May 15, 2018, aboard Krogen 50' Open "TOGETHER"
I’ll bet that headline made you decide to read this entry! Well, upon leaving Green Turtle Cay we went in search of a beautiful beach to hang out at for a few days. The owners of the Krogen 44’ Songlines suggested we try and meet up with them at a beach, located at the southern end of Elbow Cay. The charts showed the water to be a bit skinny in parts, but with a two to three-foot tidal range, we decided to give it a try on a rising tide. The beach? Tahiti Beach!
But to get to that part of the Abacos (anything just south of Green Turtle), means that we would need to transit the relatively narrow Whale Cay Passage out into the ocean for a few miles before turning back into the Sea of Abaco. The Whale, as it is known, can be extremely dangerous when there are large swells out of the northeast. These swells can travel for hundreds, if not thousands, of miles and can become breaking monsters when they hit the shallows of the cut. The locals refer to it as “rage” conditions.
So, in order to arrive at the Whale at slack tide, we left Green Turtle Cay about an hour and a half before high tide. For the uninitiated, you really want to try to transit inlets at slack tide, and definitely not at wind against tide. The forecast was for winds out of the east at 15-20 knots, so we proceeded with trepidation. As we made our way southeast towards the Whale, seas were two to three feet with the winds as forecast. Two to three feet is a walk-in-the-park for any Krogen, but this the the notorious Whale! What would the actual passage be like? About three miles away, I picked up the binoculars to try and get an idea of conditions. Did my eyes deceive me? It looked calmer than where we were! Surely it was just an illusion and things would change as we got closer.
Things did not change, and as we transited the Whale, seas were calmer than they were in route to the notorious Whale. I do not mean to dismiss the Whale at all, we just timed the tide perfectly and given the wind direction, the nearby islands, Whale Cay and Great Guana Cay, kept any ocean seas from building. Less than three hours after we left Green Turtle, we arrived off Hopetown and then started to negotiate the shallow waters as we headed south along the western shore of Elbow Cay. Depths turned out to be a non-issue, never seeing less than two feet under the keel. Two feet many of you may exclaim! Yes, two feet. That’s "deep water" under the keel for this seasoned Chesapeake Bay couple! We found that the bottom is fairly consistent in depth, with most large variations well marked on the chart. It also does not hurt that the water is crystal clear! As you learn to read the water by its color, you gain a lot of confidence in where you will travel.
As we approached Tahiti Beach at the south end of Elbow Cay, we spied the Krogen 44’ Sea Dweller. With Songlines on the way, it appeared we were going to have another mini Krogen Rendezvous! We found a good spot and dropped the hook a few hundred yards from Sea Dweller. I set to work (remember, I am not on vacation!) for the rest of the day before Janet and I headed over to Sea Dweller around six for sundowners with the crew of Songlines. Sundowners turned into, well...more than sundowners...and we and the crew of Songlines found us saying our goodbyes nearing midnight! I think the photo says it all.
While the weather was not ideal for our few days at Tahiti Beach (cloudy with winds around 20 knots), the beach did not disappoint. The Songlines crew, who has been coming to Tahiti Beach for 30 years, said they had never seen so much of the beach exposed at low tide. I guess the winds were good for something.