TOTAL MILES TRAVELED TODAY: 0 NM
Winddddddy! The threatening skies and angry seas kept us at bay. We occupied our day with provisioning and enjoying the lovely Emerald Bay facilities.
We did venture out to do some beachcombing along the beautiful Sandals Resort shoreline but found it too rough and windy for a swim.
|MIKE AND BARBARA ON THE SANDALS BEACH|
|MIKE AND DAN TOOTING THEIR CONCHS|
2/14/2011 EMERALD BAY MARINA TO LEE STOCKING ISLAND
TOTAL MILES TRAVELED TODAY: 16 NM
Though still windy, we planned our escape with the rising tide. Dan put her into “super power” mode and charged out the inlet and into the choppy waters of the Exuma Sound. By the time we had reached the passage between Darling Cay and Soldiers Cay we were ready to cut back to the less volatile and more protected waters of the bank.
Once again, we grabbed a mooring ball at Lee Stocking Island (Perry Institute) and dinked ashore to hike Perry’s Peak then snorkel. We found scads of the huge, reddish starfish littering the seabed. At one time I could see five from my position in the water.
|MIKE SNAGGING THE MOORING LINE, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL|
|JUST ONE OF THE NUMEROUS STARFISH WE SAW|
|JUDY AND BARBARA MAKING THE HIKE UP PERRY'S PEAK|
2/15/2011 LEE STOCKING ISLAND TO GREAT GUANA CAY
TOTAL MILES TRAVELED TODAY: 22 NM
After a scrumptious breakfast of French-toast made with island coconut bread, we dropped our mooring and made the quick jog to Leaf Island to look for the iguanas. Almost as soon as we got out of the dingy, two iguanas came to greet us, greedily snapping up our offerings of carrots, broccoli and bread. Next we dinked to Norman’s Pond Cay for a “look-see” before pulling up anchor and moving on.
The pristine waters are a picture in blues. It ranges from aqua, turquoise, sky blue, and near teals to deep blue-black.
|THE COLORS JUST TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY|
Quest made her way past the numerous little cays (touching bottom between Big and Little Farmers Cays) and we anchored off Great Guana Cay. This is the island with the cave that Vic and Marilyn from Whisper guided us to. “Come on Mike and Barbara, let’s go find us a cave”, and off we went. After finding and exploring the cave we headed over to the beach on the far side to look for shells and “stuff”. Unfortunately it was near high tide and the shell beds were immersed. On the trail back to the west side we found this huge spider and web. Kind a creepy! We all snorkeled from the beach nearest our anchorage, finding only a few fish but lots of tiny jellyfish.
|WHAT A SERENE SIGHT|
|THE BIG, UGLY SPIDER|
Our sunset was spectacular and we enjoyed our evening anchored aboard Quest with a scrumptious mahi-mahi dinner.
2/16/2011 GREAT GUANA CAY TO STANIEL CAY
TOTAL MILES TRAVELED TODAY: 16 NM
We got our act together earlier than usual and made tracks for Black Point to get some of Lorraine’s mom’s great homemade bread. While at the Black Point settlement, we watched several women plait strips of palm fronds for basket making. The finished roll will be sent to Nassau’s Straw Market where they are turned into beautiful baskets and sold to the public.
|BLACK POINT WOMAN PLATING FOR BASKETS|
From Black Point we made the short jaunt to Staniel Cay. Here we dinked to the yacht club for lunch and met boaters from Albany, NY and Weston, VT. Too, too funny!
Staniel Cay is the home of the famous Thunderball Cave (think James Bond). We all snorkeled in and around the cave, catching glimpses of Angelfish, Jacks, Rock Beauty, Damselfish, Tangs and electric blue coral. It was another splendid day on the waters.
We had a reality check when we heard that the overhang on the right side of the barn had collapsed on the little tractor. Thanks to Brenda for calling the office and to everyone there that we can rely on to assist us in setting things right. The good news was that it wasn’t the house and we now have the opportunity to be proactive and have that roof raked to prevent possible damage. Funny, those things don’t seem to pop up here in the Bahamas.
2/17/2011 STANIEL CAY TO CAMBRIDGE MOORING THEN ONTO COMPASS CAY MARINA
TOTAL MILES TRAVELED TODAY: 16 NM
We passed up Compass Cay our first pass and grabbed a mooring ball at the lovely Cambridge Cay in the Exuma Land and Sea Park. First we dinked to Cambridge Cay and hiked to the other shore for a quick “look-see” before doing some serious snorkeling at the aptly named “Sea Aquarium”, just off O’Briens Cay. This snorkeling site was crowded with eager Sergeant Majors that wanted to swim right with you, checking you out as you observed them. We saw some Nassau Groupers, Angelfish, Parrotfish, Damselfish, tons of these little neon blue guys and oh so many more.
|BARBARA IS ENJOYING THE STUNNING OCEAN VIEW|
With our snorkeling cravings sated, we moved on from the park and covered the 4 miles back to Compass Cay Marina where we were welcomed back with hugs and handshakes. We introduced Mike and Barbara to the resident Nurse Shark then walked over to the sound side of the island for shelling and lazing. Since the tide was coming in and the wind and waves were rather fierce, we didn’t do any swimming. Dan and Mike did find rope and shells for their newest craze, sea junk jewelry. They really have made some splendid pieces for “lucky” Barbara and me.
|MANLY SEA SALVAGE BRACELETS|
|MY BRACELETS ARE A LITTLE MORE "REFINED"|
2/18/2011 COMPASS CAY MARINA TO STANIEL CAY
TOTAL MILES TRAVELED TODAY: 9 NM
The hike to “Rachael’s Bubble Bath” was on our agenda this morning. After petting the Nurse Shark, we set out on the well marked trail. Up hills, down to the rocky shore, through the lush vegetation and, finally, we arrived at the calm swimming hole. Again, the guys picked up sea junk and even found some of the much sought after sea beans that wash up on the shores after their long journey across the sea from Africa. Dan also gathered some empty but otherwise undamaged conch shells to make more conch horns. Quite a successful jaunt.
|MIKE PETTING THE RESIDENT NURSE SHARK|
It was now time to move on back to Staniel Cay where Barbara and Mike will fly out tomorrow morning. As we entered the bay, we let the Wragas off on the dingy to make one last snorkeling expedition to the Thunderball Cave while Dan and I anchored. Oops! Low tide and a depth of 3.8’ introduced “our bottom” to the sandy bottom of the bay. Thankfully we didn’t get stuck and were able to get ourselves repositioned and anchored for the night.
|A BIG RAY SWIMMING RIGHT OFF OUR PORT SIDE|
When the happy snorkelers returned, Dan and Mike took the dingy for one last attempt at fishing. They got drenched in a rainstorm but caught and released three yellow tail snapper and one grouper. They were damp but happy boys.
Dinner was at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. We had to place our order by 5:00 and our dinner reservation was at 7:00. We gathered at the bar for a pre-dinner drink and at 7:00 PM they rang the dinner bell. Everyone ate at the same time (about 18 diners) and the delicious food was served promptly. It worked like clockwork. This was Mike and Barbara’s last night for they fly out of here on a tiny Watermaker flight at 9:00 AM in the morning to start their journey back to the frigid Vermont.