New Providence

So where is the old Providence? Let’s ask The Google:

“The name New Providence Island is derived from a 16th‐century governor who gave thanks to Divine Providence for his survival after a shipwreck. The “New” was added later to distinguish it from Providencia in Western Caribbean (now Colombia) used by pirates.” Thanks Google.

Almost 75% of the Bahamian population lives on this one island — and there are hundreds of islands and thousands of small cays (always pronounced “keys” hereabouts) in the country. Temporarily add one person (and one boat): Andante and I arrived in West Bay, New Providence this afternoon after a nice sail from the Berry Islands.

Very-long-range view of the hotels and casinos and whatnot in Nassau Harbor and Paradise Island. We are on the opposite end of the island.

West Bay is surrounded by a park, a golf course and the exclusive community of Lyford Cay. And a noisy and smelly power plant. But its still a pretty nice spot to spend a day or two and wait for northerly winds to head further south to the Exumas. Some folks have written about excessive surge and uncomfortable rolling at anchor here but with a 15 kt southeast wind we’re barely moving at all.

Andante in West Bay, New Providence.
Same, but from a lower viewpoint. The water is clear enough that you can see the anchor chain on the bottom. But it is a bit greener than in the Berrys. I don’t know exactly why but imagine nutrient-rich runoff from the surrounding manicured community and golf course may contribute.

The first thing I did after anchoring was jump overboard. The water temperature was finally above 70 (yay) and I’d read accounts of poor holding (uh oh). So I dove in and gave the anchor a check to make sure it was set well.

The anchor. You can see that it did drag a bit before setting. I placed two sand dollars just behind it as a reference and will check in the morning to see if it moved any further. Between the 55 lb anchor and the boat are 125 feet of 3/8″ chain (about 175 lbs). All this chain generally prevents the anchor from being pulled upwards and dislodged. The trip line is connected to a surface float to mark the anchor position and so I can extract the anchor backwards should it get wedged under a rock.

While I was in the water I gave Andante an all-over bottom inspection. She looked good except that the prop zinc (the bit that I inspected in very cold water due to a mysterious vibration way back in Fisher Island, NY) was completely consumed. It didn’t fall off but rather completely corroded off. In less than 60 days. Hmm. Not sure why yet but went ahead and replaced it while I was wet. Will watch it carefully over the next few weeks. Hoping it has to do with the dockside 120V electrical system in Beaufort and not the 12V system onboard.

The prop is a little discolored but had no growth on it. I replaced the missing anode (grey lump on aft end of the hub) with a new one.
Just in case you wondered what a 2 m boat looks like in 3 m of water. This was taken at close to 1/2 tide so we may be another 20-30 cm closer to the seabed at low tide. The bottom is mostly sand with some grass. Actually more (and greener) grass than portions of my yard.
I do not have giant starfish in my yard. But otherwise the ground looks similar. This fellow was about 8″ across and directly under the keel.

It rained last night in the Berrys – at 0230. I know this because my porthole was open and I got splashed in the face. This evening just before sunset it was obvious that a squall was coming our way so I closed everything up tight in advance.

Squall at sunset.

The rain was hard and lasted more than an hour. But no complaints: Andante was covered in salt from today’s sail and always enjoys a good shower. I just wish it would rain soap briefly before the rinse cycle.

When I have a chance (and can find some fabric) I’d like to make some rain flys for at least one or two of Andante’s hatches so they can remain open in all weather. It gets a bit stuffy below with all the hatches and ports closed.

Anyway, the plan for now is to hang out here tomorrow and do boat jobs. Perhaps I’ll do a little more swimming and give Andante’s waterline a good scrub. Then on Thursday we’ll ride the north wind down to Highbourne Cay in the northern Exumas.

Bonus Content!

I didn’t have the bandwidth until today to upload these recent videos. Enjoy.

The other day as we were leaving Bimini a group of dolphins led me out of the harbor. One of them played on the bow for several minutes. Good fun.

And while dockside in Bimini I watched some fisherman throw scraps to a big group of nurse sharks. Pretty spectacular. I was actually more afraid of the greedy pelicans.

One thought on “New Providence”

  1. Great blog. Don’t think I’d swim off the dock with those nurse sharks. Almost a frenzy. Looks like those pelicans got a little territorial.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: