The Bahamas to the Turks & Caicos
Going south east from The Exumas Islands in The Bahamas is considered a big, transitional step for many sailor cruisers. Beyond the relative safety of The Exumas lie the Out Islands of The Bahamas, and this also means some true, bluewater Atlantic sailing.
We checked our Predict Wind weather app for a favourable weather window and we did not have time to procrastinate. We took it. The issue was we needed to be heading east and the prevailing winds are typically from the east, so our first day was a series of exciting tacks to Calabash Bay on the north west coast of Long Island.
We also needed to pick up the pace a bit to ensure we did not exceed our Bahamian cruising permit. By the time we arrived into the anchorage, we had just enough time to fish for our supper and crash before another early start.
Our next destination was a slight detour north to Conception Island with its national park beach beauty. The resident nurse sharks welcomed us to the cystal-clear blue waters and an incredible stretch of beach.
Onwards and south east to Rum Cay and the sea state was definitely more open water for the crossing. The island had a self-sufficient feel to it with less of reliance on tourism than the Exumas.
It was another opportunity to snorkel the rocks for another potential meal, but this time we were out of luck.
From Rum we had another sporty sail down to LandRail Point on Crooked Island. From here we motored due east—and directly into the wind—to Acklins where we knew there were strong winds forecasted and it looked like a protected anchorage to hang out in for a few days. Before the winds picked up James caught another lobster - his biggest yet at more than 2 1/2 feet!
Once the wind had subsided we weighed anchor for another pre-dawn departure, this time to another Bahamian out island called Mayaguana. The wind however did not cooperate and we found ourselves motoring the last half of this very long day. We had somehow synchronized our sunset arrival into the anchorage with the mass exodus of ten or-so boats heading on an overnight passage to The Turks & Caicos. We questioned our natural need to follow the herd, and instead had a big meal and an early night before yet another pre-dawn start, this time for another country!
Our heading south east to a new country also brought with it more humidity with a string of squalls crossing our course. After a call with The Turks and Caicos customs on the radio, we flew the Q-customs flag, happily anchored in Sapodilla Bay on Providenciales (“Provo”), and caught up on some much-needed sleep. With the immigration and customs clearing-in process completed, James switched out the Q flag for the Turks & Caicos flag on Scout.
We were given a one week stay in the TCI, so this was a great opportunity to re-provision and indulge in some fine-dining off Scout. The choice of fruit and veggies at the supermarket was a big hit!
The TC—or in Provo, at least—had a noticeably different tourist vibe to The Bahamas, with more of a resort, package holiday feel to it. From Provo we motored across the bank to South Caicos and hung out in Cockburn Harbour for a few days.
We knew from previous sailing in this area that the color of the water would change from TCI/Bahamas aqua blue to the deeper navy blue once we were further south in the Caribbean. We took one final picture of Scout sitting pretty with her skinny draft in some shallow water.
The water looked so inviting, we ventured out for one last snorkel near the anchorage and soaked up the beautiful fish and coral colours.
The diversity of our next destination—The Dominican Republic—was beckoning us. With our Spanish app to hand and Scout pointed south, we were on our way again.
During the passage, we caught not one…
…but two fish (actually it was three, but one got away). Next stop, the DR!
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