Ironically, it wasn’t a great “sail” at all to Great Sale Cay, but it was one of the most memorable trips Phillip and I have made on our boat. Visually, the most striking, for sure. As Phillip put it: “It was like motoring across a swimming pool.” AND IT WAS.
Hello followers! We sure hope you guys are enjoying the tales from our Bahamas Voyage. And, some pretty cool videos to boot! Last time, we took you from our check-in point at West End, through our first tricky inlet into Little Bahamas Bank at Memory Rock (we made it! Whew!), and then on to Mangrove Cay—the first cay (pronounced “key”) we stopped at in the Bahamas. It was also our first time diving into those crystal green waters and—albeit a little bit chilly—it was very cool to look down and be able to count almost every link of the chain. The water was just so clear! But, we had no idea what was still in store. After a beautiful night on the hook at Mangrove Cay, Phillip and I weighed anchor at sunrise again the following day, early because we wanted more time before sundown to venture off the boat and go exploring, and the passage from Mangrove to Great Sale Cay turned out to be one our most memorable legs of our entire Bahamas Voyage. Enjoy!
Everywhere I looked, it was mesmerizing. My eyes couldn’t travel fast enough to take it all in. Over the toerail, the water was a crystal, shimmering green. The sand at the bottom, a blinding white. Up ahead, the sky a blaze of pink. The water ahead of our bow mirroring it perfectly.
I hate to say it, but after a while, with every moment looking something like this, we were almost numbed by the beauty. After a few weeks in the Abacos, with a dozen stunning Bahamian shorelines under our belt, Phillip and I would sometimes poke our way through thick, mangrove-laden trails, step out to the shoreline on the other side and say, “Oh just another beach.” When it, in every way, was NOT! Every beach was unique. Every shoreline is beautiful in a different way. See?
But, we encountered views like this so often, they somehow started to become the norm. This is just what life looks like over there. I had to slap myself sometimes to try to bring back that “first time” feeling of our first day in Little Bahamas Bank when it stole my breath away. Christmas Eve Day, 2017, Phillip and I made our first trip cay-to-cay across the Little Bahamas Bank, and I will never forget the feeling when I saw the bow of our boat gliding over shimmering green waters. While the day before motoring to Mangrove Cay had been stunning, our view to the bottom, while still very pretty, was a little more shimmery and disturbed:
Now, without a wisp of wind in the air and water so still you could count blades of grass on the bottom, our view on the way to Great Sale Cay looked like this:
Believe it or not, that boat is moving. We are underway. But even then, you could make out just about every sand dune on the bottom. Hell, every grain. The clarity was alarming. And I felt like I could feel the boat’s excitement, too. She was looking down, looking left then right, then left again and saying to us: “Can you see? Can you see? Look what I’m swimming in!”
It was just … stunning. My words can’t do it justice. Neither can these photos, but they can at least give a sense of the “swimming pool” effect we experienced that day.
Try to guess how deep that is. Seriously. Take a moment. Really look at what you’re seeing: little dunes in the sand, grains of sand, the very texture of the bottom. Now close your eyes and give it a mental guess.
What number did you choose?
If you said thirteen you would be right. But, that’s just the water depth. Though you would never guess it, including the freeboard, our bow, as you see it right there, is about eighteen feet from the bottom. Eight. Teen. Crazy, right? Water so clear it even reflected our bow in the water.
And completely melted the water into the sky. Can you find the horizon?
Amazing, right? While I knew the Bahamas would be beautiful, the things that seemed to strike me the most were phenomenons I couldn’t have imagined. Like seeing to the bottom in 13 feet of water. Seeing a crisp shadow of ourselves waving in water. And not seeing the horizon. It was about a six-hour motor from Mangrove Cay over to Great Sale Cay and Phillip and I spent the day on a lavish, sun-soaked passage—reading, napping, and lounging on the deck.
Oh, and eating. We love to do that, too. Phillip made French Toast from the fresh-baked Bahamian bread I had bought from the lovely lady who came by our boat selling it out of a dock cart back at West End, and it was nothing short of scrumptious!
Phillip took his plate topside, held it out with arms open wide and shouted “I’m Phillip and THIS is my world!”
It’s an often-repeated rendition we like to do of the famous Johnny Walker, who crewed with us, under our esteemed Captain, Yannick, when we helped Yannick deliver his 46’ Soubise Freydis Catamaran from Pensacola to Roscoff, France across the Atlantic Ocean in 2016. I believe it was day two or three after we had shoved off, when Yannick, Johnny, Phillip, and I were motoring across the Gulf and Johnny threw his arms out side-to-side and shouted: “I’M JOHNNY, AND THIS IS MY WORLD!”
That Johnny Walker (his real name by the way) was quite the character. Well, Johnny, if the Atlantic Ocean was your world, we’ll claim the Little Bahamas Bank as ours that day. And what a helluva way to spend Christmas Eve Day!
Not to mention, we were only half-way through the day, too! After one of our most exquisite passages, Plaintiff’s Rest dropped her anchor around noon that day and the crew immediately set off exploring. We jumped in for a refreshing rinse, then Phillip blew up our SUP to paddle to shore. We had read in the Explorer Charts and Steve Dodge’s Guide to the Abacos (we cannot recommend those highly enough) that there was a part of Great Sale Cay so narrow it’s a walk-over cut-through to the other side.
Phillip, ever the adventurer, wanted to paddle to shore to check it out and see what he could find on the other side. Off you go Paddington!
“I have a little surprise for you on the GoPro footage,” Phillip told me, an hour so later, when he came back. Do you know what he found over there?? Can you see him?
Yep! Our first stingray! But, boy was I surprised to see Phillip had got this close to him. Watch that tail. Eek!
Here you can see Phillip’s reflection on the stingray in the water. Right after he’d stirred up the sand to lay a nice coating on himself for camouflage. So cool how they can do that. You’ll see in the video!
“Alright let me at it!” I told Phillip after I’d seen the footage and he told me where he’d spotted the stingray. Time for this sailor to go exploring too!
While it was a bit of a haul to shore (as cautious Bahamian-cruising newbies, we had anchored way, way out), with calm, glassy waters and beautiful views, it was definitely worth the trip!
And, I was surprised that I was able to find the very stingray Phillip had. He was probably still sitting in the very same place! First Stingray Selfie! Heck Yeah!
With the sun just starting to set, however, and our boat now sitting still and calmly anchored, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Watching the sun sink slowly while I’m twirling, spinning, and hanging from silks is one of my favorite things to do. And, it doesn’t hurt that the photos and footage that come from it are pretty darn stunning, too.
A fabulous silks-at-sunset session for you all in the video below. Some of my favorite silks photos on our boat yet. Life is so good. Hope you all are enjoying the Bahamas blogs and videos. Next up, we make our way over to spend Christmas Day at Pensacola Cay. (I mean … our namesake!? We had to!). And show you what we decided to leave there at the “Signing Tree.” Stay tuned!