The Whale

The Whale. Whale Cay Cut. Arguably the Abacos most dangerous passage. Ships have gone down with lives lost passing through this area. Northeast swells and winds can contribute to create a “rage” in the Whale. Impassable conditions. And there is no alternative route for a deeper draft vessel such as Tivoli.

The sun is about to peek above the horizon. We’ve waited for several days and the conditions seem right. Wind is 10 knots, seas are calm, predictions look good. I’ve checked all sources of information at my disposal over and over.

We back out of our slip at Bluff House Marina on Green Turtle Cay and head out the channel. Tide is in, should be plenty of depth to get out of here.

It is a short run down to the cut and I use the intervening waypoints to double-check the accuracy of our autopilot. Precision is important here as the Whale is only a couple hundred yards wide with breakers on the south side. I have no intention of relying on the autopilot during our transit of this area but it will get us set up.

As we approach the area I check the sea state whenever it becomes visible between cays…No Name Cay shows relatively calm seas offshore, no breaking waves. Just then a boat reports on VHF channel 18 that conditions in the Whale are passable. 3-5 foot swells from the east and 1-2 foot waves. We will go for it.

Depth isn’t an issue here; only location.

We pass through the Whale without incident; the ride is a bit lumpy but no challenge at all for Tivoli and even her occupants are comfortable.

Next waypoint we turn south into a former cruise ship channel. We stay dead center in the channel and have no issues as we make our way past the high-end resort at Baker’s Cay (we notice a seaplane parked outside someone’s beachside villa) and out into the Sea of Abaco. It is a beautiful day.

We decide to head for Treasure Cay Resort and Marina north of Marsh Harbour. We are bypassing Guana Cay (and it’s famous bar Nippers) as we’ve “been there done that”. We decided to explore Treasure Cay simply because we have the time and have not been there before. In addition, it is home to one of National Geographic’s “10 best beaches in the world”. Got to stop for that one.

By noon we are in the entrance and make our way down a long channel into the marina. We call them on the VHF and get our slip assignment and soon are tied up and powered up.

We grab a quick lunch at Tipsy’s (OK quick is relative in the islands; it’s best to allot at least two hours for lunch, service is routinely glacial) and head over to check out the famous beach.

Wow! Deanna and I are not beach people but this one is stunning. Sugar white soft sand stretching in an arc for four miles; water offshore is brilliant turquoise; blue cloudless sky overhead. Cool sea breeze keeps us comfortable as we take in the views.

The marina and resort is very nice but the beach is what makes Treasure Cay a worthwhile stop.


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