A cold front exiting the southeast coast of the U.S. is headed towards the Bahamas on Sunday, causing us to re-think our plan to remain in Little Harbor. Granted, the harbor here is one of the best in Abaco in terms of the protection it affords from a blow. But a secondary cold front expected to move through the area on Tuesday translates to winds with a northerly component beginning Sunday through Thursday. We must either travel north today in calm weather or remain in Little Harbor until next Thursday.
We decide to sail north in the Sea of Abaco to the all-weather protection of the harbor at Man-O-War Cay. This strategy will produce the greatest number of options. If conditions remain squally, we can simply remain at Man-O-War and enjoy the town, the beach and the protection of the harbor. If the fronts turn out to be benign, there are a variety of easily-reached destinations in all directions from Man-O-War Cay.
Our 19 mile journey today retraces our steps through the Pelican Cays, then west to avoid the shallow waters of Tilloo Bank. From here, our course takes us due north to Boat Harbor and around Matt Lowe’s Cay and Point Set Rock to the narrow Man-O-War entrance channel. The channel is so narrow that only one boat can fit through this tiny opening at any one time. As in most areas of the Bahamas, there are no official buoys or aids to navigation to guide the way. The Dodge cruising guide instructs the reader to watch for a piling with a double arrow (actually, a stave from a picket fence nailed to the piling) in the harbor. It is not until we have entered the channel that the double arrow piling becomes visible. As the saying goes, don’t sweat the small stuff.
Once inside, the channel splits into two separate channels. One leads to the commercial west harbor with two marinas and boatyards. We opt for the relative quiet and solitude of the east harbor, where Cutter Loose is now riding comfortably on a mooring.
Late in the afternoon, we receive a distressing communication from our buddy boat, Catspaw. This morning they learned that their friend in Rhode Island is suffering a medical emergency. They have reached the decision to sail Catspaw back to Florida at the earliest opportunity, then fly home to Rhode Island to be with their friends. We have become quite attached to Carey and Bobbi and their cruising cats. Their willingness to share their prior Bahamas cruising experience has simplified and enriched our lives. We will miss the camaraderie that we have shared with Catspaw. We wish them a safe passage.
We will remain at Man-O-War Cay for several days to explore the island while keeping a watchful eye on the weather.