Today is November 9th, two weeks after arriving in the Bahamas. Already, we are planning our return. We have met people that leave a boat here and go home for two months, return for two months, and keep this up for fifteen years!! I could get used to that.
There are many areas of the Bahamas and each area has it’s own character and offerings. We loved the Abacos and can see leaving our boat at Man o War Cay in the care of a gentleman we met who takes care of cruisers’ boats. Hope Town is a sweet little village with fabulous snorkeling. Marsh Harbor has everything you could ever need: an airport, huge grocery store, many marine stores, etc. Tilloo is spectacularly gorgeous, with its own Tahiti Beach and castle. Lynyard Cay is tranquil for a getaway, and Little Harbor has the most impressive Art Gallery I have ever seen. Pete makes bronze statues with the lost wax process which he learned from his parents who arrived here in the 50’s. When they arrived, they settled in the natural caves in the area and developed an artist colony. Evidence of the artists are everywhere.
Elueuthera is the next area of the Bahamas, fifty miles south of Little Harbor and has the most crystal clear water you can imagine. Our sail was a boisterous one, with enough wind to keep us on a beam reach, and enough fish to keep Bill busy running back to his reel. First he landed a large Dorado, then a good sized Mackerel. Yum. We didn’t stay long here, though, as we were so impatient to get to the Exumas.
Forty miles south of Eleuthera is the top of the Exuma chain of islands. We entered at Allens Cay and are now ten more miles south at Norman’s Cay. We like the Exumas best for exploring and snorkeling, but Abacos best for ease of entry for cruisers and visitors.
There are many other parts of the Bahamas north and west of us which we skipped this year, such as the Bimini chain, the Berry Islands, Grand Bahama, and the Andros Islands. And many more parts further south and east which we may visit on our way to the Western Caribbean: Long Island, The Acklins, Managuana, and Great Inagua.
Knock on wood, Alembic is in great shape now. The roller furling was fixed with no new parts, just a lot of sweat and creativity on Bill’s part. The dinghy motor is running fine now and and we have all the gear and food for traveling much further.
So far, the Exumas is not putting us in any hurry though. Our first stop between Allens and Leaf Cay was amazing. The prehistoric Iguanas on the beach of Leaf Cay were incredibly friendly and came running to us as we beached our dinghy. Unnerving at first, we soon realized that they were completely harmless. Birds and smaller geckos joined in the welcoming as well. Here, we peacefully rode out Tropical Storm Kate.
Chris Parker is a wealth of information and a stress reducer well worth the money we pay him. For less than $300 per year, we get unlimited weather reports sent to us via email and SSB (single sideband radio) and we can chat with him on SSB for specific questions about our travels. He alerted us to the development of this storm, and gave us reports several times per day to keep us informed about its movements. We chose this protected anchorage to ride out the storm. Luckily, the storm shifted its path slightly and passed to the east of us, heading northwest. If it had passed to the west of us, we would have seen 50 knot winds. We only saw 25 for about 20 minutes. The rest of the day was 10-15 knots. We would have been fine in the spot we stayed, just noisy!
As soon as the threat of more wind passed, we headed south to Norman’s Cay. Here, we anchored Alembic right beside a plane. Yes, a plane, in the water. This plane crashed maybe forty years ago and is quite a spectacular reef now. It’s weird to think that such a tragic event has developed into a beautiful source of life. The fish have made a home in all of the cavities and the exterior is covered by marine flora and fauna. Snorkeling is amazing around the surrounding small islands and we spent hours exploring and collecting a variety pack of speared small fish. Dinner was especially delicious with grunt, trigger, and conch.
Only two weeks in the Bahamas so far, with two more to go before Lindsay arrives to join us in Georgetown for Thanksgiving. We wish more of our friends and family could come join us for this amazing adventure. Our hearts would then be full to bursting!