May 24th to May 30th Big Major to Chub Cay The Bahamas

 May 24th We pulled anchor at 6:30am for the 12 mile run to Warderick Wells, it was all planned on arriving at the right tide for the divers to be able to complete their dive at slack water. I must say it was lovely to wake up surrounded by 5 other Nordhavns!

 Warderick Wells is the home of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park Headquarters. The Park is 22 miles long x 4 miles wide and was provided to preserve native species, it’s a “No take” zone, living or dead, by both land and sea. Johnny Depp owns one of the small islands (or Cays as they call them) named Little Halls Pond Cay. It was tempting to drop in and say Hi but we ran out of time 😉

We anchored around 9am and the divers set off about 9.15am. I stayed on Southern Star for some quiet time and my mission is to clean up and organise all the portable hard drives that we have photos, movies and backups on, into some sort of semblance of order.

The intrepid divers arrived home and we had a bite of lunch and then went to explore the park by duck. We decided to call into the Park headquarters and get some information on the park.




It was a bit of a rickety wharf but OK. We made our way up to the offices and shop which were deserted, and the shop had a sign saying back in 10 minutes, that looked like it had been there for 10 years. But, we could hear something like dice rolling, and sure enough, the staff were all next door playing dominoes. We asked for some help and a lady very begrudgingly came and opened up the shop. We asked about some snorkelling sites and she gave us a photocopy map. She was clearly not happy to have to be serving us and abruptly told us we had to pay $10 per head for landing there! Unfortunately none of us had brought any money with us. We left and went for a tour around the area. It was very lovely and there was a skeleton of a whale on the beach. The water was so clear we could see this big black sting ray from ages away.







We found a lovely deserted sandy beach and had a big swim and then we all snorkelled over to the small rocky islet at the head of the bay and it was so full of fish and Conch it was very pretty.

 

 

 





May 25th
The wind had picked up and our crew decided they didn’t want to go diving today on the outside with Starlet and Shear Madness. We decided to move instead to Shroud where Blossom the Nordhavn 60 are sitting. Jennifer decided she didn’t want to go diving either so she came with us on Southern Star.

We departed Warderick Wells at 10am for the short run to Shroud Cay. L’Adagio followed behind us. Jennifer and I sat up in the fly bridge driving most of the way. We arrived at around 12.45, dropped anchor near Blossom, and made a quick sandwich for lunch.


















While we were eating lunch storm clouds assembled quite quickly around us and Jennifer looked out and spotted a water spout spiralling from the clouds. It was quite impressive, and we were all pleased it was heading away from us, not towards us.

We jumped in the duck and headed over to meet Blossom. Martin and Stephanie had Blossom built and have been cruising her for half a year for the last 18 months. Sounds perfect to me, 6 months at home and 6 months on the boat. I would like that. Wow, what a beautiful boat it is, the 60 is an extended 55 with the 5 foot all in the cockpit, which gives a fantastic entertaining area. The boat is tastefully decorated, especially with Steph’s handmade quilting touches here and there. We would love a 60’ Nordhavn!

Shear Madness and Starlet arrived after their diving escapades and Jennifer was very happy to see Starlet, Mark and of course Tori dog.

Everyone was invited to Blossom for burgers for dinner but we already had meat thawed out, so we joined them afterwards for a couple of drinks. It was again, a very pleasant evening. This lifestyle is much enriched with us meeting other like-minded Nordhavn owners (and of course other boat owners who aren’t Nordhavn owners), but they do seem to become like a family and very social. It certainly helps to make up for the family and friends that we miss from home!


May 26th
Woke up to see sucker fish swimming around the back of the boat so we fed them some scraps. They wolfed them up pretty quickly. They are also called Remora and they look just like baby sharks.







We (Blossom, L’Adagio, us, Shear Madness and Starlet) headed off at 10.30am in the ducks for a creek expedition which ends up on the other side of Shroud, on the ocean side. We also had the pleasure of running into the guys off the yacht Turning Point whom we last saw in Mayaguana. It was lovely to see them all again.





 Here we climbed a short hill and the very small area there is named Camp Driftwood, we could see for miles. It’s where the FBI used to hideout to observe the drug runners landing their planes on nearby Norman Cay. There are sunken plane wrecks from when the FBI busted them. There were tree snails on the palm trees which were more like shells than snail
















Robbie climbed back down to the flats and launched the drone, but it was pretty windy. He still managed to get some good shots of the creek and beach area. You can just see Brad, Kristie and Laust on the top of the hill!

We all stopped by at the pretty little beach at the creek entrance for a swim and a bite to eat. We didn’t pack lunch as we had planned to have a sausage sizzle back on Southern Star. Some people played ping pong and Blossom had brought a Finnish beach game a bit like 10 pin bowls.

We headed back and Brad cooked the Sausages, which were very nice. We had a quick lunch and then said our farewells to the other boats and upped anchor to head the short distance to Highbourne Cay, from where we can go see the Iguanas on Allen’s Cay.

We were not very long out of the anchorage and Kristie’s hat blew off. Robbie quickly turned around (man overboard drill) but by the time we got there it had sunk. She was disappointed as she had brought it in Zanzibar as a souvenir.

It took us 2.5 hours to get to Highbourne and I decided to cook the NZ Lamb roast we had been saving for Brad and Kristie. L’Adagio arrived around 7pm. We finished up dinner and were sitting on the cockpit enjoying the cool breeze when we heard classical music playing on the radio, yes it was Laust and Hans on L’Adagio. For about half an hour we played musical ping pong on the radio (channel 8, and yes – it’s very bad form) including the Waifs from L’Adagio(Brad & Kristie’s favourite band) then they played a Liverpool song “you’ll never walk alone”, we retaliated with the Danish National Anthem and so it went on. Eventually Laust and Hans headed over to Southern Star in their tender, where we proceeded to drink, dance and play up until around 1.30am. It was a lot of fun and laughs. Sometimes the spontaneous nights are just the best.

 




May 27th
Well, it obviously wasn’t at early start to the day, but we managed to have a quick breakfast and head over in the duck to Allens Cay to find the Iguana’s. L’Adagio arrived soon after. We started on Allen’s Cay with no luck and no sign of them and then we headed to South West Allen’s Cay, here we were rewarded with them coming hesitantly towards us when we approached in the ducks.


They were not as large as I had thought they would be, and Steph from Blossom (Nordhavn 60) had informed us that they loved grapes, and that you should not put them on the sand as it sticks to them and is bad for their digestive system.










Brad was able to hand feed a baby lizard with some grapes, it was very cute.





















Brad had great fun with the grapes on some dry grass, we had brought plastic forks which were hopeless as the Iguanas were too shy to come too close to us.







The Iguanas had to fight the birds for the grapes and they were real cheeky, coming very close.




It was a highlight but it was time to head back to the boat. We received a message to call home, and unfortunately received the bad news from Jessie that Robbies Mum had been rushed to hospital with breathing difficulties. We decided we better hightail it towards Florida quicker than planned.

We departed Highbourne at 9.30 for New Providence, Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and the most heavily populated. We decided to anchor off the South West Corner after advice from Martin on Blossom.

We arrived at 4.15pm after a very uneventful passage, although there were huge black storm clouds threatening in front of us, but we slowed down and it passed ahead of us. We all needed a land break so we took the duck into the newish Albany marina. It was very luxurious and was developed by the UK billionaire Joe Lewis, Ernie Els and Tiger Woods and was the site was used for the filming of James Bond movie “Casino Royale”. Unfortunately the nearest shop was a 15 minute cab ride away so we walked 10 minutes to the beach bar where we could see Southern Star on anchor through the Palm Trees. We brought some cigarettes for L’Adagio and walked back again.

Some of the boats in the marina were just incredible. One large superyacht actually had a game-fishing boat in its cockpit!

We had an early night.

May 28th 7.15am saw us on our way on the 34 mile passage to Chub Cay in the Berry Island group – a crescent of small cays laying on the Eastern side of the Great Bahama Bank. We had a very calm run with barely any wind (Southern Star weather!)















About half way across it was “Fish on” and we had hooked a beautiful large Mahi Mahi, which Kristie landed. Her first Mahi Mahi. Brad had the honour (more like duty) of doing the filleting and we got 4 large feeds from it. One for dinner tonight and 3 for the freezer.















Not far from the island we saw two whales, one seemed to be asleep on the surface he was just lying there breathing and spouting, not really swimming. (We hope he was asleep and not sick!) The other was a bit further away and we didn’t divert. We try not to go too close so as not to stress them. We also saw a large turtle.

It was so calm I cut Robbie’s hair and then Kristie and Brad asked me to cut Brads hair! Shisen Housen that is rather stressful – I have only cut Robbie’s hair 3 times and one of those was under instruction from Maree, his hairdresser for the last 20 years, while they were on the boat in Antigua – I do have to say I was a bit nervous but it turned out OK.







We dropped anchor at 12.30 right near the entrance markers to the Chub Cay Club marina. The water was very clear and calm. We secured the boat and headed into the marina. There are some beautiful pastel coloured Cape Cod style houses surrounding the marina and a very beautiful beach which is for Club guests only.








 Again, it’s a state of the art marina, but was quite empty. There is a large Marlin sculpture in the centre of the marina, and from the boats that were in the marina we gather it is a big Marlin Fishing area. (maybe that’s why the marina is empty they are all out fishing?)

We were able to dispose of the garbage but unfortunately the shop was shut and the restaurant was closing at 2pm. It was now 1.30pm so we bolted for the restaurant and Brad and Kristie shouted us all lunch. It was very nice -3 of us had fried chicken and Brad had a burger. The prices were not too bad and included a 15% gratuity charge which we find annoying but the service was so good and friendly none of us minded. We will have to get used to the tipping thing again in the USA, we like to tip for good service with a smile, but don’t enjoy tipping when the service is not up to scratch.

It was very hot and we were all feeling lazy after a big lunch so we loaded up the duck, changed into our togs and headed over to the deserted island about half a mile from the anchorage. One side of the island was quite pebbly and rocky, but the other side had a nice sandy beach with no rocks.



We had a lovely swim and Robbie got the drone out. The resident Eagle took a dislike to the drone and was swooping on it but didn’t want to get too close thank goodness. Robbie got some good shots, and the island had an inland lake which we couldn’t see. We found an area with a lot of dead Conch shells and I found some nice keepers. It is very unusual to find dead Conch that have no holes in them. (They punch a hole in the shell to release the muscle to get the meat out)








We had a great afternoon and Robbie is really getting some confidence now with the drone. (Apart from when Eagles are swooping!)










We headed back towards the marina where we found a creek to go and explore. There were a couple of sunken boats in the very clear and shallow in places, water. We got about a mile up the creek before it became too shallow. Lots of mangroves, clear water and a couple of sting rays.

Back to the boat for showers and a game of 500. Brad and Kristie have partnered up and they kicked our butts!

May 29th It was also decided after we found out that Robbie’s Mum is doing OK and there is no need for us or Robbie to rush back home to Australia and seeing that it is so nice here, and we had heard from Laust that Bimini was a roly anchorage, that we would stay another day.

We went back into the marina at 9am to go the shop as we are out of bread and eggs, thankfully today it was open. We had to order the bread and eggs the lady said it would take about an hour. We said we will be back later for it.

 Robbie and Brad went fishing for about 4 hours (it was so quiet and the boat stayed clean J ) There are a lot of boats that went out fishing. There seemed to be a lot of activity just about half a mile away from the anchorage. The boys however went out to the drop off.

We had a lovely day and I cleaned out cupboards and sorted a whole huge size garbage bag of clothes to give away.

Kristie (new title “Chief Cooking Officer”) baked Banana Bread, made a spaghetti Bolognese and a Lasagne, and then made hamburgers for lunch using mince and a French onion soup mix (why do we call them hamburgers??) And we swam and had a coffee on the fly bridge and had a very nice day.

The boys came back empty handed and tired, Robbie was so tired he went to bed for about 2 hours. Brad emptied cleaned and put away all the fishing gear.

Around 6:30pm there were still a couple of boats fishing on the spot near us, so Robbie and I went for a look. There was a local guy, named “Felix” we spoke to and Robbie asked him what are you catching? Mud Snapper and he had caught 30 today and was heading home. The Snapper are spawning and the game boat had a few rods out and a lady on a hand line caught a huge Snapper, at the same time a guy caught one on a rod. Robbie said it looked like organised Chaos as they were all running around in a mad panic. I couldnt help but reflect on the difference between the two boats – the local in his small punt type boat, and the large game boat with many expensive rods and reels and I like to think that Felix caught more fish!

Well, this was enough to wet Robbie’s appetite and we headed back in a hurry for him to grab Brad, the fishing gear and 2 beers! As I write they are out there trying to catch a Mud Snapper.

30th May They were not lucky enough to catch a snapper last night after an hour or two, and with a lack of bait they came back and the decision was made to stay another day so they could have a try today.

The boys headed off and I started cleaning kitchen cupboards and Kristie was looking for flights and accommodation for Cuba, and Mexico.



 The boys were away until after 2pm
but they did return with a huge Mud Snapper!



They also caught a heap of Trigger fish and other reef fish, this Trigger Fish was huge and very colourful.

Kristie had another cooking urge and made pizzas for lunch and we will have fresh Snapper for dinner tonight.
Do I need to say – how much we all LOVE the Bahamas!




 

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