Sampson Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
Position: 24 12.586N, 076 28.479W
Posted by Bill
Sorry it has been awhile since the last post, but we have not had decent internet access since we left Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands. Here is what we have been up to:
We finally got a decent weather window and left Great Harbour Cay marina on March 9th. We went around the north side of the Berrys and then down the east side to Little Harbour Cay/Frozen Cay and anchored off Frozen Cay at position: 25 32.667N, 077 43.297W. The wind had laid down but the ocean was still pretty nasty, and we took yet another beating in beam seas…ugh. The back side of Frozen Cay was really beautiful, and once we got the anchor down, and after trying to make water, we did some exploring by dinghy and beach walking. Notice I said “trying to make water”. The watermaker was producing water at just over 300 ppm water quality, and had a little bit of a salty taste to it. It usually produces water in the 150-180 ppm range that tastes great. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so after an hour or so, I just flushed it out and shut it down. The beach was great as well as the sunset.
At dawn on the 10th, we headed out towards Nassau on New Providence Island. The sea state was very rough for the first half of the trip. Several times I thought something was going to break! Once in the lee influence of Eluethera, the seas flattened out and gave us a nice ride into Nassau Harbor. There were several gigantic cruise ships in the harbor and unlike the US, where you cannot get anywhere near them, we went very close as we went through the harbor. The one we pass most closely had just come into a mooring and had its side thrusters on. When you went by, the thrusters would push the boat clear across the channel, and if you weren’t prepared for it, they could easily push you aground! The harbor was crazy busy and we were glad to get through the other side and head down to Palm Cay Marina. It is on the southeast corner of New Providence Island, and we took a slip there for the night at position: 25 01.260N, 077 16.485W. It was a nice marina but our slip was the tightest place I have ever docked the boat. Thank god there was no wind. We had dinner at the outdoor bar there and listened to a good band. Great people watching.
On the 11th, we fueled up and made our way across the Little Bahama Bank to Normans Cay in the Exuma chain of islands. There was no wind, and the water was absolutely beautiful. We had 15-20 feet of water and could see everything on the bottom, just like it was under glass.
We anchored at position: 24 36.145N, 076 9.252W, and did some beach wallowing and an unsuccessful search for lobsters. The next day we explored the eastern side of Normans which was absolutely beautiful!
Later in the afternoon, we moved down to Hawksbill Cay in the Exuma Land and Sea park. The park is a nature preserve, and you cannot take any fish or even shells off the beach. It includes some of the prettiest cays you can find and has great snorkeling and diving. We went to a couple of beaches and swam and wallowed (hanging in the water with drinks). A typical winter front was approaching in 2 days, so we tried to get moorings at Warderick Wells Cay, which has good protection from all compass points (a rarity in the Exumas). The next morning, we couldn’t get in to the mooring field, so we packed up and headed south to Sampson Cay. These fronts typically start with winds from the south and move west and north then east. The strongest winds are usually from the north through east, and they can last more than a week. Everyone in the islands is on the hunt for shelter when they come. The forecast showed sizable winds from the south then southwest, a lull on the west wind, and really strong winds from the north and northeast. We picked Sampson Cay because it is pretty well protected from all directions but the west, which for this forecast was only going to be at 10 knots and not last too long. We did some dinghy exploring and hit a beach for some shelling. We were sitting pretty comfortably until the winds came southwest, and then the seas picked up. It is supposed to work its way around the north around sunset today, and then blow for the better part of a week from the north and east. Needless to say, we are getting our asses kicked from the sea state until it moves north. We will stay here until it blows through, making this a home base of sorts. We can dinghy to many places from here, in protection from north and east winds.
The internet connection is so bad that I can’t post any pictures. I will update the blog with some of the great pictures we have been able to get, as soon as I get a better connection.