Our trip from Nassau to Chub, Gun Cay, and across the Gulf Stream to Florida was a whirlwind. The long range forecast from my GRIB files was spot on once again, and we had an ideal weather window to catch in order to make it across the stream before another cold front turned the winds to the north once again for another two weeks. What a year for cold fronts! Great if you are moving south through the islands as we had been, but not so great now. We left Chub in the pitch black of early morning at 0530; after all, we had arrived once before in the dark – leaving would be a piece of cake. And so it was. As the sun rose behind us on the Northwest Providence Channel, we were well on the way to the Northwest Channel light.
The trip to Gun Cay went very rapidly and we arrived at the east side of the cay by 1600 hours. With time to spare we decided to see if we could anchor on the west side of the cay, our stern to the stream, but as we explored the possible anchorage, winds were out of the southeast with a long rolling swell pushing us towards the coral shores. I wasn’t comfortable with the possibilities, so we ran back through the pass to the east side anchorage where we still had time for a sundowner, a great dinner, and an early evening. Once again, in the morning we would raise anchor in the dark and follow our breadcrumb trail out the pass to the Florida Straights. We left the Bahamas behind waving farewell as the day went quickly from dark to early morning light.
Just a quick note here for future cruisers entering the banks at the pass between Gun Cay and Cat Cay. You have to sail just about onto the shore on a 90 degree True heading before you make the turn southward to round the corner at the south end of Gun Cay. It is deep right up to shore, and if you turn too soon, you find yourself crossing the reef – scary. I know; I made the mistake once, but corrected in time. You need to follow the clear blue water right up close, then turn when you see the blue water head south, right where you want to go. The photo to the left is just how it should look, and there is plenty of water to the north. Plan your first time arrival for good weather and good light, and you will have no problems.