Piggyville & The Whale – Sailing The Abaco Out Islands

Piggyville & The Whale – Sailing The Abaco Out Islands

We were a tad sentimental as we pulled up the anchor and said goodbye to our new friends at Munjack Cay, but we were also intrigued and excited about our next destination.

Not even a hop, skip or jump away lies No Name Cay, an island rumored to be overrun by some wire-haired hooligans.

I’m not entirely sure why someone would bring a bunch of pigs over to an uninhibited island and drop them off. But then again, why not?! Pigs basking in the sun, swimming for fun and rolling in the sand instead of mud…who doesn’t want to see that!

Swimming pigs of abaco

We’ve heard all about the swimming pigs in the Exumas but didn’t expect to see them in the Abacos. So, it was a welcome surprise to learn there’s a family of pigs living at No Name Cay (AKA Piggyville).

We didn’t bring any food to the pigs if you are wondering. There was no way I was giving up any of my hard-to-come-by-high-priced fruits and veggies. No matter how cute those little pigs were. Plus, seems they were getting their fill of Doritos from the other tourists. Doritos are part of the pig food pyramid, right? Directly under Twinkies I believe.

Abaco swimming pigs
SUP bahamas

Piggyville was our hangout while we caught up on work and attempted to gain “local knowledge” about Whale Cay passage. It’s funny how everything we read, and the people we talked to, would say “don’t even think about going through The Whale without local knowledge” yet, we couldn’t seem to get any local knowledge. We checked all the known sources like Barometer Bob and the cruiser’s net, yet no one was reporting anything on The Whale.  Just a head’s up: We couldn’t pick up the daily cruiser’s net on our radio, so we had to login to their website to listen after the broadcast.

Whale passage
Looking back at Whale Cay.

So, we figured we would go stick our nose out there and see what’s going on. The idea being, go check it out and if we don’t like what we see, we can turn and drop the hook at Whale Cay.

Also, it doesn’t take a lot of critical thinking to deduce there are optimal conditions to take on any pass or outlet headed to sea.  A little common sense along with checking the tides, wind direction, wind speeds and swell periods can tell you a lot about the potential for a rage sea.

Whale Cay Passage separates green turtle from the other major cays and Marsh Harbor to the south. There is shoaling on the inside of Whale Cay that makes it too shallow for us to pass through, otherwise we’d simply stay in the sea of Abaco. This means we must head out into the ocean, go around the small island and then back into shallow water. During times of heavy off shore winds and swells this pass can become treacherous, even deadly. They call it the Abaco Rage.

Here are some of the conditions that can make for Rage conditions in Whale Cut:

  • Heavy winds from the North are the most dangerous but direct East winds can make for rough seas as well
  • Large ocean swells, especially short period swells
  • Departing at mid-tide when the currents are most intense
  • Of course everything depends on the size and speed of your vessel along with your comfort level

We are learning that there seems to be a lot of fuss and heavy warnings over things like cuts and passages…and all things sailing really. Reading certain reviews and guide books would scare anyone into thinking they are taking on something way above their limit.  When we tuned into the cruisers net they claimed sailing in the Sea of Abaco was uncomfortable and “rolly”, even dangerous advising people to travel slow and take it easy.  You can see in the video how calm the Sea of Abaco was that day, shoot I wouldn’t of even call the ocean side uncomfortable! Listening to the Cruiser’s net only made our anxiety about crossing through the Whale even worse.

We are a society that puts life threatening warning labels on everything (i.e. don’t put the blow dryer in the bathtub, do not remove this mattress tag) which always seems a little over the top. But, in reality the fuss and warnings are there because for whatever reason, sometimes we humans simply forget to think.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize the sea can be scary and things can get gnarly but that is the point. A little thinking, research, planning and patients will go a long way in any lifestyle. I’m not saying we have it all figured out or that we won’t screw up (we do and will continue to). It’s more of a self-reminder that crap happens when we stop thinking, stop paying attention, get lazy or in a hurry.  So, as long as we are taking the time to think about the situation, we shouldn’t overthink things or let “warning labels” scare us or keep us from moving forward.  Ok, enough of me on a soap box, I’m stepping down.

Now that we’ve managed to safely make it to Marsh Harbor, we’re excited to see a little more civilization.  Hopefully we’ll find a good grocery store and restock our fridge. Then, it’s off to explore as much as we can with our last few days before making the trek back to the West End of Grand Bahama to meet up with family.

Sailing Report

To see our full map with interactive pins, click here: gonewiththewynns.com/map

sailing travel map

Nautical Miles Sailed: 7.8 miles
Dates: November 23-25, 2016
Anchorage: No Name Cay
Cell & WiFi: Our BTC signal was good and even better with our booster on.

Gear Used In This Video

Cameras Used to Capture This Video:

One last note…thanks for reading and watching.  You are now a part of our journey and we as so glad to have you along.  Now, put down the gadget you are reading this on and go do something exciting, you deserve it!