From Bimini, through Nassau, to the Exumas

Shroud Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
Position: 24 31.933N, 076 47.884W
Posted by Bill

I’ll give you one guess what we did in our first full day in the Bahamas….work on the boat. The marina here at Bimini Sands is really nice. Nice floating docks, nice pools, and a really nice beach. It is very secluded…there is hardly anyone here. The showers and rest rooms leave a bit to be desired, but they are good by Bahamian standards. The people here are extremely nice. The one bad thing is the no-see-ums! They are terrible and are always active, day and night. We quickly closed up the boat and paid for shore power to run the air conditioning. In typical cruising style, the main air conditioning unit, the one I just replaced started but wouldn’t restart. The smaller unit wouldn’t drain the condensate. Curses!! After messing around with things a bit, Tricia figured out that the drain tube from the smaller unit had an air lock from being too far down in the bilge, and viola it started draining after she moved it up! I figured that the larger unit had blown a fuse again, so pulled everything out of storage in that area of the boat, removed the electrical box for the unit, opened it up and replaced the fuse. That got it working. Next I changed the fuel filter, and after that we were going to launch the dinghies and ride up to the Bimini Roads dive site to snorkel. It is a cool dive site that has rocks laid out like someone build a road under water. We got the engine back on the dinghy, and just as I was going to unhook all of the lines, I noticed water in the dinghy. Sure enough we had a significant leak…not good!!! This is our “car” while cruising and is essential to explore the Bahamas. We sent the other boats off, pulled the engine off again, pulled the dinghy out of the water on to the dock and found that the transom seal was pulled loose and the transom was rotting. We dried it out and put some epoxy on. While we waited for that to dry, we went and drank rum by the infinity pool that overlooks the ocean…nice. Then we came back and sealed the seam back up. We purchased lobster tails from a local guy who had a connection, 12 tails for $40, and that night we had a major pig out on Mark and Jan’s boat, and drank mass quantities of vodka.

The next day, yesterday, I checked the dinghy and it still has a really small leak, something we can deal with. I just hope it doesn’t get worse. We fueled up and headed out to sea around 11 AM. We sailed 29 hours straight, going across the Bahama banks, through Nassau harbor, and over to the Exuma chain of islands, stopping at Shroud Cay. The passage was pretty much uneventful, with the exception that we almost ran into the back of another boat. Passages at night require a visual check about every 20 minutes to see if there is anything in your path. There were a couple of boats moving in our same route and several boats anchored off of the beaten path, and after the moving boats passed, we sat down to dinner in the cockpit. Just as we finished up, I noticed a dinghy right next to our boat…then I saw that it was attached to a 30 something foot sailboat. We were overtaking the boat and it was no more than 30 feet from our port side. The guy in the cockpit says “good evening”. I tell him he needs to put some lights on. His stern light didn’t work and neither did his red bow light. Coming up on him, you couldn’t see him at all. We are so lucky we didn’t hit him!! During the day, the wind was so calm that the water was like a sheet of glass, and so clear that you could see starfish on the bottom.

Shroud is the northern part of the Exuma Land and Sea Park, which is a large protected nature preserve in the Exumas. We intend to do some wallowing and exploring here for a day and then move on to Warderick Wells, the central part of the park.

Bimini Sands:

Crossing the Bahama Banks:

Sunset during passage:

Sunrise during passage, with buddy boats Island Bound and Sea Lyon in the foreground:

Nassau Harbor:

Our anchorage at Shroud Cay:

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