April 2 – April 7
April 2. The shallow water by the beach at Cambridge Cay was perfect for more paddle board practice. Plus we wanted to visit the coral garden at the entrance to the cut. So we decided early that we would stay a second night. As we had breakfast another mega yacht came in a and picked up a mooring, making three in the small anchorage. Later a fourth came in but there was no more “big boy” moorings available so they had to turn and go back out.
The winds were very light so Paul took advantage and sent the drone up for a quick video shoot. Then we put our snorkel gear in the dinghy along with the hand held VHF radio. We were running out into deep water and to the edge of the cut from Exuma sound. There were enough boats in the anchorage that if we needed help we would get a response via the VHF.
We ran through the cay and turned towards the inlet and Honeymoon Beach. We anchored the dinghy in the corner of the beach and snorkeled out to what we saw named on the charts as a “coral garden.: We were not disappointed. The coral reef was stunning and ran for quite a long way out. See the video below. As Paul was coming back to the boat he was shadowed by a barracuda. Paul wasn’t sure who was keeping a closer watch on who – and he kept his ring finger clamped to his side so as not to attract interest!
We had a very pleasant day at Cambridge, with more paddle board practice, and watching the charter guests play off the big yachts.
April 3. We headed out of Cambridge Cay, and left the Exuma Land and Sea Park for the last time this year. Our next stop was Sampson Cay, another stop we had never been to. Sampson is a private cay owned by the telecommunication billionaire, John Malone. It used to has a decent marina, restaurant and villas. But once it he bought it the marina was closed down. He has huge signs all over the area reminding everyone that the island is private. As with everywhere else in the Bahamas, all beaches below the waterline is public property and accessible, so we dinghy’d past the closed marine into the beautiful sandbars in the interior.
April 4. As we left Sampson this morning we noticed trash being burned on one of the beaches. We hoped that the owners were good stewards of the waters and that the remains were removed before the tide came in.
While at Sampson Paul tried the back flip routine as a way to get out of the water and into the dinghy. The problem is, this works well with an inflatable dinghy that does not have a center console – and the console is pretty hard when hit by your shin!
We cruised around the corner to Staniel. We know that the supply boat comes in on an Thursday (sometimes Friday) and wanted to be there to get fresh vegetables and fruit as well as milk. There is a great little anchorage right beside Staniel Cay Yacht Club that only has room for three boats, so we were aiming for there first in the hope that there was room. Plus we wanted to go into the Yacht Club for drinks and a dinner treat! If there wasn’t room we would go back to the large anchorage at Big Majors and take the long dinghy run into Staniel for the provisions.
We were in luck. there were only two boats in the little anchorage so we squeezed Sonas in! We went ashore and up to the joint laundry and liquor store, grabbed some beer, white rum, and Captain Morgan. Then around noon we saw the supply boat come in. It left around 2:00, so we gave the supermarket an hour to get the delivery up and went in. A number of others had the same idea and it was a bit of a zoo. Poor market people were trying to get the fresh stuff on the shelves but we were taking it off them as soon as it was out of the boxes!! All good though, and we got the fresh stuff we wanted! And, to say it is shipped from the states, via Nassau, it was excellent quality!
The restaurant at Staniel Cay Yacht Club has two seatings – 6:30p.m and 8:30p.m. You call to make reservations by 4:00 and tell them your food order! We called and confirmed a 6:30 reservation and ordered two lobster dinners! In we went at 5:30 to the bar for a couple of Sands beers, and promptly at 6:30 the dinner bell was rung and we went through for a delicious lobster dinner!
We had recently bought a couple of Breeze Boosters. These are gadgets that you out out of your cabin window that deflects the breeze into your sleeping area. Since the evenings were starting to warm up, and we really wanted to hold off on using the generator and AC during the night for as long as possible, we deployed them for the first time. It took us a little while to get the adjustments right for our port holes, but we got there. And found that they worked very well indeed. In fact a couple of times we had to partially close the windows to keep the gale at bay!
April 5. Next day we decided to head over to Big Majors and see what was happening over there. As we approached we saw plenty of boats on the AIS system! We tucked ourselves well into the land and well away from the nonsense that is Pig Beach! We had previously visited the pigs a couple of years ago and felt no compunction to do so again. We took the paddle board over to the beach and added to our experience. Sian is becoming more and more proficient while Paul still has the occasional watery face plant! We have found that the blow up version of the SUP, being lighter, makes it harder to get back on when you fall off than a heavier fiberglass SUP would be. So we play in the shallow waters so as to be able to get back on without exhausting ourselves.
April 6. The large busy anchorage at Big Majors, with the dozens of boats and constant tourist boats visiting the pigs, is not really what we enjoy. So we left early today amid strong rain squalls. We headed around Harvey Cay and set our course for Black Point. There is a busy fishing community on the north side of Black Point which we had visited before, but we were aiming for the beautiful quiet anchorage off the sandy beaches on the south side of the point, right by a house that was designed after a bucket-built-sandcastle.
We anchored a hundred yards or so off the beach. Once we were set Sian did some strength building exercises on the fore deck, then we dinghy’d into the beach and walked up and down the 1/8 of a mile beach a number of times for some more exercise. Sian then swam back to Sonas. We had lunch and took the paddle board in for some more play time! We were later joined by two other boats, one a charter,and had a lovely quiet evening in this beautiful anchorage with just the three boats.
April 7. Back to the beach today for some more walking to get in our daily quota! During the morning an interesting vessel came in. Called Mirage, she had a thin monohull with a large outrigger. After anchoring she put out a half dozen kayaks and off they went. Paul Googled her and found out that the couple who owned her run kayak adventures in the Bahamas and Caribbean. Around lunchtime Nagari, our sister ship, with Paul and Michelle on board, came into the anchorage. We went over and said hello and grabbed a beer. When we asked them if they had paid a visit to Pig Beach while they were in Big Majors Michelle shared her horror story. She had been feeding the smaller pigs some carrots when a big sow chased her down, pushed her over and bit her on the butt. She showed us the bruising and it was quite substantial.
Later we met on the beach for a paddle board and chat while sitting in knee deep crystal clear Bahamian water. They came over and had dinner on board in the evening.
April 8. After breakfast we lifted the dinghy and paddle board as we would be going out into Exuma Sound for a portion of our trip this morning , and it was still quite windy. We left Black Point and Nagari and headed south again.
This morning there was a pre-sale of a concert we wanted to go to back in Jacksonville which was sure to sell out. So right on time at 10am we jumped on line and got our two tickets to see Celine Dion! Then we headed south past Farmers Cay and in behind David Copperfield’s Musha Cay to Rudder Cut. We went through Rudder Cut and out into Exuma Sound. The water at the cut was pretty severe but once through and heading towards Adderley Cut eight miles away, we faced four foot rollers which wasn’t too bad given the short distance. Sian then decided to go below to check on the fridge freezer, to make sure that it wasn’t swinging open with the seas. The fridge was fine but she found that we had forgotten to close the windows in the forward guest cabin, right on the bow. The heavy seas were bringing water in both sides. So she closed the windows, and threw down some towels. We are not quite sure how we missed this as we have quite a robust “prepare for sea” process every time we go “outside.” The decks are totally cleared, nothing loose. The living quarters are prepped, with anything that could fall down placed on the floor or sofa (like lamps), fridge/freezer clamped, and all windows closed. We would have to clear up the watery mess once anchored!
Again at Adderley Cut the water got up as the SE wind bumped up against an outgoing tide, but we got through with no issues.
We were heading for another one of our favorite anchorages – Williams Cay. We had hoped to spend a couple of nights here, but a change in wind direction to the SW and West is forecasted for tomorrow meaning wind straight into the anchorage so we will be moving on after only one night.
After anchoring Sian stripped and laundered the forward bed’s linen, and cleared up any water on the floor and window areas soaked as a result of leaving the forward ports (windows) open during our Exumas Sound run. We were all squared away by mid afternoon, so swam to the beach and back, before grilling dinner on board.