Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Few Cays South

Having spent 10 days in Highborne Cay, we decided to continue south.  We had really enjoyed the folks we met there, so it was with both anticipation and a twinge of sadness that we pulled out of the harbour.
We set a course for the next major Cay to the south called Normans Cay.  As we found our spot in the anchorage, we had a swell on the beam but we had plenty of room to swing.  We heard good things about the one restaurant on Normans and were looking forward to having a "cheeseburger in paradise".  I think Alyson was looking forward to not cooking or doing dishes!  We had a great lunch but were very much impressed with the balance of the menu so decided to come back for dinner too!
On the island, we met more wonderful folks.  We talked for a long while with the owners of MacDuffs, the restaurant on the beach.  Stefan gave us all sorts of insight into the history of the island and the surrounding "goings on". 
One of the days, we took a long dingy ride exploring much of the eastern shore and a large bay called the Normans Pond.  During the trip, we had to exit the dingy and walk across the sand flats, pulling the dingy behind.  It wouldn't have been bad except that every tenth or so step you hit a waist deep hole or a soft place in the sand. I'm sure it would have been comical to watch!
Our next destination was Shroud Cay.  It is pretty much uninhabited but offers some absolutely gorgeous views!  Here, we dingied through a mangrove creek to one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen!  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but even the best pictures don't do the real thing justice!
We are now at Warderick Wells.  We plan to spend a couple of days here so check back soon for more pictures and adventures!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A few more photos

We are still here in Highborne Cay but things look good for tomorrow's travel to Norman's Cay.  I posted a few more pictures follow the link below to see them!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Adventure at Highborne

Hey Guys,

I just added some more photos from Highborne Cay.


Today we saw the sun for the first time in a few days! We had a great walk to "the quiet place" which contains religious artifacts from around the world. They were placed there by Sergio Bacardi - you may recognise the last name. He owns one of the houses here.

We also did a lot of lazing around on the beach. I know its a tough life!

Anyway, enjoy the new photos. We have a Luau buffet to go to tonight. I'm sure Alyson is looking forward to not cooking, but especially no having to do the dishes!

Love to all!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Postcards from Paradise

We have finally made it to the Exumas! We spent nearly a week in Nassau provisioning and waiting for a better weather window. While there, we met many nice folks...other cruisers like us. Norman (beside us at the dock) has lived here for 35 or so years and so I picked his brain as to where all the good snorkeling, fishing and conching spots were. He also taught Alyson a new version of Gin he called Hollywood Gin. Its basically three games at a time. He said all the old men at the country clubs gamble playing Hollywood. His girlfriend is from Montauk, NY and she is a real go getter! Her name is Marion and she runs a consignment store back home for 6 months and then comes down here to live with Norman for the other 6.

Once we had our window, we moved on to Allen Cay. We anchored in a little harbour between two islands with as many as 17 other boats! We went snorkeling around the islands and explored the Ruins on Leaf Cay and watched the iguanas that run wild there. Tourists take trips there to feed them so whenever someone comes ashore, all the iguanas gather around, snorting and checking to see what delicious morsel you've brought.

As a front approached, we decided to jump to the next island down and tie up at the marina on Highborne Cay. It is very nice here with lots of scenic overlooks. Also, its very sparsely populated with only 16 full time residents on the island. That's where we are now. Thick, black rain clouds are on the horizon as the cold front closes in. I say cold but it is around 80. After it passes the temperature may plummet to 73! We will explore the island further in the next few days so check back and get the update on Highborne!

Here are the pics:

Our location is: 24°42.559'N 076°49.318'W

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Blue water in the Bahamas

We left West End and staged down island in Port Lucaya for a jump farther south. While at Port Lucaya, we got to visit the Bahamian Market that most of the cruise ships go to when visiting Freeport. If you have ever been to Freeport on a cruise ship, chances are you went this very market! Of course, Caroline had to get her hair wrapped. We also had a great dinner at an Irish pub (yes I had to get a Guinness)! we turned in early (this was New Years eve) since we had a long trip the next day.

Here are the pics of Port Lucaya: http://picasaweb.google.com/lewisnance/BahamasPortLucaya?feat=directlink

We awoke before daybreak and began to head out to sea. In the marina, there was absolutely no wind. By the time we made the clear water buoy, the breeze had begun to fill in. We hoisted sail and set our course. I soon was able to kill the engines and we were making 8 knots under sail alone. The ride was beginning to get uncomfortable, especially since we had the prevailing swell on our beam. The breeze continued to freshen and the swells increase. As I cursed the weatherman for being, in my estimation, 10 knots under the actual wind force, I put the third reef in the main and furled the head sail to match. We still made an average of over 7 knots with minimal rpm. It seemed dicey a few times as wind increased under overhead clouds, but it always felt good to get less wind on the other side. I used the engines to help maintain pace so we could make our destination before nightfall. After a hard slog in lumpy seas, we began to get a reading on our depth meters (in waters deeper than 500 ft they just blink). The Bahama bank was coming up fast - at last! We cruised into a depth of 15 feet and everything smoothed out, especially in comparison to what we just experienced. An hour later, we dropped the hook in 8 feet in Bullocks Harbor on the island of Great Harbor Cay.

Because of our rough day, the Captain and Admiral decided to give themselves the next day off. So, we sat around sunning, playing in the dingy, and swimming. Much needed! It also gave me plenty of time to plan our route to our next destination of Chub Cay.

The next morning we set off around the west side of the bank to make our way to Chub. Winds were light and favorable. It made for a much more enjoyable sail! I even got a few winks in with Alyson at the helm. By 3:00 we had Chub in sight. It is a beautiful island but has yet to recover from the last Hurricane. Much construction needs to be done. Also it has lost much of its local feel. The marina here is now owned and operated by a large conglomerate from the US. It will be nice...in 5 years after they finish construction but it will have the price to match. It already is one of the most expensive marinas we have stayed, yet has some of the worst facilities (except for the brand new docks and swimming pool). Needless to say we will be anchoring out tomorrow night!

Here are the pictures from Bullocks to Chub: http://picasaweb.google.com/lewisnance/BahamasBullocksHarborToChub?feat=directlink

Our current position is: 25°24.585'N 077°54.236'W