We experienced our first storm at anchor in Eleuthera, and some amazing things like the Queen’s Bath and maybe our favorite place of all in The Bahamas, Spanish Wells.
What We Learned
Holding Is Everything
Ok, maybe not everything but I believe it’s the most important consideration when anchoring. We knew a big storm was coming so we wanted a place with good protection. Our first stop was Hatchet Bay. It’s one of those places were a cut was created in the rock that opens to a small bay. It is surrounded on all sides by land so the protection should be excellent. The bottom however was mostly mud and grass. It took a couple of tries to set the anchor. We met up with some more experienced cruisers who suggested a better option just a few miles north. It was open to the west and north but had good east protection which is where the storm was coming from. We went up there and anchored before the blow. The bottom was good sand and provided excellent holding. I dove the anchor to make sure it was set well and we prepared for a storm. We only saw 30k winds and lots of rain. This was our first storm at anchor and I was so worried about dragging I stayed up in the cockpit all night. This experience made me much more confident to anchor and ride out a big blow. There would be more, and worse ones to come.
Have A Good Anchor
We have a Rocna 25, a 55lb anchor. The boat is 44 ft with a 24,000lb displacement so it’s pretty heavy. All our more experienced friends assured us we have the right anchor and to have confidence in it. We’ve been through a few of these and I will never use any other anchor.
Know The Currents and Tides
From the Gregory Town area of Eleuthera we headed for Spanish Wells. To get there you have to pass through Current Cut, and it’s named that for a reason. The current rips through there and you have to pass through with the tides. We timed it so we would pass about 30 minutes after high tide so the current is with us. We timed it perfectly and flew through the cut at 10 knots. You also want to do a securite on your VHF in case another boat like a big catamaran or large motor yacht is coming through the other way. Sometimes you’ll experience wind blowing against the current. It makes for a rougher passage but it’s always preferable to go with the current. I use an app called Tides which has been very accurate. I also use Predict Wind for wind and current.