December 8, 2014 in route to Nassau:
A ship with no lights, except minimal required running lights, and no AIS signal appeared on our starboard beam and silently slipped across our bow going at least 20 knots (we were traveling at 10 knots) as the night photo above shows it had forward guns and the silhouette of a U.S. Navy ship.
The ship was coming out of the Tongue of the Ocean. I know from my Navy days the U.S. Navy had operations in this area.
We approached Nassau as the sun rose and requested permission to pass through Nassau Harbor to the Bank on the east end from harbor control as required. Passing the Cruise Ship piers, we noted a 250-plus-foot super yacht sandwiched between the cruise ships. She was obviously too large to for the super yacht basin at Atlantis no more than a mile away.
Bigger is better? This is the only dock for a ship this size in the Bahamas, nested between cruise liners!
Seas were calm on the Bank. We again hung out with Jackie on the flybridge and dropped anchor at Black point at 1630 hours.
Sunday Dec 7, 2014, Great Bahama Bank:
We passed between Great Isacca, with it's unlit lighthouse, and Hens and Chicken; two small islands at the north west corner of the Great Bahama Bank. It was a busy crossing during the night we saw at least 40 AIS markers, most ships, heading north or south. One, a Carnival Cruise Liner had to be contacted by radio, who reluctantly changed course to avoid a collision with us. We had the right of way and we were maintaining course and speed as required.
In a second close encounter with a large cargo ship where we were burdened and to changed course. A third near encounter occurred when we passed very close to a 150-foot super yacht towing a 30-foot tender a couple of hundred yards or more behind. Although the tender was lit, the super yacht did not carry the two mast head lights required which provide warning of a towed vessel behind. After carefully studying the movement of the radar signals for both vessels we concluded the second one was being towed.