We left Nassau at first light on March 10 during a short window before some bad weather forecast for March 12. Our exit was a heck of a lot more pleasant than our entrance; we rode the ebb tide out of the harbor and then headed northeast. The winds were in the mid-teens, which is usually great for us as Kestrel is a heavy boat that requires a bit of oomph to get going. But the wave direction was killing us: right on the nose. We were close hauled and beating all day, which was unpleasant for the boat and for us. But this is the nature of sailing; sometimes your travel day choices are between bad and not-so-bad, and we agreed that staying in Nassau for another week was too yucky to contemplate.
Yup, all damn day.
The Captain had identified two anchorages that would give us the most protection from wind and waves when the front arrived. The first one geographically was Royal Island Harbour, which wasn’t our best choice as it is reported to have debris on the bottom. We could tell it was jam-packed as we approached, so we kept on going to an anchorage off of the west side of Meeks Patch, a small ladle-shaped island about a mile and a half southwest of Spanish Wells. We anchored in 10.6 feet of beautifully clear water. There were four other boats anchored there, but there was room for plenty more boats. We barely bobbed all night.
The west side of Meeks Patch with its coral shores and insanely gorgeous water.
The trip from Nassau to Meeks Patch was 44.0 nm and took 10 hours, 45 minutes.
On March 11, we moved to the east side of Meeks Patch in anticipation of the storm forecast to arrive the next day. While the west side of Meeks Patch has forbidding coral shores, the east side has beaches and is much more “island-y”. We ended up with 11 boats in the anchorage, but there was still plenty of room for everyone.
The east side of Meeks Patch–much more inviting.
We dinghied to shore and spent a fun afternoon exploring. The island is very narrow; it took about 5 minutes to walk across it.
This is the northern tip of Meeks Patch. It is narrowest up there, but you can see both sides of the island.
The “inland” strip between the sandy east side and coral west side is the typical mix of palm trees, pine trees, and scrubby undergrowth.
There were coconuts everywhere, but we hadn’t brought the machete, so they lived to fight another day.
The west side clearly takes the brunt of the weather; the trees are twisted and gnarled, and the coral has been pocked with small tidal pools. We found a set of steps that had been carved into the coral leading down to the water.
A view of the east side of the island from “inland.” You can see some of the boats in the anchorage.
There are a few structures that have been built using found materials, such as a small lean-to and what we called The Fort.
The Fort, complete with bench seating, bar, swing seating, and even some nasty carpet. Drink up!
We found a fishing float about the size of a soccer ball that was in a rope net, and we added it to The Fort’s décor.
Kestrel leaves her mark in the form of “repurposed” trash. In some souvenir shop, that trash float would have cost $50.
I looked for sea glass on the beach but didn’t find any. Other cruisers had set up chairs on the beach to enjoy the day, and the kids off of one of catamarans were having a great time.
Our faithful dinghy awaiting us on the beach with Kestrel in the background.
We stayed on the east side of Meeks Patch until we left on March 17. Both the west and east sides had great holding, and the dinghy ride to Spanish Wells was short and easy from the east side.