Thursday, April 24, 2008

From the Abacos to the Exumas

We could easily watch Irish Eyes's shadow move across the white sand and grass bottom 20 feet below the boat.

The limestone cliffs on the south end of Ship Channel Cay are 50 feet high and filled with caves.

Bill collected these floats (and a bicycle tire inner tube) while walking a mile down the beach.

Luckily for this fellow lobster season ended March 31. Notice the water is clear as glass.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

We have successfully made another 50+ mile passage on the Atlantic Ocean. This one was very different and far more pleasant than our Gulf Stream crossing. We left Marsh Harbor headed south for Little Harbor. Part way there we anchored at Lynyard Cay to wait for high tide. Little Harbor is a very interesting place. It has a shallow entrance channel, hence the need to wait for high tide, but we got through it without any problems. The settlement has a beach bar called Pete’s Pub, an art gallery, and a foundry! They cast statues in bronze at the foundry which are for sale in the gallery. There are a few houses, an abandoned lighthouse, but not much else. We enjoyed our two days there just looking around, but I didn’t buy the really neat table with a glass top supported by bronze sea birds. I thought it was really striking, but we don’t have room for it on Irish Eyes.

We left Little Harbor on Sunday morning with the sun rising. (Yes, for you who doubt it, I have the photographs to show that I saw the sun rise.) We motored south to Royal Island in Eleuthera. The seas were about 2 feet and the wind though on the nose was gentle… no crashing waves on the side of Irish Eyes and no spray coming over the dodger. It was my kind ofAtlantic passage. We made the crossing following two other boats that are travelling together. We kept in touch with both along the way. We caught two Crevalle Jacks but nothing else. I am beginning tothink we aren’t good fisherman. Bill took a sextant sight of the sun, and three tankers crossed our path; two ahead and one behind.

We arrived at Royal Island, came into the harbor, put down the anchor, and I cooked the two fish for supper. I used Robert’s fish and vegetables in foil on the grill method. It was a good supper and far more than we could eat. The moon Sunday was full. Moonrise was beautiful. You can’t beat a tropical full moon rising over the palm trees!

Monday we weighed anchor and headed for the Exumas. This was another long day, first through Current Cut, then across the open water without much to see except the absolutely clear blue water. I would not have believed it, but the water in the Exumas is even clearer than in the Abacos. I could see the starfish walking on the bottom when the water was 20 feet deep. Incredible! We also could see the coral heads from a quarter mile away and could easily dodge them.

We anchored the first night on the bank west of Ship Channel Cay then moved into the harbor because the wind was forecast to change direction. The entrance was both shallow and narrow. We bumped on the way in; even at high tide. We have now been anchored in the harbor for the last 3 days. There is a “Powerboat Adventures” camp on the island but not anything else. They bring people out for the day from Nassau and feed them lunch. We snorkeled on the reef on the Exuma Sound side of the island and walked on the mile long pink sand beach. Bill found quite a collection of fishing floats. I made him tell me exactly how he was going to use them and where he intended to store them. Since he didn’t want to use any for a pillow, he left them behind. I know, I know, he would have found a use for the floats some day, but storage is at a premium! We swam off the beach to the nearby reef where I found a lobster and Bill found a grouper. The lobster was out of season and the spear gun was on the boat, so all we have to show for our efforts is a few photographs of the lobster. On another beach near the boat, I found and kept several small conch shells. The larger ones had been harvested, so they had a hole knocked in their side. I am still waiting on finding areally big one without the hole.

We plan to leave tomorrow for Allen’s Cay to see the “wild” iguanas. From what I have read there are several adventure companies who bring folks out to see them. They also feed the things. I hope it is not too commercial.

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