When we left Nassau to head from Porgee Rock to Highborne Cay, about 35 nautical miles away, the only worry we had was the minefield of coral heads our charts showed on the Yellow Bank about halfway across.
We were inclined to take the long route around, just to be safe, but then we met a cruising couple in Nassau who’ve sailed down to the Bahamas each year for 17 years, and they told us not to worry and to just go straight through the Yellow Bank. According to them, the coral heads were highly visible and easy to avoid if you arrived at mid-day with the sun overhead.
I was a little on edge, though, as we approached the Yellow Bank because I could see a number of sailboats had decided to go around it, rather than through it, and because I had no idea what I was looking for.
But, before long, we realized our friends were right; you couldn’t miss them. The coral heads appeared as big, black splotches on the clear, blue water, each of them about 15 feet long. The only way you could actually hit one of them, was if you weren’t looking for them.
In the end, there was nothing to worry about. We sailed smoothly the whole way with 12 knots of wind and arrived to our little anchorage off Highborne Cay in the Exumas well before sunset. The only disappointment for me was not catching fish on the way. But, hey, at least this time we didn’t lose a fish.
And once our anchor was set, we settled into the cockpit with some wine, a home-made pizza on the BBQ and nothing around us but a few other boats and the stars overhead. It felt like we’d cashed in our chips from all those cold, torturous months sailing south.
There’s that saying, “Sometimes it’s a little better to travel than to arrive.” On this particular occasion, though, I’d have to disagree.
I couldn’t be happier to have finally arrived.