Highborne Cay to Cambridge Cay
We spent two nights at Highborne Cay, after a wonderful and calm passage from Nassau across the banks, and over the Yellow Banks to anchor just off the west side of Highborne.
We spotted another Nordhavn anchored off the beach, Houmera an N46 with Tom and Linda from Durango Colorado came by after we were anchored and gave us two filets of Mahi that they had caught that day on the Sound side.
The water was crystal clear, no breeze, and we had a nice swim after anchoring to check the hook. Well planted, we then enjoyed some sundowners , watching for the green flash, which Jenny is convinced is a myth, and cooked the Mahi on the grill for amazing, melt in your mouth Fish Tacos.
After a nice calm night on the hook, Tom and Linda came by on the way out for some fishing, asking us our plans. Another cold front is coming through in the next three or so days and we need to get set for some strong winds from the south and west. We were uncertain, and hated having to keep moving, rushing, even if due to the weather. Everyone was making tracks to Staniel Cay, to anchor between Big Majors and Little Majors Cay for the blow. But this was another 40 miles, and 40 miles of stuff we did not get to see. We have not even launched the dink yet to explore the powder white beaches off Highbourne.
They suggested we look at Cambridge, or Little Bells Cay, just south of Warderick Wells. This would give us another day here at Highbourne.
And so we took their advice of more than 20 years visiting the Bahamas, and stayed put.
With a calm bay, and enticing beaches, we decided to launch the dink. The hydraulic crane that lifts the dink is pretty complicated to operate. You have to extend the boom to lock it in place, raise it to clear the stack, hover over the center of the dink with its lifting lines in place, tilt the outboard ups some, to it does not strike the deck when you lift it off its chocks. Raise it so it clears the life line and swing it over the starboard side, and lower it into the water.
We did this with a minor mishap of lowering the boom a bit too much and it rested on the lifeline bar, oops
And then the damn outboard would not run. It started finally, after I think I flooded it, but would not accelerate without dying. Bad fuel I suspected. So I looked for the spare fuel filers, and found NONE.
With all of the spares on the boat, I missed the outboard. We have spare oil filter, and spark plugs, and impeller, but no outboard fuel filters.
I removed the Fram filter and cleaned it out, dumping the fuel into a bucket. Did the same for the secondary filter, filled them both up again and got her running, although had to ease her slowly with a few stalls to get her to accelerate.
We did baby her across her stall points and went for a ride around the end of Highbourne, over to Allens Cay, and even into the marina to look around.
And so our cruising life with some repairs continues. My new job is to try to fix things so we can keep going. Sometime I find it all pretty scary. But I seem to be facing new challenges and making them work. The mind and exercising of the logic of what may be wrong is pretty cool when you actually work through a problem. My challenge is not to feel overwhelmed by it when something does not work as prescribed. I have learned this with the ventilation fans not working properly and chasing this down to a problem in the power supply. Skyping Robbie in Australia with the dilemma and he told me about a fuse that he had installed. And off it went.
I start a list in my mind of things that I know I need to do. And get on them as I am inspired unless of course it calls for urgent attention.
After the dink ride we hauled her back onto the boat deck with the crane, both of us feeling more comfortable with its operations, and we are ready to head off toward Cambridge Cay, fishing the outside, hoping for some fresh fish before we hit the Exuma Land and Sea Park where the rules are so strict that Jenny cannot even take shells from the beach.
Next morning we are up and underway about 0900 for the short run to Cambridge (or Little Bell Cay) with offers good protection and a mooring field for up to 70 foot boats.
We negotiate the southern cut off Highborne, passing from the banks side into the deep waters of the Sound.
Ideal conditions greet us. I see a weed line created by the currents that run off the shallow bank water through the numerous narrow cuts and into the deep water of the Sound.
I put out two lures, and change course to parallel the weed line, heading south toward our waypoint off Warderick Wells, where the lines must come in as we would then be in the park.
Pressing the throttles up to a hull speed of 6.5 knots we ghost the Cays and islands of the Exumas, making our way toward our next stop.
I get a hit on the port side rod, and walk to the boat deck with the rod in hand, to see the fish leap and throw the hook. I cannot tell for sure what it was, I guess a Barracuda?
We continue along driving from the fly bridge, enjoying the passage. The port reel screams out again, fish on. I grab the rod and pull hard hoping to set the hook better than the last one. I pass Jenny the rod and I climb down to the cockpit to take the fight to the stern of the boat at water level.
And so she goes. The fight is good, the fish feels a good size. I see the yellow of its tail, and it too leaps, she is a nice sized Mahi. But the hook stays in the fish. I gain some line, pulling the rod high and taking in the slack I create. When the fish turns from left to right it runs out some line, and I take some back.
After a nice fight, altogether maybe 10 minutes, Jenny nets my first Mahi Mahi, well over a meter long and weighing I guess about20- 25 pounds. There is some good fresh fish in our future.
I boat the fish and try to get it under control in the cockpit and try to keep the blood to a minimum in the cockpit. I get my hand in her gills, and hold her up for my photo op.
I dispatch her and pull out the fish board so I can clean her and clean up the cockpit. Smiles keep appearing on my face.
I let the lure out again, as Jenny put the boat back on course and brings her back to cruising speed.
Not long, and another Mahi take the same lure. I reel this one in and decide she is too small, and let her go.
By now we are close enough to the park, to haul the lines aboard, and to start thinking about our approach to Cambridge Cay.