Manjack to Great Sale


Anchored in north-facing Manjack Lagoon, Spartina began to roll occasionally on random ocean swells. By midnight, the rolling became regular. Swells, from tropical storm Chris off the Carolina Coast, had found us in Abaco.

It was mid-July and time to leave the hurricane-prone northern Bahamas. Statistically, July hurricanes seldom occur, but we still had almost a month before our planned arrival back on Folly Beach.

After the morning dinghy ride/ dog walk, I did my routine pre-underway checks, then we set out for Great Sale Cay. Great Sale offered us a decently-protected anchorage halfway between Manjack Cay and West End, Grand Bahama Island, our “jump-off” point into the Atlantic. The weather was unsettled. Black clouds, underpinned with dark sheets of rain, surrounded us on all sides. The rain wasn’t worrisome, but the accompanying squalls and lightning kept us on edge. Periodically, I powered up the radar to determine each storm cell’s distance from Spartina, direction of movement, and general intentions.

A sailboat travels, in 10 hours, about as far as a car on the interstate travels in one hour. It’s slow-going. Great Sale, 54 miles away, was an all-day motor sail. To pass the time, I trolled a drone spoon from a spinning rod behind the boat. Soon, we landed a couple of nice Cero mackerel. I carved two fillets from each fish and tossed the remaining translucent backbone and head overboard for recycling.

At dusk, Spartina motored into the south-facing bight at Great Sale Cay. There, protected from a north wind, we anchored for the night. Around midnight, a lightning bolt artillery barrage slowly moved across us. Grace barked. We lay silently in our bunk. The lightning passed. We slept, then got up at dawn for another dinghy ride/ dog walk.