Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tragedy Strikes again at Gun Cay

Heading out of Alice Town, Bimini
Stayed at the dock the first night at Blue Water Marina
After a day in Alice Town and a night at anchorage in South Bimini, we headed further south and anchored at the infamous Gun Cay to seek shelter from the forecasted 25-knot east winds and to get further south for our crossing of the Banks to the Berry Islands.   I say infamous only because this is the same island that Mike anchored at with his family over 17 years ago during the night of THE STORM.  On their second night in the Bahamas after returning from clearing customs they anchored off of the east side Gun Cay.   As they arrived so did a horrendous storm with winds gusting above 70 knots that almost took the boat away!  Mike has told the story several times now; so I feel I can somewhat recap the aftermath.  The bimini and dodger had to be slashed as they were acting as sails pulling the boat precariously close to the lee shore.  The dinghy was cut loose and ended up on the rocks. The two anchors they had set out were tangled up and they were barely able get them back on the boat before being washed up on shore.   I’m not sure if this was a horrifying or exciting experience for Mike, but it’s a good story now, especially since everyone survived and so did the boat.

Some of the lobster we enjoyed at Gun Cay
So, why Mike felt he needed to return to this same spot, I’m not quite sure, except that it is beautiful, with white sandy beaches and a great location to snorkel and spear lobster.  We caught over 12 lobsters while anchored out there for two nights.  To get back to the story, though, that night, while we were protected from the east wind, we were not protected from the swells coming in from the Gulf Stream.  While at anchor, our boat was being backlashed by the large swells, which continued to increase in size.

By midnight, we were awakened by our boat rolling side to side and our gear crashing around the boat.  Even stuff that had been stowed was flying out of their spots and rolling around on the floor.  By 4am we couldn’t take it any longer and we moved the boat closer in, trying to escape the rolling that ensued.  We slept for another 3 hours, but the tragedy of it all was the morning to follow, when I found our i-Pad laying on the ground, the screen smashed to smithereens.  This was our main source of navigation and a $900 purchase!  Ugh.

Leaving Gun Cay to cross the Banks to the Berry Islands
Of course, we do have backup navigation systems; they are just not as fun and easy to use.  So after an hour of mourning for the i-Pad, we buried it in the chart table and pulled out the hand-held GPS and paper charts.  We were going to have to use our 2.5” GPS and charts to plot our course for crossing the Banks to the Berry Islands.  On a bright note, our boat was not in peril, nor were our lives, but our sleep was disturbed and unfortunately the i-Pad lost its life in this tragedy at Gun Cay. 
New navigation tools - paper charts

Lesson learned, non-skid does not keep stuff from falling off tables, do not trust it, especially in rolling situations.  Stowing your valuables is VERY IMPORTANT, even if it is not rolling out.  Note, going from a 10” I-pad touch screen to a small cursor screen, is a cruel reminder of what happens when you don’t properly stow away your gear or keep insurance on it.  


  1. That's a bummer, Sara...hate to lose a tool like that. Nature really does rule us, when it decides to.

    Happy Christmas!

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