Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24, 2009

On the north side of Highborne Cay is a beach. Someone put this piece of washed up lumber between two of the casurina pines above the beach. It made a good resting place.

The sign is at the entrance to the north creek that passes through the mangroves in the interior of Shroud Cay to the beach on the ocean side. Barcardi paid for the sign. Good people.

Bill found these plastic fishing floats on the beach. We left them behind.

Our dinghy on the Exuma Bank side beach at Hawksbill Cay with Irish Eyes (the sailboat) in the background.

Hey. We are currently moored at Warderick Wells Cay. The water is as clear as gin and the sky as blue as anyone can imagine. Our only problem is the wind which has been blowing from the east at 20 to 25 knots for several days and is expected to continue to do so for the few days.
We left Allen’s Cay and made the three hour trip, under sail, to Highborne Cay. Highborne has a marina and a couple of houses. We anchored on the Exumas Bank side (shallow water, western side, in the lee of the island, and out of the 20 kt east winds) with five or ten other boats for two nights. The landscape here is very stark deeply etched limestone with vegetation above the high water line with deeply blue water up to the limestone. Shortly after we had our anchor set, a beat up johnboat with two Bahamian fishermen aboard came along side and asked us if we wanted some lobster. We took two! Sure beats looking for them on our own! We decided to take a short island tour and went to both of the two closest beaches for a stroll. We grilled one of the lobsters which with a bit of garlic butter made for a fabulous dinner.
Our friends on Dot’s Way showed up the next evening, and we enjoyed a couple of beers with them on our boat. After they left we grilled two steaks for dinner. Before dark a large motor yacht (maybe 150 ft), Bad Girl, anchored behind us. The large crew from Bad Girl made several trips to the beach that was 200 yards in front of us. They proceeded to gather wood for a fire then erected two tents, several umbrellas, tiki lanterns, chairs, tables, a grill, a music system, and began working on preparing food for dinner. Around 8pm the dozen or so VIPs from Bad Girl got on one of their three dinghies (all 16 to 20' boats) and went to the beach party. It was all very interesting. The female to male ratio was at least 3 to 1and the age ratio was about the opposite! We got bored with watching until they started the fireworks show! The fireworks were good and entertained the whole anchorage. One fellow on a Canadian registered boat hailed Bad Girl, registered in Bermuda, to thank him for the show. The Canadian asked leading questions about Bad Girl, but the English accented captain was quite secretive never saying much more that she was a privately owned vessel. Maybe it was a rock star, a movie actor, a royal, or perhaps an AIG executive; who knows. Oh well, it was fun to watch and speculate.
Irish Eyes made the long trip, about 5 miles, to Norman’s Cay, the ex home and business location of the drug baron Carlos Lehder. We went into the Beach Club, McDuff’s, for a drink and dinner. Norman’s Cay has 5 year-round residents and about 45 part-time residents. The staff at McDuff’s are usually there for a week and off for a week. Some go to Nassau and some go back to various points in the US or UK. Our waitress told us that some of the young guys are there for a few months; make of that what you may. The food was good and the booze flowed in the evenings for both the staff and guests.
We left Norman’s and headed south for another 5 miles to Shroud Cay which is the northernmost cay in the Exumas National Park where we picked up one of their ($15/night) mooring balls. This is the island with a natural fresh water well where we stayed last year. Bill made three trips in the dinghy bringing us about 40 gallons of water. That was enough for me to wash underwear and refill our forward water tank. Peanuts was wrong, happiness is a full drawer of clean underwear! Shroud Cay was a great place to explore. The island is basically two land masses, one on the banks side and one on the ocean side, with mangrove swamps and tidal creeks in the middle. We took two three-hour dinghy exploration trips through the mangroves to the sound beaches, one through the northernmost creek and one through a southern creek. The scenery was spectacular. At times the water was very shallow and we had to walk pulling the dinghy behind, but the views and the beach were worth the effort. Our little Tohatsu outboard motor was a trooper going through water we thought was deep but really was not. I found pretty things; Bill found stuff. The amount of plastic junk on a deserted beach is mind boggling. Sorry all you plastic guys at Eastman, but it’s enough to make a person want to ban plastic! Bill’s best find was the electronics from some sort of weather balloon. It was a Styrofoam case with a circuit board and battery inside and with lots of wires sticking out. The thing looked like a bomb but was too water logged to be scary. I would also ban Styrofoam if I were in charge.
Today we made a reservation on the VHF for a mooring buoy at Warderick Wells Cay, the headquarters for the Exuma Land and Sea Park. We put the dinghy on the deck, dropped the mooring ball, and sailed southeast from Hawksbill Cay until Warderick Wells was east of us. Then we started motoring, slowly, into the 25 knot east wind that we have had since leaving Florida. It was not fun. The boat’s instruments said it would take 2 hours, then when we almost stopped after hitting a wave and water went all over the boat, 3 hours, then 2 hours as we started moving again. Well, we got here, finally. Near the shore and protected by the cay between us and the wind it is nearly calm if you forget the singing of the rigging overhead. We took the American flag down; it was making too much noise. We got the WiFi working and Bill is re-patching the dinghy. It’s nearly time for a SDG&T. Got to go.

1 comment:

Margaret said...

I had to go find a map of the Exumas after reading your post. Will you wander down all of the Exumas or do you have favorites? Now I understand what you mean by "ocean side" as I was thinking you were surrounded by ocean!
Have a good trip. I fly back to K'port today.