Racing Against the Wind

On day One, we left from Anna Maria heading toward Miami. We were against a bit of a time line as there was to be a big swell coming from the North. On the way down, we made a pit stop in Marco Island and picked up our friend, Captain Barbara Even, who wants to make a trip to the Turks. I figured it would be nice to have someone with experience on board and as you will read later in this report, she really stepped up to the plate. We made it to Miami without incident.

On day Two, we left Miami and made for Nassau. The weather radio was issuing special high seas warnings for the Gulf Stream with seas at 6-8 ft and some measuring up to 10 ft. But, the winds were light and were not to pick up until we were across the stream, so we headed out. We did experience the 6-8 ft seas and a few reached 10 ft, but they were spread out 4 to 5 seconds apart. We barely took spray the entire way across. Once up on the bank we stopped and Matt jumped in on a couple wrecks. The water was clear, but a bit cold so we headed into Nassau. I took our crew for a walk through Atlantis, but we were all dead tired and went to bed early.

On day Three, we fueled up and headed south to the Exumas. We stopped on the Yellow Bank and got some very nice lobsters. The North winds were light, forecasted at 10-15 kts, and the seas flat. After diving we headed to Staniel Cay where we saw the Green Flash, watched the sunset and grilled lobsters on the back deck. Then, we headed to bed. About two hours after we got into our bunks I was jolted awake by the boat bouncing against the dock. I thought it was just a boat going by and throwing a wake, but a few minutes later our rub rail hit even harder. I went outside to feel a brisk 20 kt wind straight out of the West. Staniel Cay is a great marina and very protected except for when the wind comes from West. There was a yacht behind us with crew scrambling to replace a giant inflated fender that had just popped. A few slips over, a sailboat had snapped a dock line. I knew it was time to get out of there. I ran below and knocked on stateroom doors and Barb and Matt sprung out of their beds into action. The increasing winds had us pinned and pounding against the dock. You would have thought the three of us had been working together for years. We untied and got away from the dock as if it was a calm day. Our choices were to either go out or anchor in 20 kt winds or to start motoring further. I made my way through the maze of boats and rocks and bars that make up the cut from the marina to Exuma. It’s not bad in daylight but it’s not fun at 12:45am. Once in the deep water of Exuma Sound, I set the speed at 8 kts. This put us off of Cat Island at sunrise. It was a calm and beautiful ride. Having Captain Barb sure made a difference especially when we had to take turns driving so we could all get a little sleep.

On day Four, the sunrise to the East was brilliant. We were right off of Columbus Point, Cat Island. We deployed our lures and only minutes later we had our first Wahoo. The next two and a half hours were a scream. Matt caught the next fish, a big Wahoo weighing over one hundred pounds. Then it was Capt Barbs turn again. She caught another one hundred pound plus Wahoo. She probably weighs the same as the fish she caught. Then, to our surprise, a pod of whales began jumping off to the side of the boat. It was all very exciting. We managed to lose another big Wahoo to three very large sharks and lost a big Yellowfin Tuna, but Barb fought to get one tuna to the boat. The bite suddenly slowed so we fished our way to San Salvador. We picked up a few nice Dorado which completed the offshore slam of a tuna, a Dorado, and a Wahoo for Capt Barb. By the time we tied up in San Salvador at Riding Rock Marina, We were exhausted. We went up to the little restaurant at Riding Rock and had an excellent dinner. It was good to see Pops, Michelle, Kevin and Miss Peaches. We gave a lion’s share of the fish to locals on the island. Miss peaches reciprocated with a tray of her world famous Bahamian Mac and Cheese. The surge in the marina was not as bad as I have seen it, but we still did not sleep well. I awoke the next morning to find that the weather forecast had changed. We had planned to spend a day there and recharge, but there was another north swell coming and I needed to head south.
On day Five, we headed south. Our destination was Mayaguana. After running for a bit I saw that we would be passing close to the Plana Cays. We decided to fish for a while. We only got one Bull Dorado, but it was a nice one. We rolled into Abrahams Harbor at Mayaguana around 5:30p. Matt jumped into the water to see that the anchor was set well. He was amazed at the water clarity. We washed the boat and poured adult beverages for everyone. As we watched the spectacular sunset, we enjoyed Yellowfin Tuna sushi appetizers followed by Y-fin tuna steaks, Wahoo steaks and mac and cheese. We all spent the evening playing with the sea life that was attracted to the underwater lights on the boat. That night we all got the best sleep of the trip.

On day Six, I awakened to see the forecast had changed yet again. The winds were to be a bit more brisk, but we were only 50 miles to The Turks and Caicos so I was not concerned. It’s next week’s forecast that concerns myself and the crew. There is a bad coldfront coming in with 30 kt winds and 13 ft seas. After breakfast, Matt and Capt Barb jumped in on a few coral heads and got us some more lobsters. By 10:00 am I decided we had better start trolling our way towards Provo, Turks and Caicos. We trolled for about four hours and only caught one big Wahoo so we made our way to Blue Haven Marina. Upon arriving, we ran into some old friends from the Singulars and the Tempo Reale. It’s always cool to see old friends. I have my old friend Dr. Kurt and my old mate Tyler flying into the Turks on the 20th. The winds at that time are to be 30 knots, so I made some calls and got them to move their reservation to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. This frees me up to take advantage of a small weather window that I have on Wednesday. Our plan is to leave out very early Wednesday morning and run the entire way to Samana, Dominican Republic. It will be a long day but, if we don't catch this window, we could be stuck here for another week.

Originally Published By: Capt Ed Thompson

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