Category Archives: Exumas

Arriving at Black Point

3/12/16
Great Guana Cay, Black Point Settlement, Exumas, Bahamas
Position: 24 05.931N, 076 24.223W
Posted by Bill

The winds have just not wanted to die down. The forecast extended the high winds another couple of days, but we were tired of waiting and were wanting to get moving south. We decided to slip our mooring yesterday and brave the weather and seas, moving to Great Guana Cay. There is a small town there called Black Point that has several restaurants, a great laundry facility, offers a place to take our trash that has been rapidly accumulating, and offers great protection from the forecasted winds. Unfortunately, we were bashing into the wind and waves the whole 4 ½ hours it took to get there. The entire boat was covered in salt from the spray. We were glad to get there…it was not a comfortable trip. We went ashore for happy hour at a bar called Scorpios. They only have happy hour 3 days a week and we were lucky to arrive on one of the days. We drank their version of Rum Punch, and it was really good. We drank a lot of them and ordered some happy hour food. A good time was had by all!! Every bar has their own version of Rum Punch throughout the Bahamas, and it is fun to try them. This was one of the better ones we have had in our travels, and they even gave us the recipe, something that most places won’t do.

Today we walked over to the ocean side and checked out a blow hole, pretty much if you‘ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Then we walked through town, checked out the grocery store (pretty good one too for these small cays), walked to a garden of driftwood and shells that we read about, then stopped by Deshamonds restaurant to make a reservation for dinner. You have to tell them what you want to eat ahead of time so they can make sure they have the stuff, and prepare it to time your arrival. Right now we are on the boat, running the generator to charge the batteries, preparing for happy hour (as soon as I get this blog post done), and will enjoy our amazing views until dinner is ready at 6.

The forecast for the next week looks really good, so we will explore Great Guana Cay for another day and then make our way south to Georgetown by way of Farmers Cay. Finally we have good internet access via our cell phones and some WiFi in the restaurants here.
Our anchorage here:
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Sting rays cruising the town dock for some scraps:
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Local kids play in the water:
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Scorpios:
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Boo Boo Beach

3/9/16
Warderick Wells, Exumas, Bahamas
Posted by Bill

We have been plagued by really high winds, blowing 20 to 35 knots for the last 3 days, and it doesn’t look like it is going to quit for a few more days. We have been glad to be on a mooring ball and have the protection from the waves that we do. The wind still howls, but we are not getting slammed by the seas that it creates. So the good news is that we are secure and protected, and it is absolutely beautiful here. The bad news is that this is a really remote area. There are no facilities, including no place to dump your trash, and the cellular service is very bad and infrequent. We have not been able to post anything since Bimini. It is amazing how much trash you generate. Normally you don’t notice because you can take your trash to a receptacle almost everywhere in the States. It is starting to back up, and of course, there is no place to store trash on a boat.

Yesterday, after polishing some stainless, we ventured ashore to check out the blow holes again, this time at high tide. The wind and spray was rushing up through the blow holes…very cool. We then tried to snorkel. The snorkeling is really great here. We started by drifting around in the dinghy with the look bucket (bucket with a clear bottom to view underwater). There were lots of colorful fish around the coral heads, and we saw some huge sting rays, about 4 to 5 feet wide. They swim by the boat a lot and even jump out of the water. With the high winds, the water was just too cold, and too cold to get out, so we ended up just exploring the sand bars at low tide. We saw lots of starfish, sand dollars, and baby conch. I almost got my wetsuit out so that I could snorkel, but I didn’t want to deal with washing it off with fresh water afterwards and using our precious supply of fresh water. It is very expensive to get fresh water here, and not every place has it. After that we joined the other Island Bound and Sea Lyon for some wallowing, and had a great time.

Today, we went ashore and hiked to Boo Boo Beach.
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We continue to be amazed by how beautiful this place is. Boo Boo Beach is on the Atlantic/Exuma Sound side of the cay, and we were sadly amazed to see all of the plastic and trash along the beach.
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So very sad. It is really nice to just sit and stare at the incredible view, but we are starting to get antsy to move on. Gotta wait for the weather to turn, and the forecast for next week looks really nice. We watched a boat run aground today right in front of the park office. The channel is very narrow here, but there should have been plenty of water where they were. A park office boat came out to try and tow them off, and for some reason the stuck boat gave them their anchor and anchor chain to tow them. Now, I am not the authority on this, but I would never have my boat towed by the anchor chain. Maybe they didn’t have a long enough rope line…not sure…but the towing was to no avail. They had to wait out the tide. I was close to issuing an Ass Captain award for that one.
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A visit to Boo Boo Hill and some more wallowing

3/7/16
Warderick Wells, Exumas, Bahamas
Position: 24 23.800, 076 37.929W
Posted by Bill

The happy hour on Saturday night was fun. Everyone gathered on the beach by the park office, brought drinks and some snack to share. We met lots of new people. When the sun went down, the Hutia started to come out, attracted by our food. They are like a big guinea pig and this is the only place that they exist. There must be thousands of these things because when we hike we see the poop everywhere. They are harmless as far as we can tell, but I’m not sure I want to be on the cay after dark for too long…lol.
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Yesterday, we took a really long hike around most of the cay and up to Boo Boo Hill. Boo Boo Hill is named from a schooner that sank off of Warderick Wells long ago. Not a single person was found to be buried, and it is said that you can hear the ghosts singing hymns on a full moon. The hill is also the site where people place a piece of driftwood or scrap wood with their boat name on it. Supposedly, you put it here to appease the ghosts and are then allowed to travel further south without negative consequences. Tricia made our plaque. We all went up and placed our plaques on the pile, and are now good to go further south.
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After our hike, we mixed up some Pain Killers and headed out to our own private beach to wallow. This area is chock full of secluded beaches with amazing water and views. Afterwards, everyone came back to our boat for happy hour. It was a fun day.
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Today we did some boat maintenance and Mark made us some water with their water maker. This area is so remote that you can’t get water or drop off trash, and the cellular access is very rare and spotty. I have been writing the blog posts every day but can’t post them until we get to our next stop. We went ashore to the blow holes near Boo Boo Hill. There are underground caves and holes that extend to the top of the land where wind and spray are forced up. With the high winds today the blow holes were pretty active.
The forecast is calling for very high winds until Friday, so we will wait out the weather here where we are protected. We will check the weather everyday and if it lets up we will move on.

Hunkering down for weather in Warderick Wells

3/5/16
Warderick Wells Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
Position: 24 23.800, 076 37.929W
Posted by Bill

Yesterday, we put the dinghy in the water and gave it a good leak test. It leaked no more than it did after we fixed it in Bimini, and it is certainly a manageable leak…very slow. We explored Shroud Cay in the vicinity of our anchorage. There was a really nice bay with a great beach just off the anchorage, and we explored up the bay as far as depth allowed us. Then we went back to the boat to prepare for some wallowing. If you read the blog last year, you know that wallowing is the act of hanging out in the water, shooting the shit, and drinking libations. It is one of the best things to do in the Bahamas as the water is warm, clear, and you can find calm secluded beaches. We dubbed the beach inside this protected bay “Wallow Beach”. Rum drinks were made, and we met our friends on the other Island Bound to wallow. It was a great day to just relax after a long passage.
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Today we left around 8:30 to head to Warderick Wells Cay. It is the cay where the Land and Sea Park office is. We reserved a mooring in the north field and arrived about 11:30. Upon entering the mooring area, we were amazed at how absolutely beautiful it is here. The pictures just can’t capture it. We took mooring number 9, which is above a sunken boat that you can see as clear as looking through glass if the wind is light. We checked in at the park office and paid for our mooring, then took our dinghies down to the south side of the island to explore a place called Pirate’s Lair. As legend would have it, pirates used to camp out here and wait for ships to pass from New Providence Island/Nassau. The ride over was spectacular as were the views from Capture Beach where the trail to the lair starts. It was cool. We intend to go to the happy hour gathering that takes place every Saturday on the beach by the park office. We are planning to stay for at least 3 nights here, as we are expecting some high winds for most of the weekend and next week. The mooring field is well protected from all directions. There are many trails to hike ashore, and tons of snorkeling areas around the island, and lots of wallowing beaches, so we will keep busy.
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From Bimini, through Nassau, to the Exumas

3/2/16
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:
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Crossing the Bahama Banks:
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Sunset during passage:
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Sunrise during passage, with buddy boats Island Bound and Sea Lyon in the foreground:
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Nassau Harbor:
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Our anchorage at Shroud Cay:
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