Bahamas Crossing - All in a Days Work....
I took advantage of some great weather (and a great forecast) and decided to take our 19' Key West Skiff over to join Low Profile in the Bahamas. I left Key Largo at 4am, and trailered the boat up to Palm Beach, where I dumped it in the water, loaded all our supplies for the winter, and parked the car. I got going about 8:00am, and ran out Lake Worth Inlet to find a bit more chop than I had hoped. Oh well, I decided to go a bit further and sure enough, as I got into the current the chop laid down with the winds out of the south. I had 60 miles to go to West End, where I was going to clear customs, then another 100 around the north side of Grand Bahamas and the Abacos to Guana Cay. The first half of the stream crossing, we pretty decent, a bit wet, but ok. The second half the wind started to grow and white caps appeared (not a good thing when you're in a 19 open boat). The last 10 miles was brutal, and by the time I pulled into West End to clear, I must have looked like a drown rat. I cleared, fueled and was back on my way about 1:00pm. I figured i was gonna be cutting it close on making it before dark, but I had little choice, and plunged on.
The second part of the trip was all fairly shallow water, ranging from 20 feet to as little as 2 feet. The first 50 miles of this part of the trip took my up near Mangrove Cay, then on toward Little Abaco Island. Once north of Little Abaco, the seas laid out very nicely and I was able to really pick up the speed. As I rounded the corner with Spanish Cay was in sight, I was now running really nicely, but time was not on my side. It was about 5 o'clock and it became pretty obvious that I wouldn't make it before dark. With only a little hand held GPS, with no plotter, I wasn't too excited about navigating the remainder of the trip in the dark. For those who don't know, there are rocks and little Islands all over the place, in these parts. I made it almost to Green Turtle Cay, before the sunlight faded into dark. I quickly studied the chart, made some mental notes, and plotted a course that would keep me clear of the hazards. With a little luck and determination, I pulled into Orchid Bay Marina, on Guana Cay about 6:30 and found Thomas and Joe and the LOW PROFILE. I was pretty well beat, and still soaking wet, and ready to call it a day. Mission accomplished! We now have a 19 Skiff in the Abacos, that will allow all of our guests to enjoy the great inside reefs, beaches, bars, and exploring that can be done with a smaller boat in the Abacos.