Bahamas Storms….Nothing New Here!

February 17, 2022

Next stop was Rum Cay. This was supposed to be another good snorkeling island with protection near the town. We motor-sailed directly into the 20k wind and 5 foot seas for 20 miles. What should have taken 4 hours took nearly 7.

Needless to say, we were not able to snorkel the reef at Rum, so after dropping the anchor, we toasted Rum with a bit of Rum and spent one rolly night.

A rum drink in honor of Rum Cay

The next day was a good sail mixed with periods of squalls to travel the 32 miles to Clarence Town on the east side of Long Island. This was to be our last stop in the Bahamas before heading to the Dominican Republic. We would be looking for shelter in the bay near the town from the storm that was quickly approaching.

This harbor was quite shallow and uneven. We worked our way past a catamaran and anchored in 10 feet of water at nearly high tide. With a 2 1/2 foot tide, that would give us a mere 6 inches under our keel at low tide. OK, as long as we had something, we should be fine. The harbor was calm, so we went into town and docked Tiny 2 at the government dock. We walked the dirt streets and ended up at the Lighthouse Point restaurant for an early dinner.

Clarence Town
Main Street

Tiny at the Government Dock
St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church built by Father Jerome in 1947

The night was calm and we woke to very flat seas. We were concerned about the uneven bottom of the anchorage and the fact that the winds would be coming from every direction during the storm. We dropped Tiny and motored around Slow Dancer with a make-shift depth finder using a dive weight and a line. We discovered that less than 50 feet from our current position, the depth was 8 1/2 feet at high tide, and we had out over 100 feet of chain! With a full moon tide of nearly 3 feet, that put us over a foot aground! The catamaran near us had moved and their spot looked to be a bit deeper than ours. But here comes the wind! Quickly, up anchor and put the engine into forward. What?!!! Not now! Back and forth we tried the transmission until finally it engaged and we moved to the new spot and dropped anchor. This spot was 12 feet deep. We would be fine. And here comes the storm!

Clarence Town Harbor did not offer much protection

The anchorage at Clarence Town did not offer as much protection as we had hoped. So for 4 days, Slow Dancer danced around the anchorage in every direction and slammed down onto each wave. It was not a pleasant 4 days, but we waited it out and on day 5, with the seas down a bit (certainly not completely!) we dropped Tiny and headed into town for a few groceries, diesel and to check out of the Bahamas. We were ready for a few less storms!

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