This is what the Bahamas are all about! Let me describe the last 24 hours for you so you get a feel of what I am talking about. Last night we sat on the bow of the boat and just gazed in awe at the impressiveness and grand beauty of the stars. We might have even had a glass of wine in our hands as we gazed skyward. Let me tell you, nowhere is the Milky Way as impressive as seen hundreds of miles away from large cities and lights in the middle of the Bahamas! What an amazing God we serve!
We woke up this morning just as the sun was cresting the horizon and were greeted by its brilliance and warmth as it began its rise. As we were in an area protected from west winds (more about that in a bit) we didn’t roll last night and we slept like logs! As was predicted, the wind changed direction from WNW to N and had eased off to just a very light 1 – 2 knot breeze. The sea looked almost flat and as we pulled up our anchor and motored away we could see almost every shell, corral head and blade of grass on the seabottom despite it being 15 – 20 feet down. Occasionally we even saw groups of small fish skittering about as they steered clear of our hull. Coming from the murky waters of the east coast of the US we still are blown away by how blue the water is here and how clear it is.
We moved about 20 miles south to the Shroud Cay area and after having to move about three miles to get out of a NW swell we were at anchor and set. This was all by 12:30 pm already so we had all afternoon to enjoy. We took advantage of it by breaking out the paddleboard and snorkel gear! Sharon paddled around while Max and I went for a dinghy ride around the small island chain and then we took to the water to see the fish swimming around the nearby coral. There weren’t a ton of fish to be seen, but the blues and whites and yellows on the fish were beautiful to see!
We finished off the afternoon with Happy Hour reclined in our chairs up on the bow of the boat and just sat in amazement at the beauty surrounding us. The temperature was probably somewhere in the high 70’s, the wind was calm and the contrast of the sharp corral island nearby was made even more beautiful by the blue-green of the pristine waters all around. And the sunset we saw tonight lit up the sky with such brilliance it’s hard to even describe in words.
We had a day quite similar to today this past Sunday. We were anchored at Allan’s Cay and spent the day lounging, swimming, paddling, snorkeling and just totally enjoying the incredible weather and wonderful day. We even invited a neighboring boat family of five who were anchored next to us over for Happy Hour. Joe and Leila, on their boat Santa Julia, have three wonderful children, Megan, Tristan and Nathan, and we had a delightful time hearing about their stories of leaving Montreal, Canada, this past September and what they hope to see in the next few months. We don’t think we will ever tire of beautiful days such as these and we know we’ll have even more as we progress down the Exumas.
This past Saturday morning we got fuel and water at Albany Marina, and sawTiger Woods’ yacht, Privacy, and made the crossing to the top of the Exuma Islands chain which is where Allan’s Cay is located. Above I described a bit how wonderful Sunday was, and then we came to Monday! As nice as Sunday was, Monday wasn’t. As predicted, the wind did shift to the west from the NE. Allan’s Cay has some islands that has good anchoring on their east side to get out of a west wind. But, we didn’t take into consideration how the swell wrapped around the south side of the island and hit us broadside. Basically what a swell does when at anchor is it rolls the boat so you are tipping side to side – all day long! It’s usually a problem when the wind or current is holding the boat in one direction and the swell hits straight at your side making the boat roll. During one of the large swells the other night Sharon’s Kitchen Aid mixer, which is quite large and very heavy, totally flipped over putting a gouge in the counter.
We knew the winds were supposed to be bad and from the west all day Monday and Monday night and unfortunately, we rolled all day and then literally through the whole night until we left Tuesday morning. We could have gone elsewhere on Monday when we figured out the issue of the swell, but the winds were then into the 18 – 22 knot with higher gusts and there were no places for us to go other than bashing into huge waves. It really was a horrible night with each of us getting only 2 – 3 hours of interrupted sleep. As the sun arose Tuesday morning we could see another boat next to us must have dragged their anchor and were totally aground in a shallow area.
But, we made it through the night and shortly after sunrise we were able to raise our anchor and move about 7 miles north to the east side of Ship Channel Cay. During the night the wind shifted to the NW and allowed us to make an exit from Allan’s Cay, albeit with still a lot of water over the bow and then covering almost the whole boat. (The boat that was aground waited until the tide came up and a tour boat gave them a slight tug to get them going again.) Thankfully things started to change for the better after we anchored at Ship Channel Cay and we had a wonderful afternoon swimming and snorkeling, and were even able to take Max ashore for a delightful walk on the crystal white beach along the shore. We were the only boat anchored there andthrough our entire stay there we were the only ones for miles and miles. We loved it!
The winds were supposed to pick up again from the west again on Wednesday, and they certainly did. Our Rocna anchor once again held us firm in the wind and this time we didn’t have any swell to roll us side to side so all was good.
Tomorrow, Friday, we will be heading to the Warderick Wells area and then we’re not sure where we’ll go after that. Our goal is to find some new places to experience as we work our way toward Georgetown, so we’ll see how we do. The cool thing is the distances to pretty much anywhere are pretty short, 20 miles or less, so we will have all kinds of time to soak in the sun and the sights all around.