2.12.2010

Black Point Cay to Farmers Cay Bahamas Thursday 2-4-10

Black Point Cay to Farmers Cay Bahamas Thursday 2-4-10

This day was a great day on the sound with 4-6 kts of boat speed in easterly winds and seas 4- 7 feet with a few swells up to 10 feet. The big challenge came when we arrived at Farmers Cay Cut as the tide was coming out and the waves and wind were blowing in. This made for some very large rollers and it is what is referred to as a “rage” in local Bahamian terminology. We dropped sail well before we entered the rough waters of the cut and prepared as best we could for the tossing about we were about to take. Normally it would be better to leave a headsail up in these conditions for additional power to make way through the tidal current and waves. In this situation it would have been of little assistance as the winds were full astern and the head sail would have been flogging from side to side. I instructed the Admiral to take a secure position and keep a sharp eye ahead for any hazards to navigation. We entered the cut and Mary Rose began to roll from side to side, I know that a few of the rolls were at least 45 degrees. The waves were hitting the stern quarters trying to push Mary Rose sideways in the cut as the current on the nose was trying to turn the bow sideways. The pressure on the rudder was great and prompt corrective steering is critical to maintain proper heading and course through the cut. Normal cruising RPM on the engine is 1800 and I had “Mr Perkins” (the engine) throttled up to 2100 RPM to give additional power through the cut. The entire passage through the cut took less than ten minutes but the minutes seemed to turn to hours as we were being tossed about. As soon as we cleared the rage in the cut the anchorage was calm as it was protected from the easterly wind and the tidal current was less of a factor inside the bay. We took the nearest anchorage, laid out a Bahamian Moor and sat down to reflect on the new experience that had just occurred. Later we took the dinghy to the Farmers Cay Marina and met the owner and creator of the marina, Roosevelt Nixon. The “Happy Hour” had just started and we enjoyed the very best conch fritters we have ever had in any location ever! We introduced ourselves to other cruisers and the common question was….”are you the boat that came through the cut during the rage?” Then after a short conversation they would hail another cruiser and tell them…..”Come over here and meet these guys, they are the ones that came through the cut today!” We started to feel like celebrities. So if it was so rough then why did we do it? Well we had little choice as this was the safest cut within hours and if we waited out in the sound then it would be dark and we DO NOT LIKE NIGHT LAND FALLS. We could have made the passage from Black Cay to Farmers Cay by navigating through the shallow banks on the western side of the Exuma island chain but that route would have taken much longer and we would have had to run our engine most of the time. We have a much better appreciation and understanding of how and when to execute a passage through the various cuts now as we continue to learn and grow in our sailing capabilities. We are glad we went to Farmers as our arrival just happened to coincide with a traditional event known as The First Friday in February Farmers Festival. It includes local ocean boat racing, fun local food, cookies and brownies for sale to support local school event and cruiser activities. We celebrated along with the rest of the cruisers and locals and also because it is my Dad’s Birthday, Happy Birthday Dad! Be sure to read Lana’s post for fun photos and more information on the festival.

Keep the comments coming....we enjoy them.
Captain Don Montgomery

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