Friday, May 5, 2017

Allans-Pensacola Cay - 2017

May 4 & May 5

--Blogpost written by Bob

The sky was full of stars last night--the complete absence of light pollution reveals the beauty of the night sky.  The wind velocity increased during the night and is blowing at 11 knots this morning, Thursday, May 4, out of the east southeast.  The forecast is for winds to keep building (possibly up to 20 knots) today as the clouds come in.   There is a 90% chance of thunderstorms tomorrow night with the expected wind shift.   Near low tide (high tide was at 10:15 AM) I measured the water depth south of the boat so that we don't go aground when the wind shifts to the south tomorrow night--we had plenty of water depth. 

This morning there are five boats in the anchorage.  With the exception of one power boat, they are different boats than those that were here yesterday morning.  Most cruisers don't stay here at Allans-Pensacola Cay very long, usually just overnight and the holding is notoriously poor except in the sand pits.

At mid-morning, we followed the trail across the island to the signing tree--the trail was about 1/4 mile long, I would guess.  When we got near the end of the trail we could hear the ocean's surf and soon see the signing tree.

The trail opened up to the signing tree along the
beach on the ocean side of the island,

There were many signs from other boats made from driftwood
and floats found on the beach.

We placed our boat's sign around the middle of the signing tree.

The signing tree was located on a beautiful ocean 
beach. This view was looking north. 

As the day wore on the winds clocked around from the south and increased in velocity to 15 knots.  We are now sitting directly over the north end of the sand pit holding our anchor.  In the anchorage we are experiencing small 1 foot waves on a short interval with frequent white caps.  We were being protected by the small hook at the south end of the anchorage. 

This is an image from our chart plotter.  Our boat is
at the center of the red circle and north
is upward on this image.

We can see bigger waves with white caps out on the bank.  Our depth sounder is reading 10 feet of water at 3:30 PM--the next high tide is less than 1 hour away and today's tidal range is 2.39 feet.  This is another confirmation that we should be fine in this position as the tide goes out.

After a delicious pasta dinner, we noticed that we have new neighbors this evening, a large catamaran--I think it is a chartered boat.  The wind started to pick up later in the evening.


During the night "it was blowing like stink" as old sailors like to say.  I would estimate the wind velocity spot up to 30 knots at times.  Frequently during the night, there was a "thump" like the keel was coming down onto the sandy bottom.  First thing Friday morning (May 5), I measured the wind speed at 20 knots and it was coming from the southwest, a direction where we don't have the best protection.  The "thump" that concerned me during the night was our stern coming down on the water as waves in the anchorage caused our boat to "hobby horse" and the stern would come down hard on the water every 10 seconds or so.

S/V Rainy Days is facing SSW in the morning where we
don't have the best protection from the wind.

For other cruisers visiting Allans-Pensacola Cay, the best anchorage area is about 100 to 150 yards off the beach and it is about 1/2 mile long.  The charts lead you to believe that the area is too shallow but it is fine for a vessel with 5 or 6 foot draft.  (Our anchored position is 26 59'.257N - 077 41'.062W.)

The most accurate weather forecasts here in the Abacos has been available online at  I generally look at the 4-day forecast first thing every morning.  Lately, I have been copying it onto my iPad since our collective memories have gone to shit (excuse the term).  However, without internet availability it would be difficult for us to get a good weather forecast.

This afternoon has been overcast and blustery--the wind is now blowing at 25 knots out of the southwest.  We put our anchor bridle on at lunchtime--this absorbs some of the shock loads.  The boat is handling the wind and the waves in the anchorage nicely.

We have changed our plans for the next couple of days because a nice weather window (sunny with light and variable winds) opened up for Monday for crossing the Gulf Stream.  We will be leaving Allans-Pensacola Cay tomorrow morning.  Depending on how much progress we can make against the wind will determine which plan we implement:

Plan A
Allans-Pensacola to West End on Saturday (5/6)
Stay in marina on West End on Saturday night (5/6) and Sunday (5/7)
Cross Gulf Stream on Monday (5/8)

Plan B
Allans-Pensacola to Mangrove Cay on Saturday (5/6)
Mangrove Cay to West End on Sunday (5/7)
Cross Gulf Stream on Monday (5/8)

In either plan we will be spending Sunday (5/7) our anniversary in West End.

A rain cloud hovers in the distance over a neighboring
catamaran just arriving from the U.S.  
The rain 
started a few minutes after this photo was taken.

This afternoon we loaded the outboard engine from the dinghy to the rail mount of s/v Rainy Days in preparation for the gulf stream crossing on Monday.  We will be towing the dinghy across the Gulf Stream just like we did when coming to the Bahamas.  Our next blogpost will either be from West End, Bahamas or Vero Beach, FL.

Thanks for following our blog!

1 comment: