We finally got the weather window we were needing. It wasn’t ideal because the wind was suppose to drop off and once again we would have to motor. However, it would be safe and since we were planning to spend the night anchored at Mackie Shoals in the middle of the Bahama Banks, it was a good choice for us.
We left Miami at first light and navigated through the channel at Biscayne Bay and were able to put the sails up once out of the channel. We started out sailing and got an extra 3 knot boost once we entered the Gulf Stream. With the Miami skyline just about out of sight, the wind shifted from the north rather than just drop off. It was only around 10 knots so not a big deal but did create larger seas than were predicted. Since the Gulf Stream runs south to north, a north wind will create larger waves since it is blowing from the opposite direction. The good news is that since the wind wasn’t strong, the effect on the waves was minimal.
We anchored on the shoals around 22:00 (10:00pm) and had a restful sleep. We decided that we would push on at first light and were thrilled to once again be able to see our anchor and chain on the sandy bottom through Gin clear water. The wind was light as often is the case in the mornings but became stronger as the day went on. Since we still had 50 nm to go in order to reach the anchorage at Morgan’s Bluff and we wanted to arrive early enough to clear customs, we decided to motor sail. This worked out well because with just 1,500 RPM’s we were able to maintain 6.5-7.4 knots of speed through the water. We arrived at Morgan’s Bluff around 14:30 and went ashore to meet customs and immigration to take care of the paperwork.
After clearing with Customs, the next order of business was to go to town and get a Bahamian SIM card for our phones. Since we arrived on Friday, that meant that nothing would be open until Monday. Here in the Bahamas, nobody gets in a hurry and most places remain closed on the weekends. So we did the next best thing. There was a sandy beach on the south side of the anchorage where we went ashore to relax and explore.
Morgan’s Bluff is named after the famed pirate Henry Morgan who was known to have sailed throughout the Bahamas. It is also reported that Henry would hide his treasures in different island caves throughout the islands. While catching a ride back from town, we were asking about the cave. Well as luck would have it, one of these caves was located about a mile from the anchorage. So our new friends took us there and showed us the cave. We wandered around for a bit but unfortunately did not find any of Henry’s Treasures.
Our next scheduled stop was Alice Town on Eleuthera. Last year while visiting we met Wanda and Brian who live here in the settlement and run BJ’s Sports Bar. Brian also raises chickens and you can get fresh eggs daily from him. We wanted to return and visit with them before heading further south. The population of the Alice Town settlement is only 300. The out island settlements are small but the locals are welcoming and happy to share the history of the islands they call home.
Last year, Hatchet Bay was undergoing a few changes. There was construction for a new ship repair yard on the north side of the bay and Farrington’s Boater’s Haven located at the gazebo and dingy dock was undergoing renovations. Boater’s Haven is now up and running with a laundry facility, food and drinks, a general store and car rentals. This sure makes life easy when these are all of the things us cruisers need when going ashore.
We rented a car and toured the north end of Eleuthera. We visited Preacher’s Cave, Queens Bath, Glass Window, Surfer’s Beach and one of the blue holes located here on Eleuthera. It was a great day and always a joy to put your feet on the ground. Inspite of renting a car, we also walked 3.6 miles and climbed 25 flights of stairs according to my Health App.