Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bahamas, by the numbers

I am typing under way across the Great Bahama Bank. We are on a long-established route known as Larks Two Fathom Bridge, where depths have generally been two fathoms or more, but, as the chart notes, sometimes drop to around ten feet.

With a mostly unchanging forecast for the week, we opted to leave our cozy anchorage at Chub Cay yesterday morning. With wind and swell behind us, we had a very pleasant ride, right up until it was time to anchor. We diverted about a mile north of the marked route, looking for shallower water marked on the chart as the south end of the Mackie Bank.

We never did find the shallow spot; these sands change over time, and the forces here flattened it out. We ended up dropping the hook in 12' MLW, bow-in to the seas (map). Fortunately, over such a great expanse, we had wind and waves from the same direction, which meant very little roll, only pitching. But pitch we did; we let out 130' of anchor chain for the most comfortable ride, and Louise took a short video of our motion while at anchor.

While we did need to keep "one hand for the boat," it was fine, and the breeze kept us nice and cool. We did eat in the saloon rather than on deck, where the sun was too fierce and the motion a little greater. After sunset things calmed down considerably, and we had a pleasant night, waking to much calmer seas.

Things have been calmer throughout the day today, so perhaps we left just a day too early, but that is the nature of weather forecasts. I'll be just as happy to have calmer seas crossing the bar into the Cat Cay area later today; we have to go over a segment that is charted just six feet deep at low tide. We'll arrive there at mid-tide rising, so we should have at least a foot under our keel the whole time.

While I have a few moments I thought I'd share some of the numbers for the trip thus far.

Since leaving our last US port, Lake Worth, we have come 832 nautical miles in 141 engine hours. We've run the generator for 191 hours. We've burned approximately 550 gallons of diesel fuel (and about 18 gallons of gasoline in the dinghy). So far, this trip holds the record for longest period between power outlets, at 77 days, and between docks, at 50 days. We still have not used a water spigot, which is now going on 82 days and counting. That means every drop of water in our tank now is RO water we made on board.

More broadly speaking, we've now traveled more than 7,200 nautical miles (that's 2,400 leagues, for the history-minded) in Vector since we took ownership. A short while ago, Louise compiled some of our overall statistics and found we had docked the boat over 100 times and we've dropped the anchor more than 150 times.

I think we're starting to get the hang of this, and all the systems are holding up surprisingly well. This is the first extended "away from civilization" cruise we've taken, and the only major system that has become an issue is the BBQ grill. As a side note, my early concerns that the anchor might be a bit small for the boat seem unfounded, as it has steadfastly handled every situation we've thrown at it, now over 150 times. I'll need to go back through the log, but I'm pretty sure it's held us to the bottom now for a total of over a year.

Update: We are now safely anchored just off the runway at Cat Cay (map), and we've made arrangements for dinner at the Cat Cay Club's casual restaurant, the Nauticat, at their marina. The fine-dining establishment on the island is strictly members-only.

We saw no less than 7.9' crossing the bar a few miles east of here, at about mid-tide. We'd make it at anything other than dead low. Water that shallow, with a sandy bottom, makes for a spectacular view, as you can see in today's cover photo; we were tempted to stop the boat and just jump in. Instead, I'll jump in tomorrow, while we're here.

1 comment:

  1. I sent you blog to my son, who does GIS for a living. His response:The poor guy was doing GIS cartography processes that I can do so easily with the 'correct' software, data and tools.
    He was doing it the hard way.
    Good on him for figuring it out on his own; not an easy process, if done right.
    His final output was very nice looking, and obviously attention to detail and accuracy are part of his makeup.

    He's very approachable if you want more information.


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