Life in the Bahamas
We are settling into our boat routine. We are anchored off of Jacks Bay, just south of Black Point Great Inagua. We are happily the only boat in the anchorage. We spent a night at Little Bay three days ago, took a 4 mile walk to Blackpoint Settlement, looked over the 20-30 boats anchored there and walked back to our dinghy landing place at Little Bay.
It’s been a very different trip this year to last. We are on a similar schedule and float plan (as if we plan) as another Nordhavn 47, Roam. Clark and Michelle left Ft Pierce for Great Harbour Cay, the same time we left North Palm Beach for Great Harbour Cay. It was purely coincidental that we met up in the marina at GHC. We knew that a strong cold front was due, and anticipated waiting at GHC for the week for it to pass over.
Clark and Michelle are really nice people, Texas folks. Their boat is sister ship to ours, a year older, same model, etc. It is really neat to see what others have done to their boats, and they have made their Nordhavn a great home. They have two little dogs, Tugboat and Sailor, who are cute squeaky little things.
So we wound up spending lots of time with C&M. They departed GHC 3-4 days earlier than we did, and got the snot beat out of them as they tool the northern, Sound side of the Berrys toward New Providence (Nassau). At the Tongue of the Ocean, where the deep waters meet the banks off of Chub Cay, they changed course and holed up at Chub Cay Marina, to wait for the weather window. I told you so…
Finally we had a good day, 2 Feb; we departed GHC after a week. The forecast was good for the next couple of days. This is the second weather window in about 8 weeks and we were happy to take it. We left early in the morning, having checked out of the marina the night before and took the slightly longer route across the banks, past Chub Cay, into the Tongue of the Ocean, and headed toward West Bay off of New Providence. The trip was long, but easy, the water across the banks was protected most of the way, by the Berry Islands. We dodged a few sand bars, a few coral heads, but enjoyed the entire trip.
At the Tongue of the Ocean, I put out a couple of lures in hopes of some fresh Mahi for dinner. The seas were 2-3 foot but we were able to take them off of our port bow somewhat to keep from pounding too badly. We made West End just at sunset, and saw Roam anchored inside.
West End was a bit rollie with seas from the northeast coming around the point. We put out our flopper stopper, on the starboard side and had a good sleep on the hook.
Next morning early we travelled with Roam across the banks toward Normans Cay. It was fun to travel alongside another Nordhavn. We stayed 4-500 yards apart, and took pictures of each other.
Clark launched his drone as we neared Warderick Wells, and tried to take some aerial shots of the two Nordhavns underway together. Later we learned that he had trouble getting it to focus due to the monochromatic light conditions (it was getting overcast) and that he crashed it into his rigging when landing it on his boat while underway; a bummer as he could not fly it again due to the crash.
We spoke on the radio and decided to make it all the way to Warderick Wells, which was only another 8 -10 miles further than we had planned. And so nearing sunset we made our way to the southern mooring field off Warderick Wells. As we approached the moorings, it was clear that the tide was too low (we have a super-moon tide with extremes in the highs and lows) and so we anchored off the moorings on 6 ½ feet of water.
It is really different for us to have friends travelling along with us. We had some nice hikes up to Boo Boo Hill, overlooking the north arm of the mooring field at Warderick Wells. The colours from the hill are amazing, deep dark blues marking the deeper channel, blending to a turquoise blue where the water shallows and the white sand lightens the blue, to a sugary white sand bar. It looks almost like “art” from Boo Boo hill.
Back on the boat, we are only a mooring away from each other, Roam lies just south of us.
We joined C&M and the dogs for walks on the sand bar at happy hour, bringing an adult beverage with us as we watch Tugboat and Sailor frolic on the white sand, and torment any marine life that was left with the low tide.
We moved on to Cambridge Cay, also in the Exuma Marine Park, took a mooring each there. Stayed one night and then moved on to Staniel Cay, where we waited for the winds to drop off.
We spent a week on the hook in the northern arm of the anchorage behind Big Majors. The anchorage was busy with boats, as it is well protected from the Easterly winds, and has Staniel Cay Yacht Club, with supplies, the Yacht Club Restaurant, fuel, etc.
Staniel Cay is a favorite stop of the rich and mega large super yachts. It is not unusual to see 150 footers anchored off Big Majors, which has become famous for its swimming pigs. A tourist attraction that Jenny refuses to see, claiming they are disgusting, I did not realize she had a fear of pigs.
We had sundowners on the beach with C&M, and really were enjoying the pleasant lifestyle.
After a few days, we spotted another Nordhavn cruising into the anchorage. Our AIS indicated that Silver Spray was approaching.
We met Nigel and Hillary last year at Lee Stocking Island, and again later in Exuma park, where they were volunteering.
With excitement, we watched Silver Spray, meander from the southern end of the anchorage, directly toward us, finally dropping their hook about 150 metres away from us. We now commanded the southern anchorage with Nordhavns; two 47’s and now Silver Spray a beautiful Nordhavn 63.
Nigel had his friend and crew member, Jim with him, as Hillary does not do passages. Before we had a chance to be the welcoming committee, Clark ran over to SS and invited them over to Roam for drinks that night.
And so Nordhavn boating goes, so much different than our days on Defiant in New Zealand, where we were completely anti-social, and shunned any contact with others. We are not floating from one boat the other having drinks, and finger food together.
It is pretty cool to be in one of these boats, very unique and we stand out in the anchorage. I overheard one paddle boarder last year in Georgetown, exclaim to his partner paddle boarder, “what’s with all the battleships anchored around here (referring to several Nordhavns anchored around his paddling space).”
We waited for the winds to subside at Big Majors. We went ashore several times to buy some bread and eggs. The first trip the shelves were bare, nothing but a few can goods. The mail boat had not come in yet. Next day, the shelves were full of bread, fresh produce, eggs, etc. The prices are AMAZINGLY high, having to be imported from the US. We were happy we needed only a few fresh items, as bread was $8 per loaf.
We had a weather window after a week. Silver Spray headed off first toward Georgetown, and Roam headed off next back toward Warderick Wells, with a return to Nassau in a week or so for Clark to catch a plane to Texas.
We left last and headed south toward Black Point, Great Inagua Island. Only about 6 miles away, we left the dink in the water and towed her. We swung close to the settlement, but saw that there were over a dozen boats anchored there, we decided to go to Little Bay.
Little Bay is a nice sandy anchorage, with a beautiful white sand beach, and only a dinghy ride away from Black Point Settlement. We anchored in the middle of the anchorage, and went ashore, taking our running shoes with us. We hiked the trail back to the settlement, over 2 miles each way.
We run into Paul off of a sailboat Liberty who we met in Great Harbour, who told us he and Hella were planning to stay at least a week due to windy weather.
And so our Bahamas routine develops. We moved Southern Star another 2 miles south to an anchorage called Jacks Bay, where we are often the only boat. We have our choice of two beautiful sandy beaches, with no one around. The bottom is crystal clear, you can see the conch shells and starfish under the boat.
But the winds are relentless, forecast in the 20’s for the next week . But with good holding a protection from the easterly winds, we are well placed.
We have very slow internet, enough to get emails overnight, and to get weather. Browsing is painful.
And we do some boat duties, diving Stars bottom yesterday after a run to the beach. We snorkeled around the iron shore, found some beautiful coral and overhangs, just not lobster, and relatively few fish.
And we wait for the winds to slow down so that we can move along to the next anchorage.