Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Exumas Part 2

After my camera bit the bullet, we went ahead and snorkeled the plane for a bit. Why give up the opportunity to do so and besides Dirk had his video camera to capture some stuff. It was as we had left it last year with the fish being as active and curious as before. We piled back in the dinghy after we were done and headed back to the boat but were distracted and stopped by the sailboat Triumph as Dirk saw he had a wetsuit on and just getting back from a possible hunting trip. As they were talking another dinghy pulled up that knew them, before long we decided to all head into the Norman’s Cay Beach Club, formally McDuff’s for dinner. Before long we were joined by Bob & Ginny from The Abby who we were anchored with in Highborne Cay. We spent the evening getting to know each other over a wonderful dinner and cocktails. Soon it was getting late and we made the trek back across the island to our awaiting dinghy’s and headed home. We waited out the blow in Normans without much excitement. I think only one boat drug but it was caught early and they re-anchored without any problems. The next couple days we traveled to Shroud Cay, Hawksbill Cay, and Warderick Wells in the Exuma Land and Sea Park. This is a no take zone which means no fishing, no conching, and no shelling. The fish and lobster know this and don’t seem at all intimidated or startled by human presence. In Warderick we climbed up to Boo Boo Hill again to update our sign we had left last year with the latest date of visit. We knew it was there as some of our friends further north than us mentioned they had seen it. We found it rather quickly even though it had faded writing and had been moved.
Here is the way we found our sign from last year

I set about going over the writing to darken it up and added our March 15th visit date.
Here I am with part of the signs atop Boo Boo Hill

We found a nice spot to perch it and then took the time to look for our last year’s buddy boats sign s/v Soverign Swan. We found hers also and placed her high atop the pile in a deserving spot. Last year Soverign Swan was destroyed in a marina fire not long after returning to the states. We still remember the good times spent on her with Dawn & Harvey wishing they could be here enjoying the Exumas once again with us. Here is a shot of the mooring field from Boo Boo Hill

After we left Warderick we headed back out to Compass Cay which is basically the first island outside the park. Aaaahh, Dirk was able to hunt once again. Our friends, Irena & Chris from the m/v Auriga were pulling into the anchorage right before us. If you remember, they are a couple we met in Spanish Wells along with s/v Evensong. We had not seen them since, and it was nice to catch up with them finally. The guys were able to hunt and it gave me the time to get some boat chores done. We stayed in Compass for two additional days together before we headed to Staniel Cay on Friday. Stainel is a nice area to anchor around and with an airstrip there it’s a popular pick up and drop off spot for friends and family flying in and out. Auriga opted to go futher south as we anchored at Big Majors Spot which is right around the corner from Staniel. The anchorage had about 60 boats in it and many of them very large motor vessels as the following evening was a big James Bond Party. Anyone having seen the movie Thunderball has seen the area we are in. There is the Thunderball grotto that you can swim and snorkel in with hundreds of fish flocking around as people normally take a bite for them to eat. Around the corner in Big Majors Spot is the “Pig Beach” where the pigs are fed by cruisers scraps and will swim out to greet you on the way in. Our plan was to stay for a couple days as a cold front was suppose to push through bringing with it winds in the 20 to 25 knot range with gust up to 30. s/v Evensong and m/v Auriga were to meet up with us as we were discussing heading over to the Bond party on Saturday. On Saturday Evensong arrived and anchored right next to us. Auriga radioed and said they were staying in Black Point for that evening and would catch up with us the next day. Dirk & I had gone into the Yacht club to check some e-mails and grab lunch, on the way back about 3pm we saw Evensong and stopped by to see what the plan for the evening was. Well one thing led to another, Kaliks were consumed, Ruth made everyone omelets for dinner and we talked well into the evening meeting and having fun with their guest Cindy and Gary that were in visiting. We never did make it to the Bond party but we had front row seats to a fabulous show by the very bright and big full moon. The following day Auriga showed up and we had a couple days to have a reunion. On the 23rd we finally left Staniel and headed south . This would be new to us as last year our furthest point south was Staniel. We made tracks on the outside so as Dirk could throw the lines out and troll. As we left the cut something hit and as Dirk pulled it in he knew it was something small as it wasn’t fighting. As we got it to the boat we realized why. A shark must have attacked him as there was only a head and some entrails on the line. Poor guy…. The only other thing caught that day was a barracuda or two and they got tossed back in. We had heard of Black Point as a great and one of the very few places to do laundry in this stretch of the Exumas. There is also Lorraine’s CafĂ© that you always hear cruisers speak of. Auriga joined us in Black Point as Evensong stayed in Staniel one more day due to some bad fuel they had gotten. They would rejoin us the following day after polishing their fuel to clean it. We spent 3 days in Black Point doing laundry, grabbing a few fresh items at the grocery store and eating a Lorraine’s a couple times. Dirk & Chris decided to try their luck lobstering but only small ones were seen. The season was getting short and Dirk was anxious to move on to more promising waters. On Saturday the 26th we decided to move on down to Little Galliot Cay as it looked like a nice anchorage. We threw down the hook and took off in the dinghy for what looked like some promising reefs. I putted around while waiting on Dirk to check out the reef, see it wasn’t anything special then move on. We saw a nice bit of beach near some rocks so I decided to beach comb while Dirk hunted. I spent about an hour walking the beach finding small things here and there, nothing special, but the beach was beautiful and I had it all to myself even taking a few dips in the water which is now getting to a forgiving temperature. I hate cold water…When Dirk came to pick me back up I noticed he had a few antenna sticking out of the bucket. Yea, he had success and he was a happy camper. He proudly showed me his 6 in tail he had gotten, then the lobster with the 8 in tail and when I thought he was done he lifted his fins off of a monster he had hiding in the bottom of the dinghy. Holy cow….I knew my husband was incredibly proud of this baby and photo opps were a must. When we got back to the boat he tried and tried to hail Auriga or Evensong on the radio to tell of his good fortune. Auriga had gone back north to hit some spots missed before and Evensong had left for Emerald Bay to wait on crew to fly in to help them go to Puerto Rico. He was bursting to tell someone, anyone and there was no Internet either, could he survive? Well he managed and the next morning we took off for Rat Cay. Once again as soon as the anchor was set we hit the dinghy and the reefs but today instead of lobster he managed to spear a nice hog fish and a beautiful yet tasty queen trigger fish. On the way back in he picked up 4 conch. Thank goodness he was getting all this fish and lobster as our food stores for meat is nonexistent unless you want to count the pack of hot dogs and chicken legs stowed in the freezer. We were to move onto Emerald Bay Marina the next day as that is where Evensong had gone and we heard very nice things about it from cruisers heading north. As we pulled into the cut we saw very nice floating docks and were directed to our slip where there was someone there to assist with lines. Once tied up we were given a folder with marina and resort information. Dirk was given a quick once over of this way to the grocery, that way to showers, and there is the office, etc. etc. etc. We got the boat settled and headed up to take a look around. Wow, what a grand marina with a lounge outfitted with 2 huge flat screen TV’s, and a pool table. Downstairs was the free laundry and the very nice shower that all you needed to bring was a change of clothes and a towel. All your soaps, shaving creams, conditioners, lotions, mouthwash and even sunscreen was provided. Wow, guess we have been living on a boat too long, this was sweeeeet. So since I have a free Internet signal I will close for now and get this posted. We will move onto George Town tomorrow and I hear that we can get Internet there fairly easy, we shall see.

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