Our First Big Storm in the Bahamas!

A Week Aboard S/V Sabado: 1/31/2021 – 2/7/2021

Hello! Be sure to check out this week’s video!

Last Sunday we ended up moving to a more protected area in preparation for a big storm that was headed our way. There were tons of boats where we planned on anchoring, but luckily we found a spot past that with only 4 other boats, and settled in there. We actually ended up right next to Greg, our savior from our anchor entanglement a while back! Small world.

The wind started picking up Sunday night, and by Monday morning the radio was full of people asking about anchor chains, calling newcomers out for anchoring near them, reporting people who dragged in the night, etc. 

The worst of it hit Monday night, so we set up several alarms (one to keep track of our anchor, another to alert us if we moved outside of a set boundary, and a third to warn us if the wind went above 40kn) and monitored everything from the salon all night. 

The highest wind speed we saw was 41kn. Only one boat in our anchorage had dragged anchor that night, and they didn’t come anywhere near us, so we were feeling good! 

The wind continued through Tuesday at roughly 25-30kn sustained. It seemed like everyone around us was getting a little stir crazy, calling each other on the radio to discuss domino games and banana pancake recipes.

The wind died down a bit that night and we were looking forward to a full night’s sleep, but we had some drama in the anchorage- two boats nearly hit each other. Luckily they were moving very slowly, and everyone was awake and ready to take action. I snapped this photo (through our very dirty window) as they were moving away from each other:

It was right after the wind shifted directions… It’s possible one of the boats dragged anchor, but we think the bigger boat was actually sitting on the bottom, and therefore didn’t swing around its anchor properly when the wind shifted. Either way though, those two boats, us, and the other boat that was around, all adjusted. We pulled up 20ft of our anchor chain to give everyone a bit more room and so did the other boat, while the two boats that nearly hit each other fully pulled up and reset their anchors farther apart. 

We really couldn’t have had better neighbors for this storm though, and this event solidified that. Everyone around us was awake, aware, and communicative throughout the entire storm. We felt very safe!

In the middle of the night the current began to disagree with the wind- our least favorite condition. So, we removed our bobstays to relieve the pressure our bridle was putting on the bowsprit, in the dark while the wind was howling. Luckily though, Ray pulled it off seamlessly. However, those conditions, in combination with the near collision we saw, was enough to keep us on edge the entire night- so much for a good night’s sleep! 

The wind was coming from a completely different direction by Wednesday, so we ended up leaving that morning and dropped anchor back where we had stopped before the storm. We spent the day napping and tidying up the boat. Thursday morning was the first day this week that I’d describe as “calm” in terms of weather/sea state/wind. So, we took the dinghy out to explore! 

The island we were anchored by is called Big Sampson Cay, and it’s actually for sale. It is currently owned by John Malone, and has a resort and a marina. However, both have been closed to the public since 2013, when John decided to make the island only accessible to himself, his family, and their guests. 

So, we went ahead and took the dinghy all the way over to Staniel Cay, walked around a bit, and cruised by Pig Beach on the way home! 

There are rumors that the pigs are there from a pirate ship that crashed a long time ago that had them on board, but we’ve also heard that they disappear for a while every so often, which makes me think that they actually belong to a farmer who figured out tourists would feed them for free if he left them on the beach, and he picks them up once they’re fat enough and takes them to the butcher… I could be wrong though! No one else was there when we stopped by, so we fed them our lunch leftovers from the dinghy and left. 

The next day we set out on a mission to buy a spear. There are a lot of regulations for fishing here in the Bahamas, including only being allowed to use a handheld sling for spearfishing, so that’s what we got. We also have a lobster tickle stick + net! I spent the afternoon reading up on how to use everything, then headed out for my first dive. 

There were two spots close to us on our charts that were marked as good for lobster and grouper- so Ray towed me around from spot to spot, drank some beer, and watched for sharks from the dinghy while I dove.

I did a thorough scour of the area and didn’t see a single lobster, and no grouper big enough to eat. I was feeling a bit defeated until we spoke to some more experienced divers who said they hadn’t had any luck there either. The plus side of spear fishing though is that even if you don’t get anything- you at least had a fun swim/snorkel! 

We headed home and spent the rest of the evening on the bow, enjoying the sunshine and our books. 

Our new neighbors, Carl and Debi on their catamaran named River Rat, stopped by to chat for a bit, and invited us over for dinner Saturday night! We dinghied over and had linguini with clam sauce, salad, wine, and dessert with them. They’re a lovely couple! They gave us tons of recommendations on where to go/what to see here in the Bahamas, and hopefully we’ll run into them again somewhere down the line. ❤️ 

Today we woke up ready for a change in scenery. The plan is to head down to Blackpoint to get some laundry done, and pick up a loaf of some infamous coconut bread they have there (I’ll report back on that). 

Anyway, I hope you had a great week! ☺️

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