May 25, 2010
We weighed anchor early and jumped out on the Bank heading North for Eleuthera. We had about 40NM to cover and was concerned only that the wind was going to oppose us and we would have to motor. In the last few days we’ve hardly used the engine at all as we’ve tacked and tacked sailing wherever we needed to go despite the wind direction to conserve out dwindling and somewhat unknown quantity of remaining diesel. Our fuel gauge never really worked and we are in the process of calibrating the new one I installed; this is the first tank we’ve used since installing it so we don’t know exactly what is empty! Luckily, the wind turned West and after motor sailing the morning we were able to turn off the engine and sail easily at 5-6kts the entire afternoon. We stopped halfway in the middle of the huge expansive Bank between Eleuthera and the Exumas that is only about 6-15’ deep for as far as the eye can see. We were dodging coral heads that look like big black inky stains in the clear blue water because some of them are shallow enough that if you hit them it could break your keel or damage your rudder or propeller. Galit manned the bow to help me navigate through the minefield. When around lunch time we decided to drop anchor, snorkel some of these big coral formations and see what it is we were avoiding. Turns out it is something one should not avoid, at least with a mask, snorkel and fins. Absolutely the most pristine perfect little underwater habitats we’ve seen. Just gorgeous life! The coral formations were diverse and perfect, unblemished we assume by how removed they are from any human visitors. Plus, they would not be a “destination” dive for any commercial company because they were small. But we dove 3-4 large coral heads that broke the day up, filled us with awe, and cooled us off. After a white knuckle 1 hour of sailing in 6’ of water (recall we draw 5’1” so our keel was less than a foot from bottom), we crossed the sand shoals off Findley Cay marking that we were well over half the way and the breeze picked up and our speed increased but not so much it took reefing. We dropped anchor off of Current Island to wait for the tide in the morning so we could safely traverse Current Cut, which is a deep cut that has notoriously fast currents that must be respected, and make our way to Spanish Wells.