Publications, Inc.
Reprinted with permission of the author and the publisher, Seaworthy Publications, Inc.

We listened to the weather forecasts and saw no let up in the wind’s strength or direction. Even though Cave Cay Cut is wide and deep, a nasty slog to weather for most of the day ending by navigating the tricky entrance to Georgetown for first timers like us did not sound like the trip would be worth the effort. We would get there safely if we were careful, but we would only be able to stay a few days, then have to turn around and head back home. So, we decided to lazily wind our way back north from the southernmost point of this trip at 23 degrees 54 minutes North. Most likely we could enjoy somewhat longer stays at places we wanted to see, and maybe find a quiet spot or two of our own with the help of our invaluable guide.
Fantastic sailing back North
Fantastic sailing back North

We had been away from civilization for quite a little while anchoring out each night, and Joy really liked the thought of tying up to a dock for a few days, having plenty of fresh water, and being able to get off and stretch her legs. We could enjoy dinner at a restaurant, buy some fresh baked Bahamian bread, and with any luck meet a few new friends. This is what cruising is all about, and both of us were ready to put the wind at our backs, set the sails, kill the motor, and wander back northward through this incredible paradise.
Can You Guess Where we Docked?
Can You Guess Where we Docked?

Where to Next?