Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

We zip across 12-20 feet of a beautiful turquoise desert. 

Glassy water in the Grand Bahama Banks.

When the water is as clear as it is in the Bahamas, it takes a while to recalibrate because everything seems closer underwater than it actually is. It’s tempting to leap off the boat and sink your feet into the sand. It looks like you’d be in waist-deep water, but you’d be in over your head. I already doused myself a few days prior when I stepped off the dinghy because Wayne was  sure if he went much further he’d grind our outboard shaft on the bottom. Instead, the water was neck deep! Across the Bahamas Banks, it’s 12-20 feet.

S/V Scintilla, with Chris(topher) and Chris(tine) as we transition from Bimini to the Great Bahamas Banks.

S/V Scintilla, as usual zips faster than we do, as we left Bimini together, buddy-boating to our next destination.

Chris(topher) and Chris(tine) at the island across from Brown’s Marina, Bimini, Bahamas.

I call the Bahamas Banks the blue desert because we saw very little sea life—a few flying fish, some starfish, a couple of stingrays discernable only by their distinctive outline on some patches of seagrass.

Sailing the Grand Bahamas Banks, between Bimini and Nassau.

Still, it’s impossible to not be entranced by the water. As the sun drops on the horizon, pieces of sky shine up to us, reflected off the water’s surface.

We wanted to avoid an overnight sail. In 2014, on a day this calm, we anchored on the Bahamas Banks (click here for more about that magical experience). We did so again, to bypass anchoring at Chubb Cay, and at the same time, to break up the 130-nautical mile passage between Bimini and Nassau. 

Sunset at anchor on the Bahamas Banks.

“This is what we left the Pacific Northwest for,” I told Wayne, as we embraced on our foredeck, savoring the sunset. After supper, like the last time we were anchored on the Banks, we sat down on our foredeck, gazing up at the sky. This time we saw cruise ships parked off in the distance, mothballed from lack of travelers unwilling to deal with the COVID travel restrictions. But directly above, we took in the starry sky, and oohed and ahhed to at last renew our acquaintance with the Milky Way.

And, also like 2014 the area remained glassy-calm—right up until about 2 a.m., but I’ll save that for the next post.

Location Location
We sailed from Brown’s Marina in Alicetown, Bimini for 53 nautical miles, to anchor over a small portion of the Grand Bahama, 25 37.01N 78 31.85W. This is a retrospective of the day before yesterday. We are currently anchored off Nassau.

Wayne and me on the Grand Bahamas Banks, shortly before sunset