It’s 8 a.m. on Saturday April 1 as we slip our mooring lines and make our way out of Boot Key harbor. It’s not too early, but it seems like everyone is still asleep. We motor out through Sister’s Creek because our 73-foot mast is too high to clear the power lines at the harbor’s entrance. Bye to all our friends and the fun times we had in Marathon…until next time.
Weather predicts a gentle 10+ SE wind which should be perfect for a calm Gulf Stream crossing. Sails are up as we set a course toward our first waypoint which is 4.5 miles south of Riding Rocks at N25*10.50 W079*08.25. Our heading is about 80-degrees, so in theory the breeze should be great. However, the breeze has more of an easterly component than south.
The sea is coming from starboard creating a slight roll, but once we’re in deeper water, the choppy action flattens out. Phill is prepared for dolphin, wahoo or anything else that wants to take his giant lure. We have at least 5 lines trailing off our stern.
As the sun sets, we can see our friends on sv Giro behind us about ½ a mile or so. There are several other boats out here as we can see their AIS information on the chart plotter, but we don’t actually see them. The moon sets early, and it’s hazey with humidity as the stars come out.
It’s eerie calm and Phill says it’s a great night for a ghost ship. That’s when we spot a boat out here with us somewhere called Gray Ghost. The AIS says that the ship is within 2 miles of us all night, yet we never see any lights or hear anything on the radio.
We enter the shallow Bahama banks at just after 11:30 pm. It’s calm. I take my watch about 2 am. and the bioluminescence is just magic. We make two glowing streams as we scoot along — one from each hull — and we see stars shoot across the night sky.
Sunrise is always a welcome site especially on the Bahama Banks. At about 8 a.m. with the NW Channel Marker at N 25*28.18 W078*09.55 to starboard, we adjust our course for Andros. All morning we fish along the drop off where the shallow banks meet the deeper water and edge up to reefs at the top of Andros Island. We pass the flats at Joulters Cays and see numerous shallows and coral heads. A few big ones manage to get away and we throw back three barracudas.
As we enter the channel into Morgan’s Bluff, we realize there are no markers or ranges ashore. Our guidebook says this is a very well marked and busy channel. Not today and not since Hurricane Mathew. It’s midday, the sun is high and we feel good about going in anyway. We see depths of 20+ all the way in to the big sheltered harbor.
Our anchor is down and we’re settled in by about 1 p.m. although we did have to reset a few times. It’s grass over sand and the holding is fair to maybe good if you find the right spot.
It’s Sunday, and Larry from sv Restless just stopped by to tell us that the immigration officials are up at the docks. If we hurry, we’ll catch them. So we send Phill off pronto to check us in.