West Bay is an interesting spot. It is the furthest west point on the island but there is a shallow bay that you can reach by entering through the reef from either the south (if coming from the Exumas like we were) or from the west (if you are coming from the north). We missed this stop on the way down because we didn't arrive in time to make a daylight entrance to the bay. Now that we have seen it in the daylight, I am really glad we didn't attempt it.
The undersea geography of New Providence is pretty interesting. The south and east coasts open out onto the banks - miles and miles of water that is rarely deeper than 12 - 15 feet, much shallower usually. The north and west coast drop, almost immediately, from 10 to 25 to 2500 to 7000-10000 feet. Yes, 10,000. West Bay is at one of those edges. As we approached from the south, we sailed over the drop-off, then back onto the shallows toward the reef. The most unnerving thing about the approach is that it appears to be wide open water except for one rocky cay off to the left about a mile. In reality, the reef is only covered by 3 - 5 feet of water everywhere but the entrances I mentioned.
|West Bay, New Providence island. And, yes, those colors are|
very accurate. The shallow or deep water and reefs
are obvious. We anchored in the sand by the pushpin.
But, 'Faith' wasn't done helping us with experienced guidance yet. The following morning, we lifted the anchor and I had decided to just go back out the south entrance the way we came in. It was really the wrong direction and would add a couple of miles to our trip for the day but we had a path to follow safely. As we headed out, I got another call from 'Faith'. In a most unassuming manner, her captain pointed out that, of course, I could go that way if I wanted. Or, he could give me a specific waypoint to drive to that would take me out the west entrance through the reef to send me the right direction and save some time. You gotta love helpful people.
|Chub Cay Marina, Berry Islands|
|Chub Cay Marina definitely won the award for the best|
docks that we have seen in the Bahamas...
|... although, not many boats were taking advantage of them|
while we were there. This is really a sportfishing marina and
this isn't their time of year. But, hey, we like sportfishers.
It was a mellow day and an easy trip. It is always a little easier on the crew of SeaClearly when we are arriving to a marina. No dinghy to fool with, easy on-off, access to grass. There were not many boats in Chub Cay Marina on this day. The trip to the fuel dock was uneventful, the docking was easy, the place was pretty nice. We got settled, got Roux settled and went out to dinner at their restaurant. A welcome break after several days at anchor.
We had intended to stay here for a couple of days but the weather picture (plus some sketchy laundry facilities) incent'ed us to change plans on short notice after one night - again. I was whining because, as I looked at the weather, the good weather seemed to be happening at night. Junie pointed out that we know how to sail at night. We agreed that we should prep for an immediate, afternoon departure and do an overnight trip to Port Lucaya on Grand Bahama island, right next to Freeport. Less than two hours later, we were gone. This turned out to be a great decision, a marvelous experience but a rough and rolly end. More on that next time.