Skylark is anchored at Great Sale Cay. We’re hiding from very strong easterly trade winds 20 to 30 knots that started yesterday and expected to continue until Saturday. I was traveling with Polynya but left them yesterday. We had intended to anchor at Alan’s – Pensacola Cay but because the wind was strong and right on the nose we would have arrived after dark…and I can’t do dark. I have enough trouble seeing in the daytime and can’t see at all at night to navigate into an anchorage. And I wasn’t in a mood to take any risks because of what had happened earlier in the day.
Polynya and Skylark crossed over to the Bahamas bank without too much excitement. The first few hours were a bit rough with a NW wind around 10-15 against the Gulf Stream but we sailed and motor sailed straight to Grand Cay where we spent a few days at Rosie’s Marina to hide from a strong weather front that passed through. We then moved a few miles south to Double Breasted Cay, a beautiful uninhabited group of small, long and narrow islands and rock formations. It was tricky getting in with lots of shoals and a very strong tidal current and I ran Skylark aground twice. It was rising tide and John from Polynya came over in the dinghy to help push me off. We spent a few days there, shared a few meals including Christmas dinner on Polynya. Yum.
We left the day after Christmas on a rising tide and I ran up on the same shoal I hit on the way in. Only thing was, now even though the tide is rising, the current and a strong wind were pushing me further up onto the shoal. I couldn’t work Skylark loose and couldn’t even maintain position so We could float off on the tide. There was no way for Polynya to help since it wasn’t safe to try and stop or even to anchor outside and dingy back in because of the strong current. It was quite frightening and my prospects looked bleak. One tactic in this situation is to set an anchor and haul on it to pull the boat off the shoal or at least hold position while the tide rises. Way too much current and the tide was looking kind of high already which meant I didn’t have much time. I had forgotten to take the outboard off the dinghy like I planned to but I didn’t want to try using it as I was afraid if Skylark came loose she’d go flying into the rocks on the other side if the narrow channel. But I had to do something so with the dinghy still tied to Skylark, I tried pushing on the bow with the dinghy. Skylark slowly swung back about 45 degrees but wouldn’t go further. So I tied a line to the engine kill switch in the dink, tied the other end to the lifeline on Skylark and left Patch the ink pushing as hard as he could on the bow. With Skylark at full throttle she started inching forward. Now I’m wondering if there’s enough gas in the dink. After much sweating swearing and revving of engines Skylark was free! Run forward to yank Patch’s kill switch, run back to the helm to miss that big rock and out we went. Whew. That was bad.
So I’ll lay low here for a couple of days. Hope to meet up with Polynya after the blow. Here’s our position data.
At 12/30/1899 12:00 AM (utc) our position was ??°??.??’N ???°??.??’E