Sail to The Turks and Caicos Islands

Our weather window extended once again, and the next day would take us south to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), not, as many believe, one of the Bahamian islands, but another country entirely. The stretch of water between Mayguana and the TCI is big water and a pretty good jump for Ocean Angel when you consider that we wanted to reach the Sandbore Channel as early as possible.

Leaving Mayguana
Leaving Mayguana

On a typical Caribbean day, by 0900 the trade winds begin to really honk at you, and crossing the Caicos Bank punching straight into 25 knots in shallow water is no fun. So we both rose early that morning, around 0500, and Joy directed me out of the bay closely following our inbound track from the Navigation station while I watched the water from the helm. It was somewhat tricky to get the feel for our track as there is a significant current that runs east to west across Abraham Bay, and we were crossing it at nearly right angles until we reached our east – west track; once there, it was a piece of cake. Deep, indigo-blue water, the color you can only see when well offshore, formed the back drop for our offshore trip to the TCI. Joy wants to repaint one of our walls at home to remind her of the incredible feeling she gets every time she sees this water. There is nothing quite like it.  
Approaching West Caicos
Approaching West Caicos

You never know quite what to expect when you first catch sight of a new country. We expected West Caicos island on the southern edge of the Sandbore Channel to be a low flat island with little but scrub brush and beautiful water. Man, were we wrong. There were mid-rise condos and hotels spoiling every inch of the vista. Ugly square blocks of concrete rising out of the aquamarine water could not have been further from our expectations. Perhaps the rest of the TCI would be more what we expected.
Turtle Rock
Turtle Rock

We motored east through the Sandbore Channel directly into the wind, but fortunately, the winds were light and all we faced was about 12 knots and a mild chop. By the time we passed Turtle Rock (above) and reached Sapodilla Bay in mid afternoon the wind was definitely honking, and we dropped our anchor in an 18 knot breeze that was kicking up a pretty stiff chop. Due to our 6’6″ draft, we could not get close enough to shore to find protection from the waves, and our first day at anchor was rolly and uncomfortable.
Sapodilla Bay looking northwest
Sapodilla Bay looking northwest

 Winds for the coming days were forecast to increase to SE 20 to 25, and the bay would become increasingly uncomfortable with wind from that direction, so after clearing Customs in the morning, we started seriously thinking about alternatives. 

Explore the Turks and Caicos