Jan. 27, 2014: This post will mean more to those who have read the first chapter of Night Watch. I posted a draft of it on this blog some time ago. Hopefully, I can find it in the archives and direct you to it.
We arrived in Bimini after a night out on the Grand Bahama Bank which Carter describes in Night Watch,as a magical and mysterious expanse of water, never more than twenty feet deep. A night when the wind dies and the seas calm are rare. Too often the wind comes up and the seas bounce the boat around, causing the cruisers to pull up anchor and head for Chub Cay or Bimini on too little sleep.
For us, it started just this way. The sea was flat. We left Nassau for Chub Cay but as the day progressed it seemed possible to do the run straight to Bimini, anchoring on the Bank for the night. Part of our decision to do this was because we have a weather window on Tuesday to cross to the U.S. and we didn’t want to miss it.
Just as Carter did, we stopped short of the Mackie Shoal light, and went off course a safe distance from the shipping channel to Nassau, thus avoiding a collision with a freighter while we slept.
Like Carter, we watched the red ball sink on the horizon and the stars come out, absorbing the silence and remoteness. There was not another boat as far as we could see. It’s a bit of an eerie feeling. Very alone.
As we dropped anchor and turned on our anchor light, we talked about Kat and what she must have felt when she was swimming for her life. She kicked off her shoes and oriented herself toward what she had to believe was the light of a sailboat and not a bright star near the horizon. It was her only chance. Trying to calm the panic rising in her chest choking off her breath, she repeated; It is a sailboat, it is a sailboat, matching her chant to her strokes.
Our only disruption in the night, was the noise of the water slapping the hull as the wind and seas came up. Ed was up three times checking the anchor and our position on the chartplotter. Finally at 4:45 we gave up, made coffee, pulled up the anchor and were under way by 5:20.
This ends our cruise for this winter. We have very mixed feelings, but we have a new travel adventure to look forward to and we need to get back to ship our car to Africa for the rally. We will be back next sailing season. We know, we’ve seen the rainbow, ask any Bahamian, it means you will return.
Jan and Ed on Sable