After waiting 10 days for a weather window we set off for Nassau and the Berry Islands at the end of February. Sail Flow promised 10 to 12 knot winds with calming seas. What we got was 18 to 25 knot winds with 7 to 9 ft. seas! It was dark by the time we reached Mackie shoals and the thought of dropping the hook in the dark with big waves pounding our boat did not have any appeal. We decided to press on towards the Northwest Channel. Turning south meant we started taking the sea on our beam. If we thought it was rough before, we were mistaken. It turned into a long night, the wind never did let up and the seas stayed in the 7 to 9 ft. range. At daylight we were at the north west entrance to the channel and things started to quiet down a little.
We decided to head towards Chubb Key because it was kind of on our way towards Nassau and we wanted a bail out position in case it started to get rough again. Sure enough, by 9:00 am the seas were building and the wind was blowing 15 to 20 out of the NNE. I was never so happy to get into a marina. Chubb Key Marina is beautiful, very well protected and spotlessly clean. Although it was one of the most expensive marinas we have ever stayed at, we were glad for the quiet water and a protected harbor. After a nice lunch, we rinsed the salt off the boat and went below for a nap.
We won't soon forget the slog from Bimini to Chubb Key, although we were never in any danger, it reminded us that any weather forecasts are really just a guess and that you must always be prepared for worse than expected conditions. We also learned that for passages like this, taking the motor off the dingy is a must. The extra weight caused the dingy to flail around a lot more and with more force than we were happy about. Our davits were strong enough to endure the punishment but we know it is much better to get that weight off the davits and stowed on the stern rail.