Georgetown to Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Georgetown is on the north shore of Great Exuma, a very large island. A mile north of Georgetown lies Stocking and Elizabeth Islands. This forms a huge natural harbor. Mostly quite shallow, so careful navigation is required. There are many pleasant anchorages.

 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay
 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay

Our previous visits have been in the winter, peak sailing time when there are probably 400 boats here. This visit, there were probably 20 boats.

Read a story in a magazine when we first started sailing the Bahamas about a couple who had been put off visiting Georgetown for re-provisioning for a number of years as they were nervous about the navigation challenges into the harbour. Finally they got up the courage to give it a go. Having successfully navigated through the shoals, they expected to be one of the few brave folk to have made it. Turned the last corner to find 400 plus boats had beaten them to it!

Georgetown is an annual pilgrimage for many sailors as the social life here is passed on from year to year. For many, it’s as far as they ever go. For other more adventurous souls it’s a re-provisioning stop en-route to discover the beautiful islands of the remote Bahamas. We last visited in 2005. Not much has changed in the town, but there has been a real growth in fancy vacation homes.

We found internet, but still no SIM cards. It’s Saturday and Batelco is closed…Again!

With most of the Exumas, you have the choice of sailing up the east side in deep Atlantic waters, where there are supposed to fish to catch!, or on the west side along the shallow banks. We sailed downwind from Georgetown, very leisurely along the Atlantic side, then entered the banks at Rudder Cay Cut, around the southern tip of Rudder Cut Cay to find an anchorage on the protected west side. There are a number of bays and also a completely enclosed natural harbour. The island may be owned by the owner of neighbouring Musha Cay, (David Copperfield, the illusionist, we believe), but there does not appear to be any development. NO OTHER BOATS!

Another few hours of playing with the tide. Going north close to the western shoreline of Rudder Cut Cay, then Musha Cay, then Cave Cay, (Johnny Depp?), there were many shoals, not all of which we expected to be charted correctly as they shift over time. Sure enough, the channels weren’t all where they were supposed to be and we found some seriously shallow areas.

Once north of Cave Cay and further west on to the Banks, it was much clearer, as we headed well clear of the western shoreline of Great Guana Cay. We have passed this very long thin island, mostly undeveloped island a number of times and it was always appealing. White beaches everywhere. So we finally managed to stop there for a few hours just north of White Point. Wonderful beach and SPECTACULAR warm blue water over clear white sand. Brought Dreaming On in as close as we dared, but still quite a way out with barely 6” under the keel and kayaked to the beach. Could have probably walked. NO OTHER BOATS!

So after an enjoyable couple of hours there, we moved north again over the Banks to Harvey Cay, just outside Staniel Cay. The idea being to anchor at Harvey Cay overnight, then move in the following morning to anchor off Staniel Cay, a busy little place in the peak winter period for boaters, and hope for internet and a SIM card.

 

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma through Hog Cay Cut  

A lively sail in deep water just off the shallows of The Bight of Acklins. 16nm at an average of 8.6kts.
We remember Fish Cay and Guana Cay situated on the shallow banks in wonderfully calm water on a previous visit. Fish Cay is where you find the iguanas and Guana Cay is where you find most fish! Not calm today though. It’s been blowing over 25kts all day and having crawled through shallows between sand bars to the only anchorage here, we are bouncing around just a little.

Fish Cay, Crooked Island
Fish Cay, Crooked Island

Met by a large turtle and a lone dolphin.

The fishing lines were out again for the trip, and we followed the very deep water a mile off the drop off. Nothing!

A lively night of current versus wind and waves in our anchorage, then a morning kayak visit to Fish Cay. A beautiful beach that we first visited in 2006, with water in typically Bahamian colours, along with many very large sting rays and a nurse shark in the shallows. NO OTHER BOATS!

Landrail Point, Crooked Island

We had hoped to find internet and a SIM card at Great Inagua. There’s only one provider in the Bahamas and they were closed and the internet was down! So our best hope was a stop at Landrail Point on Crooked Island. Internet was down and the Batelco office was too far to walk, so again no communication.   NO OTHER BOATS!

We have sailed along the usual north south route on the eastern side of Long Island. It’s a long way, it’s usually rough, it’s usually at night and not something to which to look forward, so we decided to try the very skinny Hog Cay Cut between The Exumas and western Long Island. All in all a good decision. We needed to night stop on the south western side of Long Island so we could make Hog Cay on a rising tide in daylight. Another very rolly night. That swell is just following us everywhere!

Turquoise waters off Hog Cay Cut, Exumas
 Hog Cay Cut, Exumas

Hog Cay Cut

Although we have sailed various parts of the Bahamas Banks, it is always a surprise at how many thousands of square miles of banks there are. Always several shades of amazing blue. As we reached the banks south of Hog Cay, we still had another 30 miles or so to go in blue, blue water over pure white sand and hardly any land in sight. An amazing feeling with an average of 5 feet under the keel.

Hog Cay Cut is narrow and winds around between Hog Cay and Goat Cay. It is shallow. On the charts, the minimum mean depth is 3.3 feet. Dreaming On draws just under 5’. Luckily the wind, currents and tides cooperated and we saw a minimum depth of 5.2’. A good way to clean the barnacles off the keels!

From there, a very pleasant downwind sail to Georgetown, the main town in the Exumas and our major internet and email hope.

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma through Hog Cay Cut  

A lively sail in deep water just off the shallows of The Bight of Acklins. 16nm at an average of 8.6kts.
We remember Fish Cay and Guana Cay situated on the shallow banks in wonderfully calm water on a previous visit. Fish Cay is where you find the iguanas and Guana Cay is where you find most fish! Not calm today though. It’s been blowing over 25kts all day and having crawled through shallows between sand bars to the only anchorage here, we are bouncing around just a little.

Fish Cay, Crooked Island
Fish Cay, Crooked Island

Met by a large turtle and a lone dolphin.

The fishing lines were out again for the trip, and we followed the very deep water a mile off the drop off. Nothing!

A lively night of current versus wind and waves in our anchorage, then a morning kayak visit to Fish Cay. A beautiful beach that we first visited in 2006, with water in typically Bahamian colours, along with many very large sting rays and a nurse shark in the shallows. NO OTHER BOATS!

Landrail Point, Crooked Island

We had hoped to find internet and a SIM card at Great Inagua. There’s only one provider in the Bahamas and they were closed and the internet was down! So our best hope was a stop at Landrail Point on Crooked Island. Internet was down and the Batelco office was too far to walk, so again no communication.   NO OTHER BOATS!

We have sailed along the usual north south route on the eastern side of Long Island. It’s a long way, it’s usually rough, it’s usually at night and not something to which to look forward, so we decided to try the very skinny Hog Cay Cut between The Exumas and western Long Island. All in all a good decision. We needed to night stop on the south western side of Long Island so we could make Hog Cay on a rising tide in daylight. Another very rolly night. That swell is just following us everywhere!

Turquoise waters off Hog Cay Cut, Exumas
 Hog Cay Cut, Exumas

Hog Cay Cut

Although we have sailed various parts of the Bahamas Banks, it is always a surprise at how many thousands of square miles of banks there are. Always several shades of amazing blue. As we reached the banks south of Hog Cay, we still had another 30 miles or so to go in blue, blue water over pure white sand and hardly any land in sight. An amazing feeling with an average of 5 feet under the keel.

Hog Cay Cut is narrow and winds around between Hog Cay and Goat Cay. It is shallow. On the charts, the minimum mean depth is 3.3 feet. Dreaming On draws just under 5’. Luckily the wind, currents and tides cooperated and we saw a minimum depth of 5.2’. A good way to clean the barnacles off the keels!

From there, a very pleasant downwind sail to Georgetown, the main town in the Exumas and our major internet and email hope.

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma through Hog Cay Cut  

A lively sail in deep water just off the shallows of The Bight of Acklins. 16nm at an average of 8.6kts.
We remember Fish Cay and Guana Cay situated on the shallow banks in wonderfully calm water on a previous visit. Fish Cay is where you find the iguanas and Guana Cay is where you find most fish! Not calm today though. It’s been blowing over 25kts all day and having crawled through shallows between sand bars to the only anchorage here, we are bouncing around just a little.

Fish Cay, Crooked Island
Fish Cay, Crooked Island

Met by a large turtle and a lone dolphin.

The fishing lines were out again for the trip, and we followed the very deep water a mile off the drop off. Nothing!

A lively night of current versus wind and waves in our anchorage, then a morning kayak visit to Fish Cay. A beautiful beach that we first visited in 2006, with water in typically Bahamian colours, along with many very large sting rays and a nurse shark in the shallows. NO OTHER BOATS!

Landrail Point, Crooked Island

We had hoped to find internet and a SIM card at Great Inagua. There’s only one provider in the Bahamas and they were closed and the internet was down! So our best hope was a stop at Landrail Point on Crooked Island. Internet was down and the Batelco office was too far to walk, so again no communication.   NO OTHER BOATS!

We have sailed along the usual north south route on the eastern side of Long Island. It’s a long way, it’s usually rough, it’s usually at night and not something to which to look forward, so we decided to try the very skinny Hog Cay Cut between The Exumas and western Long Island. All in all a good decision. We needed to night stop on the south western side of Long Island so we could make Hog Cay on a rising tide in daylight. Another very rolly night. That swell is just following us everywhere!

Turquoise waters off Hog Cay Cut, Exumas
 Hog Cay Cut, Exumas

Hog Cay Cut

Although we have sailed various parts of the Bahamas Banks, it is always a surprise at how many thousands of square miles of banks there are. Always several shades of amazing blue. As we reached the banks south of Hog Cay, we still had another 30 miles or so to go in blue, blue water over pure white sand and hardly any land in sight. An amazing feeling with an average of 5 feet under the keel.

Hog Cay Cut is narrow and winds around between Hog Cay and Goat Cay. It is shallow. On the charts, the minimum mean depth is 3.3 feet. Dreaming On draws just under 5’. Luckily the wind, currents and tides cooperated and we saw a minimum depth of 5.2’. A good way to clean the barnacles off the keels!

From there, a very pleasant downwind sail to Georgetown, the main town in the Exumas and our major internet and email hope.

Georgetown to Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Georgetown is on the north shore of Great Exuma, a very large island. A mile north of Georgetown lies Stocking and Elizabeth Islands. This forms a huge natural harbor. Mostly quite shallow, so careful navigation is required. There are many pleasant anchorages.

 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay
 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay

Our previous visits have been in the winter, peak sailing time when there are probably 400 boats here. This visit, there were probably 20 boats.

Read a story in a magazine when we first started sailing the Bahamas about a couple who had been put off visiting Georgetown for re-provisioning for a number of years as they were nervous about the navigation challenges into the harbour. Finally they got up the courage to give it a go. Having successfully navigated through the shoals, they expected to be one of the few brave folk to have made it. Turned the last corner to find 400 plus boats had beaten them to it!

Georgetown is an annual pilgrimage for many sailors as the social life here is passed on from year to year. For many, it’s as far as they ever go. For other more adventurous souls it’s a re-provisioning stop en-route to discover the beautiful islands of the remote Bahamas. We last visited in 2005. Not much has changed in the town, but there has been a real growth in fancy vacation homes.

We found internet, but still no SIM cards. It’s Saturday and Batelco is closed…Again!

With most of the Exumas, you have the choice of sailing up the east side in deep Atlantic waters, where there are supposed to fish to catch!, or on the west side along the shallow banks. We sailed downwind from Georgetown, very leisurely along the Atlantic side, then entered the banks at Rudder Cay Cut, around the southern tip of Rudder Cut Cay to find an anchorage on the protected west side. There are a number of bays and also a completely enclosed natural harbour. The island may be owned by the owner of neighbouring Musha Cay, (David Copperfield, the illusionist, we believe), but there does not appear to be any development. NO OTHER BOATS!

Another few hours of playing with the tide. Going north close to the western shoreline of Rudder Cut Cay, then Musha Cay, then Cave Cay, (Johnny Depp?), there were many shoals, not all of which we expected to be charted correctly as they shift over time. Sure enough, the channels weren’t all where they were supposed to be and we found some seriously shallow areas.

Once north of Cave Cay and further west on to the Banks, it was much clearer, as we headed well clear of the western shoreline of Great Guana Cay. We have passed this very long thin island, mostly undeveloped island a number of times and it was always appealing. White beaches everywhere. So we finally managed to stop there for a few hours just north of White Point. Wonderful beach and SPECTACULAR warm blue water over clear white sand. Brought Dreaming On in as close as we dared, but still quite a way out with barely 6” under the keel and kayaked to the beach. Could have probably walked. NO OTHER BOATS!

So after an enjoyable couple of hours there, we moved north again over the Banks to Harvey Cay, just outside Staniel Cay. The idea being to anchor at Harvey Cay overnight, then move in the following morning to anchor off Staniel Cay, a busy little place in the peak winter period for boaters, and hope for internet and a SIM card.

 

Georgetown to Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Georgetown is on the north shore of Great Exuma, a very large island. A mile north of Georgetown lies Stocking and Elizabeth Islands. This forms a huge natural harbor. Mostly quite shallow, so careful navigation is required. There are many pleasant anchorages.

 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay
 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay

Our previous visits have been in the winter, peak sailing time when there are probably 400 boats here. This visit, there were probably 20 boats.

Read a story in a magazine when we first started sailing the Bahamas about a couple who had been put off visiting Georgetown for re-provisioning for a number of years as they were nervous about the navigation challenges into the harbour. Finally they got up the courage to give it a go. Having successfully navigated through the shoals, they expected to be one of the few brave folk to have made it. Turned the last corner to find 400 plus boats had beaten them to it!

Georgetown is an annual pilgrimage for many sailors as the social life here is passed on from year to year. For many, it’s as far as they ever go. For other more adventurous souls it’s a re-provisioning stop en-route to discover the beautiful islands of the remote Bahamas. We last visited in 2005. Not much has changed in the town, but there has been a real growth in fancy vacation homes.

We found internet, but still no SIM cards. It’s Saturday and Batelco is closed…Again!

With most of the Exumas, you have the choice of sailing up the east side in deep Atlantic waters, where there are supposed to fish to catch!, or on the west side along the shallow banks. We sailed downwind from Georgetown, very leisurely along the Atlantic side, then entered the banks at Rudder Cay Cut, around the southern tip of Rudder Cut Cay to find an anchorage on the protected west side. There are a number of bays and also a completely enclosed natural harbour. The island may be owned by the owner of neighbouring Musha Cay, (David Copperfield, the illusionist, we believe), but there does not appear to be any development. NO OTHER BOATS!

Another few hours of playing with the tide. Going north close to the western shoreline of Rudder Cut Cay, then Musha Cay, then Cave Cay, (Johnny Depp?), there were many shoals, not all of which we expected to be charted correctly as they shift over time. Sure enough, the channels weren’t all where they were supposed to be and we found some seriously shallow areas.

Once north of Cave Cay and further west on to the Banks, it was much clearer, as we headed well clear of the western shoreline of Great Guana Cay. We have passed this very long thin island, mostly undeveloped island a number of times and it was always appealing. White beaches everywhere. So we finally managed to stop there for a few hours just north of White Point. Wonderful beach and SPECTACULAR warm blue water over clear white sand. Brought Dreaming On in as close as we dared, but still quite a way out with barely 6” under the keel and kayaked to the beach. Could have probably walked. NO OTHER BOATS!

So after an enjoyable couple of hours there, we moved north again over the Banks to Harvey Cay, just outside Staniel Cay. The idea being to anchor at Harvey Cay overnight, then move in the following morning to anchor off Staniel Cay, a busy little place in the peak winter period for boaters, and hope for internet and a SIM card.

 

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma through Hog Cay Cut  

A lively sail in deep water just off the shallows of The Bight of Acklins. 16nm at an average of 8.6kts.
We remember Fish Cay and Guana Cay situated on the shallow banks in wonderfully calm water on a previous visit. Fish Cay is where you find the iguanas and Guana Cay is where you find most fish! Not calm today though. It’s been blowing over 25kts all day and having crawled through shallows between sand bars to the only anchorage here, we are bouncing around just a little.

Fish Cay, Crooked Island
Fish Cay, Crooked Island

Met by a large turtle and a lone dolphin.

The fishing lines were out again for the trip, and we followed the very deep water a mile off the drop off. Nothing!

A lively night of current versus wind and waves in our anchorage, then a morning kayak visit to Fish Cay. A beautiful beach that we first visited in 2006, with water in typically Bahamian colours, along with many very large sting rays and a nurse shark in the shallows. NO OTHER BOATS!

Landrail Point, Crooked Island

We had hoped to find internet and a SIM card at Great Inagua. There’s only one provider in the Bahamas and they were closed and the internet was down! So our best hope was a stop at Landrail Point on Crooked Island. Internet was down and the Batelco office was too far to walk, so again no communication.   NO OTHER BOATS!

We have sailed along the usual north south route on the eastern side of Long Island. It’s a long way, it’s usually rough, it’s usually at night and not something to which to look forward, so we decided to try the very skinny Hog Cay Cut between The Exumas and western Long Island. All in all a good decision. We needed to night stop on the south western side of Long Island so we could make Hog Cay on a rising tide in daylight. Another very rolly night. That swell is just following us everywhere!

Turquoise waters off Hog Cay Cut, Exumas
 Hog Cay Cut, Exumas

Hog Cay Cut

Although we have sailed various parts of the Bahamas Banks, it is always a surprise at how many thousands of square miles of banks there are. Always several shades of amazing blue. As we reached the banks south of Hog Cay, we still had another 30 miles or so to go in blue, blue water over pure white sand and hardly any land in sight. An amazing feeling with an average of 5 feet under the keel.

Hog Cay Cut is narrow and winds around between Hog Cay and Goat Cay. It is shallow. On the charts, the minimum mean depth is 3.3 feet. Dreaming On draws just under 5’. Luckily the wind, currents and tides cooperated and we saw a minimum depth of 5.2’. A good way to clean the barnacles off the keels!

From there, a very pleasant downwind sail to Georgetown, the main town in the Exumas and our major internet and email hope.

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma through Hog Cay Cut  

A lively sail in deep water just off the shallows of The Bight of Acklins. 16nm at an average of 8.6kts.
We remember Fish Cay and Guana Cay situated on the shallow banks in wonderfully calm water on a previous visit. Fish Cay is where you find the iguanas and Guana Cay is where you find most fish! Not calm today though. It’s been blowing over 25kts all day and having crawled through shallows between sand bars to the only anchorage here, we are bouncing around just a little.

Fish Cay, Crooked Island
Fish Cay, Crooked Island

Met by a large turtle and a lone dolphin.

The fishing lines were out again for the trip, and we followed the very deep water a mile off the drop off. Nothing!

A lively night of current versus wind and waves in our anchorage, then a morning kayak visit to Fish Cay. A beautiful beach that we first visited in 2006, with water in typically Bahamian colours, along with many very large sting rays and a nurse shark in the shallows. NO OTHER BOATS!

Landrail Point, Crooked Island

We had hoped to find internet and a SIM card at Great Inagua. There’s only one provider in the Bahamas and they were closed and the internet was down! So our best hope was a stop at Landrail Point on Crooked Island. Internet was down and the Batelco office was too far to walk, so again no communication.   NO OTHER BOATS!

We have sailed along the usual north south route on the eastern side of Long Island. It’s a long way, it’s usually rough, it’s usually at night and not something to which to look forward, so we decided to try the very skinny Hog Cay Cut between The Exumas and western Long Island. All in all a good decision. We needed to night stop on the south western side of Long Island so we could make Hog Cay on a rising tide in daylight. Another very rolly night. That swell is just following us everywhere!

Turquoise waters off Hog Cay Cut, Exumas
 Hog Cay Cut, Exumas

Hog Cay Cut

Although we have sailed various parts of the Bahamas Banks, it is always a surprise at how many thousands of square miles of banks there are. Always several shades of amazing blue. As we reached the banks south of Hog Cay, we still had another 30 miles or so to go in blue, blue water over pure white sand and hardly any land in sight. An amazing feeling with an average of 5 feet under the keel.

Hog Cay Cut is narrow and winds around between Hog Cay and Goat Cay. It is shallow. On the charts, the minimum mean depth is 3.3 feet. Dreaming On draws just under 5’. Luckily the wind, currents and tides cooperated and we saw a minimum depth of 5.2’. A good way to clean the barnacles off the keels!

From there, a very pleasant downwind sail to Georgetown, the main town in the Exumas and our major internet and email hope.

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma through Hog Cay Cut  

A lively sail in deep water just off the shallows of The Bight of Acklins. 16nm at an average of 8.6kts.
We remember Fish Cay and Guana Cay situated on the shallow banks in wonderfully calm water on a previous visit. Fish Cay is where you find the iguanas and Guana Cay is where you find most fish! Not calm today though. It’s been blowing over 25kts all day and having crawled through shallows between sand bars to the only anchorage here, we are bouncing around just a little.

Fish Cay, Crooked Island
Fish Cay, Crooked Island

Met by a large turtle and a lone dolphin.

The fishing lines were out again for the trip, and we followed the very deep water a mile off the drop off. Nothing!

A lively night of current versus wind and waves in our anchorage, then a morning kayak visit to Fish Cay. A beautiful beach that we first visited in 2006, with water in typically Bahamian colours, along with many very large sting rays and a nurse shark in the shallows. NO OTHER BOATS!

Landrail Point, Crooked Island

We had hoped to find internet and a SIM card at Great Inagua. There’s only one provider in the Bahamas and they were closed and the internet was down! So our best hope was a stop at Landrail Point on Crooked Island. Internet was down and the Batelco office was too far to walk, so again no communication.   NO OTHER BOATS!

We have sailed along the usual north south route on the eastern side of Long Island. It’s a long way, it’s usually rough, it’s usually at night and not something to which to look forward, so we decided to try the very skinny Hog Cay Cut between The Exumas and western Long Island. All in all a good decision. We needed to night stop on the south western side of Long Island so we could make Hog Cay on a rising tide in daylight. Another very rolly night. That swell is just following us everywhere!

Turquoise waters off Hog Cay Cut, Exumas
 Hog Cay Cut, Exumas

Hog Cay Cut

Although we have sailed various parts of the Bahamas Banks, it is always a surprise at how many thousands of square miles of banks there are. Always several shades of amazing blue. As we reached the banks south of Hog Cay, we still had another 30 miles or so to go in blue, blue water over pure white sand and hardly any land in sight. An amazing feeling with an average of 5 feet under the keel.

Hog Cay Cut is narrow and winds around between Hog Cay and Goat Cay. It is shallow. On the charts, the minimum mean depth is 3.3 feet. Dreaming On draws just under 5’. Luckily the wind, currents and tides cooperated and we saw a minimum depth of 5.2’. A good way to clean the barnacles off the keels!

From there, a very pleasant downwind sail to Georgetown, the main town in the Exumas and our major internet and email hope.

Passage to the Bahamas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 4th 2015

After a couple of days catching our breath after the closing of our lives in BVI and saying farewell to old cruising friends in St. Thomas, we headed off on 16 June to Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas.

The trip started well with a wonderful broad reach around the western tip of St. Thomas and then headed slightly north of west. The seas and wind were perfect as we passed north of Culebra and to the north east point of Puerto Rico. It was downhill from there!!

A feathered hitchhiker
A Feathered Hitchhiker

Lighter very variable winds and a large swell from the east slowed us right down on the main part of the journey, heading in a westerly direction, staying well north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The swell grew to the point where it was sometimes approaching the stern higher than our dinghy up on davits. Our transom and sugar scoops were pounded for three days. Each wave ran the risk of broaching. A wave would pass under the boat from the stern, and we would be almost stalled at 4 knots. Within a couple of seconds, we were often over 10 knots and on a dark night when you cannot see what’s waiting and the bottom of the roller coaster, it’s a bit if an adrenaline rush to say the least.

Now add to that some severe squalls with high wind gusts, rain and no visibility, plus the occasional thunder storm, usually at night, and you get the picture!

We had a couple of feathered visitors along the way. One small bird, yet to be identified, stopped for a break late on the first evening. On the second night we had a tropic bird trying to land on one of our kayaks fastened to the safety rails. We were bouncing around too much, so he went elsewhere.

We fished all the way. Lost leader and lure to something with really big teeth on two occasions and had one small Mahi mahi get away. Lots of fishing….No catching!  Lots of weed!

You can sail the seas and encounter no other traffic whatsoever, and then, the one large tanker or cargo ship you see wants to pass through the exact same patch of water that you want to pass through at exactly the same time….And always at night. The odds of that happening in the vastness of the ocean are millions to one, but it happens every time without fail!  This is here AIS proves its value.

Anyway, arrived almost unscathed but very tired at Great Inagua, on the southern Bahamas to clear in. After the volcanic mountainous appearance of the BVI, Great Inagua reaches the grand height of 36 feet! If you didn’t know it was there, you would pass right by. Great Inagua offers the most polite and efficient Customs and Immigration service we have come across on our travels, and they give you a lift back to the dinghy dock. Can’t beat that after 4 nights at sea!

The island is famous for its salt pans. The majority of the population of 1,000 work for the salt mining company. They produce a million plus pounds of salt a year.

Passage to the Bahamas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 4th 2015

After a couple of days catching our breath after the closing of our lives in BVI and saying farewell to old cruising friends in St. Thomas, we headed off on 16 June to Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas.

The trip started well with a wonderful broad reach around the western tip of St. Thomas and then headed slightly north of west. The seas and wind were perfect as we passed north of Culebra and to the north east point of Puerto Rico. It was downhill from there!!

A feathered hitchhiker
A Feathered Hitchhiker

Lighter very variable winds and a large swell from the east slowed us right down on the main part of the journey, heading in a westerly direction, staying well north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The swell grew to the point where it was sometimes approaching the stern higher than our dinghy up on davits. Our transom and sugar scoops were pounded for three days. Each wave ran the risk of broaching. A wave would pass under the boat from the stern, and we would be almost stalled at 4 knots. Within a couple of seconds, we were often over 10 knots and on a dark night when you cannot see what’s waiting and the bottom of the roller coaster, it’s a bit if an adrenaline rush to say the least.

Now add to that some severe squalls with high wind gusts, rain and no visibility, plus the occasional thunder storm, usually at night, and you get the picture!

We had a couple of feathered visitors along the way. One small bird, yet to be identified, stopped for a break late on the first evening. On the second night we had a tropic bird trying to land on one of our kayaks fastened to the safety rails. We were bouncing around too much, so he went elsewhere.

We fished all the way. Lost leader and lure to something with really big teeth on two occasions and had one small Mahi mahi get away. Lots of fishing….No catching!  Lots of weed!

You can sail the seas and encounter no other traffic whatsoever, and then, the one large tanker or cargo ship you see wants to pass through the exact same patch of water that you want to pass through at exactly the same time….And always at night. The odds of that happening in the vastness of the ocean are millions to one, but it happens every time without fail!  This is here AIS proves its value.

Anyway, arrived almost unscathed but very tired at Great Inagua, on the southern Bahamas to clear in. After the volcanic mountainous appearance of the BVI, Great Inagua reaches the grand height of 36 feet! If you didn’t know it was there, you would pass right by. Great Inagua offers the most polite and efficient Customs and Immigration service we have come across on our travels, and they give you a lift back to the dinghy dock. Can’t beat that after 4 nights at sea!

The island is famous for its salt pans. The majority of the population of 1,000 work for the salt mining company. They produce a million plus pounds of salt a year.

Passage to the Bahamas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 4th 2015

After a couple of days catching our breath after the closing of our lives in BVI and saying farewell to old cruising friends in St. Thomas, we headed off on 16 June to Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas.

The trip started well with a wonderful broad reach around the western tip of St. Thomas and then headed slightly north of west. The seas and wind were perfect as we passed north of Culebra and to the north east point of Puerto Rico. It was downhill from there!!

A feathered hitchhiker
A Feathered Hitchhiker

Lighter very variable winds and a large swell from the east slowed us right down on the main part of the journey, heading in a westerly direction, staying well north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The swell grew to the point where it was sometimes approaching the stern higher than our dinghy up on davits. Our transom and sugar scoops were pounded for three days. Each wave ran the risk of broaching. A wave would pass under the boat from the stern, and we would be almost stalled at 4 knots. Within a couple of seconds, we were often over 10 knots and on a dark night when you cannot see what’s waiting and the bottom of the roller coaster, it’s a bit if an adrenaline rush to say the least.

Now add to that some severe squalls with high wind gusts, rain and no visibility, plus the occasional thunder storm, usually at night, and you get the picture!

We had a couple of feathered visitors along the way. One small bird, yet to be identified, stopped for a break late on the first evening. On the second night we had a tropic bird trying to land on one of our kayaks fastened to the safety rails. We were bouncing around too much, so he went elsewhere.

We fished all the way. Lost leader and lure to something with really big teeth on two occasions and had one small Mahi mahi get away. Lots of fishing….No catching!  Lots of weed!

You can sail the seas and encounter no other traffic whatsoever, and then, the one large tanker or cargo ship you see wants to pass through the exact same patch of water that you want to pass through at exactly the same time….And always at night. The odds of that happening in the vastness of the ocean are millions to one, but it happens every time without fail!  This is here AIS proves its value.

Anyway, arrived almost unscathed but very tired at Great Inagua, on the southern Bahamas to clear in. After the volcanic mountainous appearance of the BVI, Great Inagua reaches the grand height of 36 feet! If you didn’t know it was there, you would pass right by. Great Inagua offers the most polite and efficient Customs and Immigration service we have come across on our travels, and they give you a lift back to the dinghy dock. Can’t beat that after 4 nights at sea!

The island is famous for its salt pans. The majority of the population of 1,000 work for the salt mining company. They produce a million plus pounds of salt a year.

Passage to the Bahamas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 4th 2015

After a couple of days catching our breath after the closing of our lives in BVI and saying farewell to old cruising friends in St. Thomas, we headed off on 16 June to Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas.

The trip started well with a wonderful broad reach around the western tip of St. Thomas and then headed slightly north of west. The seas and wind were perfect as we passed north of Culebra and to the north east point of Puerto Rico. It was downhill from there!!

A feathered hitchhiker
A Feathered Hitchhiker

Lighter very variable winds and a large swell from the east slowed us right down on the main part of the journey, heading in a westerly direction, staying well north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The swell grew to the point where it was sometimes approaching the stern higher than our dinghy up on davits. Our transom and sugar scoops were pounded for three days. Each wave ran the risk of broaching. A wave would pass under the boat from the stern, and we would be almost stalled at 4 knots. Within a couple of seconds, we were often over 10 knots and on a dark night when you cannot see what’s waiting and the bottom of the roller coaster, it’s a bit if an adrenaline rush to say the least.

Now add to that some severe squalls with high wind gusts, rain and no visibility, plus the occasional thunder storm, usually at night, and you get the picture!

We had a couple of feathered visitors along the way. One small bird, yet to be identified, stopped for a break late on the first evening. On the second night we had a tropic bird trying to land on one of our kayaks fastened to the safety rails. We were bouncing around too much, so he went elsewhere.

We fished all the way. Lost leader and lure to something with really big teeth on two occasions and had one small Mahi mahi get away. Lots of fishing….No catching!  Lots of weed!

You can sail the seas and encounter no other traffic whatsoever, and then, the one large tanker or cargo ship you see wants to pass through the exact same patch of water that you want to pass through at exactly the same time….And always at night. The odds of that happening in the vastness of the ocean are millions to one, but it happens every time without fail!  This is here AIS proves its value.

Anyway, arrived almost unscathed but very tired at Great Inagua, on the southern Bahamas to clear in. After the volcanic mountainous appearance of the BVI, Great Inagua reaches the grand height of 36 feet! If you didn’t know it was there, you would pass right by. Great Inagua offers the most polite and efficient Customs and Immigration service we have come across on our travels, and they give you a lift back to the dinghy dock. Can’t beat that after 4 nights at sea!

The island is famous for its salt pans. The majority of the population of 1,000 work for the salt mining company. They produce a million plus pounds of salt a year.

Passage to the Bahamas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 4th 2015

After a couple of days catching our breath after the closing of our lives in BVI and saying farewell to old cruising friends in St. Thomas, we headed off on 16 June to Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas.

The trip started well with a wonderful broad reach around the western tip of St. Thomas and then headed slightly north of west. The seas and wind were perfect as we passed north of Culebra and to the north east point of Puerto Rico. It was downhill from there!!

A feathered hitchhiker
A Feathered Hitchhiker

Lighter very variable winds and a large swell from the east slowed us right down on the main part of the journey, heading in a westerly direction, staying well north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The swell grew to the point where it was sometimes approaching the stern higher than our dinghy up on davits. Our transom and sugar scoops were pounded for three days. Each wave ran the risk of broaching. A wave would pass under the boat from the stern, and we would be almost stalled at 4 knots. Within a couple of seconds, we were often over 10 knots and on a dark night when you cannot see what’s waiting and the bottom of the roller coaster, it’s a bit if an adrenaline rush to say the least.

Now add to that some severe squalls with high wind gusts, rain and no visibility, plus the occasional thunder storm, usually at night, and you get the picture!

We had a couple of feathered visitors along the way. One small bird, yet to be identified, stopped for a break late on the first evening. On the second night we had a tropic bird trying to land on one of our kayaks fastened to the safety rails. We were bouncing around too much, so he went elsewhere.

We fished all the way. Lost leader and lure to something with really big teeth on two occasions and had one small Mahi mahi get away. Lots of fishing….No catching!  Lots of weed!

You can sail the seas and encounter no other traffic whatsoever, and then, the one large tanker or cargo ship you see wants to pass through the exact same patch of water that you want to pass through at exactly the same time….And always at night. The odds of that happening in the vastness of the ocean are millions to one, but it happens every time without fail!  This is here AIS proves its value.

Anyway, arrived almost unscathed but very tired at Great Inagua, on the southern Bahamas to clear in. After the volcanic mountainous appearance of the BVI, Great Inagua reaches the grand height of 36 feet! If you didn’t know it was there, you would pass right by. Great Inagua offers the most polite and efficient Customs and Immigration service we have come across on our travels, and they give you a lift back to the dinghy dock. Can’t beat that after 4 nights at sea!

The island is famous for its salt pans. The majority of the population of 1,000 work for the salt mining company. They produce a million plus pounds of salt a year.

Passage to the Bahamas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 4th 2015

After a couple of days catching our breath after the closing of our lives in BVI and saying farewell to old cruising friends in St. Thomas, we headed off on 16 June to Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas.

The trip started well with a wonderful broad reach around the western tip of St. Thomas and then headed slightly north of west. The seas and wind were perfect as we passed north of Culebra and to the north east point of Puerto Rico. It was downhill from there!!

A feathered hitchhiker
A Feathered Hitchhiker

Lighter very variable winds and a large swell from the east slowed us right down on the main part of the journey, heading in a westerly direction, staying well north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The swell grew to the point where it was sometimes approaching the stern higher than our dinghy up on davits. Our transom and sugar scoops were pounded for three days. Each wave ran the risk of broaching. A wave would pass under the boat from the stern, and we would be almost stalled at 4 knots. Within a couple of seconds, we were often over 10 knots and on a dark night when you cannot see what’s waiting and the bottom of the roller coaster, it’s a bit if an adrenaline rush to say the least.

Now add to that some severe squalls with high wind gusts, rain and no visibility, plus the occasional thunder storm, usually at night, and you get the picture!

We had a couple of feathered visitors along the way. One small bird, yet to be identified, stopped for a break late on the first evening. On the second night we had a tropic bird trying to land on one of our kayaks fastened to the safety rails. We were bouncing around too much, so he went elsewhere.

We fished all the way. Lost leader and lure to something with really big teeth on two occasions and had one small Mahi mahi get away. Lots of fishing….No catching!  Lots of weed!

You can sail the seas and encounter no other traffic whatsoever, and then, the one large tanker or cargo ship you see wants to pass through the exact same patch of water that you want to pass through at exactly the same time….And always at night. The odds of that happening in the vastness of the ocean are millions to one, but it happens every time without fail!  This is here AIS proves its value.

Anyway, arrived almost unscathed but very tired at Great Inagua, on the southern Bahamas to clear in. After the volcanic mountainous appearance of the BVI, Great Inagua reaches the grand height of 36 feet! If you didn’t know it was there, you would pass right by. Great Inagua offers the most polite and efficient Customs and Immigration service we have come across on our travels, and they give you a lift back to the dinghy dock. Can’t beat that after 4 nights at sea!

The island is famous for its salt pans. The majority of the population of 1,000 work for the salt mining company. They produce a million plus pounds of salt a year.

Passage to the Bahamas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 4th 2015

After a couple of days catching our breath after the closing of our lives in BVI and saying farewell to old cruising friends in St. Thomas, we headed off on 16 June to Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas.

The trip started well with a wonderful broad reach around the western tip of St. Thomas and then headed slightly north of west. The seas and wind were perfect as we passed north of Culebra and to the north east point of Puerto Rico. It was downhill from there!!

A feathered hitchhiker
A Feathered Hitchhiker

Lighter very variable winds and a large swell from the east slowed us right down on the main part of the journey, heading in a westerly direction, staying well north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The swell grew to the point where it was sometimes approaching the stern higher than our dinghy up on davits. Our transom and sugar scoops were pounded for three days. Each wave ran the risk of broaching. A wave would pass under the boat from the stern, and we would be almost stalled at 4 knots. Within a couple of seconds, we were often over 10 knots and on a dark night when you cannot see what’s waiting and the bottom of the roller coaster, it’s a bit if an adrenaline rush to say the least.

Now add to that some severe squalls with high wind gusts, rain and no visibility, plus the occasional thunder storm, usually at night, and you get the picture!

We had a couple of feathered visitors along the way. One small bird, yet to be identified, stopped for a break late on the first evening. On the second night we had a tropic bird trying to land on one of our kayaks fastened to the safety rails. We were bouncing around too much, so he went elsewhere.

We fished all the way. Lost leader and lure to something with really big teeth on two occasions and had one small Mahi mahi get away. Lots of fishing….No catching!  Lots of weed!

You can sail the seas and encounter no other traffic whatsoever, and then, the one large tanker or cargo ship you see wants to pass through the exact same patch of water that you want to pass through at exactly the same time….And always at night. The odds of that happening in the vastness of the ocean are millions to one, but it happens every time without fail!  This is here AIS proves its value.

Anyway, arrived almost unscathed but very tired at Great Inagua, on the southern Bahamas to clear in. After the volcanic mountainous appearance of the BVI, Great Inagua reaches the grand height of 36 feet! If you didn’t know it was there, you would pass right by. Great Inagua offers the most polite and efficient Customs and Immigration service we have come across on our travels, and they give you a lift back to the dinghy dock. Can’t beat that after 4 nights at sea!

The island is famous for its salt pans. The majority of the population of 1,000 work for the salt mining company. They produce a million plus pounds of salt a year.

Passage to the Bahamas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 4th 2015

After a couple of days catching our breath after the closing of our lives in BVI and saying farewell to old cruising friends in St. Thomas, we headed off on 16 June to Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas.

The trip started well with a wonderful broad reach around the western tip of St. Thomas and then headed slightly north of west. The seas and wind were perfect as we passed north of Culebra and to the north east point of Puerto Rico. It was downhill from there!!

A feathered hitchhiker
A Feathered Hitchhiker

Lighter very variable winds and a large swell from the east slowed us right down on the main part of the journey, heading in a westerly direction, staying well north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The swell grew to the point where it was sometimes approaching the stern higher than our dinghy up on davits. Our transom and sugar scoops were pounded for three days. Each wave ran the risk of broaching. A wave would pass under the boat from the stern, and we would be almost stalled at 4 knots. Within a couple of seconds, we were often over 10 knots and on a dark night when you cannot see what’s waiting and the bottom of the roller coaster, it’s a bit if an adrenaline rush to say the least.

Now add to that some severe squalls with high wind gusts, rain and no visibility, plus the occasional thunder storm, usually at night, and you get the picture!

We had a couple of feathered visitors along the way. One small bird, yet to be identified, stopped for a break late on the first evening. On the second night we had a tropic bird trying to land on one of our kayaks fastened to the safety rails. We were bouncing around too much, so he went elsewhere.

We fished all the way. Lost leader and lure to something with really big teeth on two occasions and had one small Mahi mahi get away. Lots of fishing….No catching!  Lots of weed!

You can sail the seas and encounter no other traffic whatsoever, and then, the one large tanker or cargo ship you see wants to pass through the exact same patch of water that you want to pass through at exactly the same time….And always at night. The odds of that happening in the vastness of the ocean are millions to one, but it happens every time without fail!  This is here AIS proves its value.

Anyway, arrived almost unscathed but very tired at Great Inagua, on the southern Bahamas to clear in. After the volcanic mountainous appearance of the BVI, Great Inagua reaches the grand height of 36 feet! If you didn’t know it was there, you would pass right by. Great Inagua offers the most polite and efficient Customs and Immigration service we have come across on our travels, and they give you a lift back to the dinghy dock. Can’t beat that after 4 nights at sea!

The island is famous for its salt pans. The majority of the population of 1,000 work for the salt mining company. They produce a million plus pounds of salt a year.

Georgetown to Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Georgetown is on the north shore of Great Exuma, a very large island. A mile north of Georgetown lies Stocking and Elizabeth Islands. This forms a huge natural harbor. Mostly quite shallow, so careful navigation is required. There are many pleasant anchorages.

 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay
 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay

Our previous visits have been in the winter, peak sailing time when there are probably 400 boats here. This visit, there were probably 20 boats.

Read a story in a magazine when we first started sailing the Bahamas about a couple who had been put off visiting Georgetown for re-provisioning for a number of years as they were nervous about the navigation challenges into the harbour. Finally they got up the courage to give it a go. Having successfully navigated through the shoals, they expected to be one of the few brave folk to have made it. Turned the last corner to find 400 plus boats had beaten them to it!

Georgetown is an annual pilgrimage for many sailors as the social life here is passed on from year to year. For many, it’s as far as they ever go. For other more adventurous souls it’s a re-provisioning stop en-route to discover the beautiful islands of the remote Bahamas. We last visited in 2005. Not much has changed in the town, but there has been a real growth in fancy vacation homes.

We found internet, but still no SIM cards. It’s Saturday and Batelco is closed…Again!

With most of the Exumas, you have the choice of sailing up the east side in deep Atlantic waters, where there are supposed to fish to catch!, or on the west side along the shallow banks. We sailed downwind from Georgetown, very leisurely along the Atlantic side, then entered the banks at Rudder Cay Cut, around the southern tip of Rudder Cut Cay to find an anchorage on the protected west side. There are a number of bays and also a completely enclosed natural harbour. The island may be owned by the owner of neighbouring Musha Cay, (David Copperfield, the illusionist, we believe), but there does not appear to be any development. NO OTHER BOATS!

Another few hours of playing with the tide. Going north close to the western shoreline of Rudder Cut Cay, then Musha Cay, then Cave Cay, (Johnny Depp?), there were many shoals, not all of which we expected to be charted correctly as they shift over time. Sure enough, the channels weren’t all where they were supposed to be and we found some seriously shallow areas.

Once north of Cave Cay and further west on to the Banks, it was much clearer, as we headed well clear of the western shoreline of Great Guana Cay. We have passed this very long thin island, mostly undeveloped island a number of times and it was always appealing. White beaches everywhere. So we finally managed to stop there for a few hours just north of White Point. Wonderful beach and SPECTACULAR warm blue water over clear white sand. Brought Dreaming On in as close as we dared, but still quite a way out with barely 6” under the keel and kayaked to the beach. Could have probably walked. NO OTHER BOATS!

So after an enjoyable couple of hours there, we moved north again over the Banks to Harvey Cay, just outside Staniel Cay. The idea being to anchor at Harvey Cay overnight, then move in the following morning to anchor off Staniel Cay, a busy little place in the peak winter period for boaters, and hope for internet and a SIM card.

 

Georgetown to Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Georgetown is on the north shore of Great Exuma, a very large island. A mile north of Georgetown lies Stocking and Elizabeth Islands. This forms a huge natural harbor. Mostly quite shallow, so careful navigation is required. There are many pleasant anchorages.

 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay
 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay

Our previous visits have been in the winter, peak sailing time when there are probably 400 boats here. This visit, there were probably 20 boats.

Read a story in a magazine when we first started sailing the Bahamas about a couple who had been put off visiting Georgetown for re-provisioning for a number of years as they were nervous about the navigation challenges into the harbour. Finally they got up the courage to give it a go. Having successfully navigated through the shoals, they expected to be one of the few brave folk to have made it. Turned the last corner to find 400 plus boats had beaten them to it!

Georgetown is an annual pilgrimage for many sailors as the social life here is passed on from year to year. For many, it’s as far as they ever go. For other more adventurous souls it’s a re-provisioning stop en-route to discover the beautiful islands of the remote Bahamas. We last visited in 2005. Not much has changed in the town, but there has been a real growth in fancy vacation homes.

We found internet, but still no SIM cards. It’s Saturday and Batelco is closed…Again!

With most of the Exumas, you have the choice of sailing up the east side in deep Atlantic waters, where there are supposed to fish to catch!, or on the west side along the shallow banks. We sailed downwind from Georgetown, very leisurely along the Atlantic side, then entered the banks at Rudder Cay Cut, around the southern tip of Rudder Cut Cay to find an anchorage on the protected west side. There are a number of bays and also a completely enclosed natural harbour. The island may be owned by the owner of neighbouring Musha Cay, (David Copperfield, the illusionist, we believe), but there does not appear to be any development. NO OTHER BOATS!

Another few hours of playing with the tide. Going north close to the western shoreline of Rudder Cut Cay, then Musha Cay, then Cave Cay, (Johnny Depp?), there were many shoals, not all of which we expected to be charted correctly as they shift over time. Sure enough, the channels weren’t all where they were supposed to be and we found some seriously shallow areas.

Once north of Cave Cay and further west on to the Banks, it was much clearer, as we headed well clear of the western shoreline of Great Guana Cay. We have passed this very long thin island, mostly undeveloped island a number of times and it was always appealing. White beaches everywhere. So we finally managed to stop there for a few hours just north of White Point. Wonderful beach and SPECTACULAR warm blue water over clear white sand. Brought Dreaming On in as close as we dared, but still quite a way out with barely 6” under the keel and kayaked to the beach. Could have probably walked. NO OTHER BOATS!

So after an enjoyable couple of hours there, we moved north again over the Banks to Harvey Cay, just outside Staniel Cay. The idea being to anchor at Harvey Cay overnight, then move in the following morning to anchor off Staniel Cay, a busy little place in the peak winter period for boaters, and hope for internet and a SIM card.

 

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma through Hog Cay Cut  

A lively sail in deep water just off the shallows of The Bight of Acklins. 16nm at an average of 8.6kts.
We remember Fish Cay and Guana Cay situated on the shallow banks in wonderfully calm water on a previous visit. Fish Cay is where you find the iguanas and Guana Cay is where you find most fish! Not calm today though. It’s been blowing over 25kts all day and having crawled through shallows between sand bars to the only anchorage here, we are bouncing around just a little.

Fish Cay, Crooked Island
Fish Cay, Crooked Island

Met by a large turtle and a lone dolphin.

The fishing lines were out again for the trip, and we followed the very deep water a mile off the drop off. Nothing!

A lively night of current versus wind and waves in our anchorage, then a morning kayak visit to Fish Cay. A beautiful beach that we first visited in 2006, with water in typically Bahamian colours, along with many very large sting rays and a nurse shark in the shallows. NO OTHER BOATS!

Landrail Point, Crooked Island

We had hoped to find internet and a SIM card at Great Inagua. There’s only one provider in the Bahamas and they were closed and the internet was down! So our best hope was a stop at Landrail Point on Crooked Island. Internet was down and the Batelco office was too far to walk, so again no communication.   NO OTHER BOATS!

We have sailed along the usual north south route on the eastern side of Long Island. It’s a long way, it’s usually rough, it’s usually at night and not something to which to look forward, so we decided to try the very skinny Hog Cay Cut between The Exumas and western Long Island. All in all a good decision. We needed to night stop on the south western side of Long Island so we could make Hog Cay on a rising tide in daylight. Another very rolly night. That swell is just following us everywhere!

Turquoise waters off Hog Cay Cut, Exumas
 Hog Cay Cut, Exumas

Hog Cay Cut

Although we have sailed various parts of the Bahamas Banks, it is always a surprise at how many thousands of square miles of banks there are. Always several shades of amazing blue. As we reached the banks south of Hog Cay, we still had another 30 miles or so to go in blue, blue water over pure white sand and hardly any land in sight. An amazing feeling with an average of 5 feet under the keel.

Hog Cay Cut is narrow and winds around between Hog Cay and Goat Cay. It is shallow. On the charts, the minimum mean depth is 3.3 feet. Dreaming On draws just under 5’. Luckily the wind, currents and tides cooperated and we saw a minimum depth of 5.2’. A good way to clean the barnacles off the keels!

From there, a very pleasant downwind sail to Georgetown, the main town in the Exumas and our major internet and email hope.

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma through Hog Cay Cut  

A lively sail in deep water just off the shallows of The Bight of Acklins. 16nm at an average of 8.6kts.
We remember Fish Cay and Guana Cay situated on the shallow banks in wonderfully calm water on a previous visit. Fish Cay is where you find the iguanas and Guana Cay is where you find most fish! Not calm today though. It’s been blowing over 25kts all day and having crawled through shallows between sand bars to the only anchorage here, we are bouncing around just a little.

Fish Cay, Crooked Island
Fish Cay, Crooked Island

Met by a large turtle and a lone dolphin.

The fishing lines were out again for the trip, and we followed the very deep water a mile off the drop off. Nothing!

A lively night of current versus wind and waves in our anchorage, then a morning kayak visit to Fish Cay. A beautiful beach that we first visited in 2006, with water in typically Bahamian colours, along with many very large sting rays and a nurse shark in the shallows. NO OTHER BOATS!

Landrail Point, Crooked Island

We had hoped to find internet and a SIM card at Great Inagua. There’s only one provider in the Bahamas and they were closed and the internet was down! So our best hope was a stop at Landrail Point on Crooked Island. Internet was down and the Batelco office was too far to walk, so again no communication.   NO OTHER BOATS!

We have sailed along the usual north south route on the eastern side of Long Island. It’s a long way, it’s usually rough, it’s usually at night and not something to which to look forward, so we decided to try the very skinny Hog Cay Cut between The Exumas and western Long Island. All in all a good decision. We needed to night stop on the south western side of Long Island so we could make Hog Cay on a rising tide in daylight. Another very rolly night. That swell is just following us everywhere!

Turquoise waters off Hog Cay Cut, Exumas
 Hog Cay Cut, Exumas

Hog Cay Cut

Although we have sailed various parts of the Bahamas Banks, it is always a surprise at how many thousands of square miles of banks there are. Always several shades of amazing blue. As we reached the banks south of Hog Cay, we still had another 30 miles or so to go in blue, blue water over pure white sand and hardly any land in sight. An amazing feeling with an average of 5 feet under the keel.

Hog Cay Cut is narrow and winds around between Hog Cay and Goat Cay. It is shallow. On the charts, the minimum mean depth is 3.3 feet. Dreaming On draws just under 5’. Luckily the wind, currents and tides cooperated and we saw a minimum depth of 5.2’. A good way to clean the barnacles off the keels!

From there, a very pleasant downwind sail to Georgetown, the main town in the Exumas and our major internet and email hope.

Staniel Cay and the Northern Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay

We stayed around Staniel Cay area for three nights in different anchorages while we had an internet connection so we could catch up with email, blog etc. Thunderball Cave where the James Bond movie was filmed.

Pipe Creek - 1 July 15  We were really keen to re-visit Pipe Creek, another of our favourite places. Been there twice before in calm weather and had a wonderful time kayaking around the abundance of rocks, islands, pure white beaches and best of all, Joe Cay, a fabulous little island with a large salina inside. Shock….Horror…! We navigated into the narrow tidal channel we had used before to anchor right outside the entrance to Joe Cay’s salina. It’s now yet another private island! The salina has been cleaned of all mangrove and there’s a private marina in there. Now of all the many islands that have been purchased and developed since we were last in this area, this was one of the nicest developments. Very well done and very low key. But The Bahamas are selling off their family jewels. When will it stop.

Hawksbill Cay
Hawksbill Cay

Hawksbill Cay – 2 July 15  So, we didn’t stay very long in Pipe Creek. Headed off the following morning to Hawksbill Cay, an island in the Bahamas Land and Sea Park that we haven’t visited before. On the way we stopped at Bell Island, (yet another island developed into a private resort now) then the park headquarters at Warderick Wells.

Unfortunately the swell that’s been following us tossed us around again all night, but we did find a fabulous salina on the island, which partly made up for missing out on Joe Cay.

Exploring the mangroves
Exploring the mangroves

Shroud Cay – 3 Jul 15  Shroud Cay is amazing. Wonderful beaches all around. Dazzling water and white sand and a series of kayakable Salinas that wind their way through the island from the shallow western banks side to the beaches on the eastern Atlantic side. We have been here 3 times before and always loved it. Worked our way through the shallows to a great CALM anchorage. No swell!!!  Put our Phantom drone to work here to capture some of the colours.

Having spent the last five years in relatively deep water around volcanic islands, it takes a while to get used to sailing around in skinny water again and creeping through very shallow passages. Here we are often with full sails, at 8 knots, with only a few feet under the keel, but mostly white sand and clear water.

One thing we have noticed. When we were here in 2005 and 2006, there were many sailing boats around, but nowhere near the numbers in the BVI. Most of the sailors in The Bahamas were cruisers. We saw very few large motor yachts then. But now, ever since the recession sparked off a large motor yacht and mega yacht buying spree and charter market, the Exumas, from Staniel Cay northwards, has a large number of (probably charter) large motor yachts at every island. Worst of all, they all have a fleet of jet-skis. Private jet-skis are banned in the BVI, so we’ve seen very few around over the last 5 years. But here, they are buzzing around every anchorage like a swarm of wasps!

Staniel Cay and the Northern Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay

We stayed around Staniel Cay area for three nights in different anchorages while we had an internet connection so we could catch up with email, blog etc. Thunderball Cave where the James Bond movie was filmed.

Pipe Creek - 1 July 15  We were really keen to re-visit Pipe Creek, another of our favourite places. Been there twice before in calm weather and had a wonderful time kayaking around the abundance of rocks, islands, pure white beaches and best of all, Joe Cay, a fabulous little island with a large salina inside. Shock….Horror…! We navigated into the narrow tidal channel we had used before to anchor right outside the entrance to Joe Cay’s salina. It’s now yet another private island! The salina has been cleaned of all mangrove and there’s a private marina in there. Now of all the many islands that have been purchased and developed since we were last in this area, this was one of the nicest developments. Very well done and very low key. But The Bahamas are selling off their family jewels. When will it stop.

Hawksbill Cay
Hawksbill Cay

Hawksbill Cay – 2 July 15  So, we didn’t stay very long in Pipe Creek. Headed off the following morning to Hawksbill Cay, an island in the Bahamas Land and Sea Park that we haven’t visited before. On the way we stopped at Bell Island, (yet another island developed into a private resort now) then the park headquarters at Warderick Wells.

Unfortunately the swell that’s been following us tossed us around again all night, but we did find a fabulous salina on the island, which partly made up for missing out on Joe Cay.

Exploring the mangroves
Exploring the mangroves

Shroud Cay – 3 Jul 15  Shroud Cay is amazing. Wonderful beaches all around. Dazzling water and white sand and a series of kayakable Salinas that wind their way through the island from the shallow western banks side to the beaches on the eastern Atlantic side. We have been here 3 times before and always loved it. Worked our way through the shallows to a great CALM anchorage. No swell!!!  Put our Phantom drone to work here to capture some of the colours.

Having spent the last five years in relatively deep water around volcanic islands, it takes a while to get used to sailing around in skinny water again and creeping through very shallow passages. Here we are often with full sails, at 8 knots, with only a few feet under the keel, but mostly white sand and clear water.

One thing we have noticed. When we were here in 2005 and 2006, there were many sailing boats around, but nowhere near the numbers in the BVI. Most of the sailors in The Bahamas were cruisers. We saw very few large motor yachts then. But now, ever since the recession sparked off a large motor yacht and mega yacht buying spree and charter market, the Exumas, from Staniel Cay northwards, has a large number of (probably charter) large motor yachts at every island. Worst of all, they all have a fleet of jet-skis. Private jet-skis are banned in the BVI, so we’ve seen very few around over the last 5 years. But here, they are buzzing around every anchorage like a swarm of wasps!

Staniel Cay and the Northern Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay

We stayed around Staniel Cay area for three nights in different anchorages while we had an internet connection so we could catch up with email, blog etc. Thunderball Cave where the James Bond movie was filmed.

Pipe Creek - 1 July 15  We were really keen to re-visit Pipe Creek, another of our favourite places. Been there twice before in calm weather and had a wonderful time kayaking around the abundance of rocks, islands, pure white beaches and best of all, Joe Cay, a fabulous little island with a large salina inside. Shock….Horror…! We navigated into the narrow tidal channel we had used before to anchor right outside the entrance to Joe Cay’s salina. It’s now yet another private island! The salina has been cleaned of all mangrove and there’s a private marina in there. Now of all the many islands that have been purchased and developed since we were last in this area, this was one of the nicest developments. Very well done and very low key. But The Bahamas are selling off their family jewels. When will it stop.

Hawksbill Cay
Hawksbill Cay

Hawksbill Cay – 2 July 15  So, we didn’t stay very long in Pipe Creek. Headed off the following morning to Hawksbill Cay, an island in the Bahamas Land and Sea Park that we haven’t visited before. On the way we stopped at Bell Island, (yet another island developed into a private resort now) then the park headquarters at Warderick Wells.

Unfortunately the swell that’s been following us tossed us around again all night, but we did find a fabulous salina on the island, which partly made up for missing out on Joe Cay.

Exploring the mangroves
Exploring the mangroves

Shroud Cay – 3 Jul 15  Shroud Cay is amazing. Wonderful beaches all around. Dazzling water and white sand and a series of kayakable Salinas that wind their way through the island from the shallow western banks side to the beaches on the eastern Atlantic side. We have been here 3 times before and always loved it. Worked our way through the shallows to a great CALM anchorage. No swell!!!  Put our Phantom drone to work here to capture some of the colours.

Having spent the last five years in relatively deep water around volcanic islands, it takes a while to get used to sailing around in skinny water again and creeping through very shallow passages. Here we are often with full sails, at 8 knots, with only a few feet under the keel, but mostly white sand and clear water.

One thing we have noticed. When we were here in 2005 and 2006, there were many sailing boats around, but nowhere near the numbers in the BVI. Most of the sailors in The Bahamas were cruisers. We saw very few large motor yachts then. But now, ever since the recession sparked off a large motor yacht and mega yacht buying spree and charter market, the Exumas, from Staniel Cay northwards, has a large number of (probably charter) large motor yachts at every island. Worst of all, they all have a fleet of jet-skis. Private jet-skis are banned in the BVI, so we’ve seen very few around over the last 5 years. But here, they are buzzing around every anchorage like a swarm of wasps!

Staniel Cay and the Northern Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay

We stayed around Staniel Cay area for three nights in different anchorages while we had an internet connection so we could catch up with email, blog etc. Thunderball Cave where the James Bond movie was filmed.

Pipe Creek - 1 July 15  We were really keen to re-visit Pipe Creek, another of our favourite places. Been there twice before in calm weather and had a wonderful time kayaking around the abundance of rocks, islands, pure white beaches and best of all, Joe Cay, a fabulous little island with a large salina inside. Shock….Horror…! We navigated into the narrow tidal channel we had used before to anchor right outside the entrance to Joe Cay’s salina. It’s now yet another private island! The salina has been cleaned of all mangrove and there’s a private marina in there. Now of all the many islands that have been purchased and developed since we were last in this area, this was one of the nicest developments. Very well done and very low key. But The Bahamas are selling off their family jewels. When will it stop.

Hawksbill Cay
Hawksbill Cay

Hawksbill Cay – 2 July 15  So, we didn’t stay very long in Pipe Creek. Headed off the following morning to Hawksbill Cay, an island in the Bahamas Land and Sea Park that we haven’t visited before. On the way we stopped at Bell Island, (yet another island developed into a private resort now) then the park headquarters at Warderick Wells.

Unfortunately the swell that’s been following us tossed us around again all night, but we did find a fabulous salina on the island, which partly made up for missing out on Joe Cay.

Exploring the mangroves
Exploring the mangroves

Shroud Cay – 3 Jul 15  Shroud Cay is amazing. Wonderful beaches all around. Dazzling water and white sand and a series of kayakable Salinas that wind their way through the island from the shallow western banks side to the beaches on the eastern Atlantic side. We have been here 3 times before and always loved it. Worked our way through the shallows to a great CALM anchorage. No swell!!!  Put our Phantom drone to work here to capture some of the colours.

Having spent the last five years in relatively deep water around volcanic islands, it takes a while to get used to sailing around in skinny water again and creeping through very shallow passages. Here we are often with full sails, at 8 knots, with only a few feet under the keel, but mostly white sand and clear water.

One thing we have noticed. When we were here in 2005 and 2006, there were many sailing boats around, but nowhere near the numbers in the BVI. Most of the sailors in The Bahamas were cruisers. We saw very few large motor yachts then. But now, ever since the recession sparked off a large motor yacht and mega yacht buying spree and charter market, the Exumas, from Staniel Cay northwards, has a large number of (probably charter) large motor yachts at every island. Worst of all, they all have a fleet of jet-skis. Private jet-skis are banned in the BVI, so we’ve seen very few around over the last 5 years. But here, they are buzzing around every anchorage like a swarm of wasps!

Arriving in Nassau

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

Atlantis on Paradise Island
Atlantis on Paradise Island

A 40 mile passage across the Bahama Banks to Rose Island just outside Nassau Harbor. Depths usually around 25’ with occasional coral heads. The eastern approach to New Providence, the island on which Nassau is situated has many rocky areas and small exposed rocks and islands, plus shallow areas, so great care is required in many places. We worked our way around to the beach on the northwest side of Rose Island and it was Sunday afternoon playtime! Party boats galore. Music, jet-skis, tubing.

Nassau – 6 Jul 15  Worked our way through the various rocky hazards into busy, busy Nassau Harbour. New Providence is flat like the rest of the Bahamas. Lying along the north side of New Providence and creating Nassau’s huge natural harbour is Paradise Island on which Atlantis is situated. Atlantis is the major landmark and can be seen from miles away. We anchored at the south eastern end of the harbour and spent some time ashore. Also found out by email that our new fuel tanks are behind schedule, so no rush to get to Ft. Lauderdale.

Athol Island – 6 Jul 15  Nassau Harbour very rough, tidal and busy so headed out to Athol Island for an overnight stop.

Across the Banks and Florida Straits to Ft Lauderdale

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

The vacation is almost over. Time to head to Florida and get some work done. Many items to do, but the main one is to install new fuel tanks. Ours’ are working just fine…so far. But they are aluminium and we know they have a shelf life. So while in Ft. Lauderdale, we are installing well tried custom made plastic tanks. Not looking forward to that job in Florida in July.

Headed across the banks on 13 July. 49nm from our wonderful final anchorage in the Berry Islands and we are only half way. Saw a LARGE shark on the banks today, plus a couple of good sized turtles. Rarely is it deeper than 20’ in clear, clear water. No wind today so the water is absolutely flat. HOT! Motored all day. Unheard of!

The colours of the Bahamas
The colours of the Bahamas

Anchored overnight in 20’ of blue water over white sand, no land in sight. And we are only half way across the Banks. Never ceases to amaze us how many thousands of square miles of shallow banks surround the Bahamas.

The Great Bahama Banks to Cat Cay. 14 July. The day started badly. Our nice calm anchorage became a little wild at 5am as a very large thunderstorm passed by. We decided we were bouncing around so much, that we might as well leave and use some of the wind generated to get us to the end of The Banks.

Arrived at Cat Cay. A private islands, run as a club. If you can be accepted as a member, you may be able to build or buy an exclusive property. Lots available for development are limited and when they are all assigned, that’s it. There’s a golf course, a superb marina, a very well managed little airport, Customs and Immigration services and some great restaurants. It’s a lifestyle. The whole island has been planted with palm trees and landscaped. Very tastefully done. Visitors…..unwelcome!

Anyway, it was a good calm afternoon anchorage to give us some rest before heading to across to Florida.

Cat Cay to Ft. Lauderdale. 14 Jul 15  Left at 7pm through Gun Cay Cut, into the North Atlantic, (Florida Straits) and our old friend the Gulfstream for an overnight run to Ft. Lauderdale.

The Gulfstream runs north at between 1.5 knots to 2.5 knots. Doesn’t sound much, but when you are moving north at 2 knots, sideways for 10 hours, it makes a difference. So the boat’s autopilot was set at 255⁰, to obtain a heading of 274⁰, but our actual course over ground was around 310⁰.

Many cargo ships and tankers early in the night transiting north and south east of US waters. Once again, thanks to AIS we were able to work out positions and courses. Once we were in US waters, it was very quiet.

As we came closer to the Florida coast at night, we were looking straight at Miami, with the lights of Ft. Lauderdale way to the north, but our achieved course over ground took us right there. Interesting feeling.

Anchored overnight off Ft. Lauderdale beach at 4am on 15 July, having navigated our way in by radar between anchored cargo ships.

Across the Banks and Florida Straits to Ft Lauderdale

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

The vacation is almost over. Time to head to Florida and get some work done. Many items to do, but the main one is to install new fuel tanks. Ours’ are working just fine…so far. But they are aluminium and we know they have a shelf life. So while in Ft. Lauderdale, we are installing well tried custom made plastic tanks. Not looking forward to that job in Florida in July.

Headed across the banks on 13 July. 49nm from our wonderful final anchorage in the Berry Islands and we are only half way. Saw a LARGE shark on the banks today, plus a couple of good sized turtles. Rarely is it deeper than 20’ in clear, clear water. No wind today so the water is absolutely flat. HOT! Motored all day. Unheard of!

The colours of the Bahamas
The colours of the Bahamas

Anchored overnight in 20’ of blue water over white sand, no land in sight. And we are only half way across the Banks. Never ceases to amaze us how many thousands of square miles of shallow banks surround the Bahamas.

The Great Bahama Banks to Cat Cay. 14 July. The day started badly. Our nice calm anchorage became a little wild at 5am as a very large thunderstorm passed by. We decided we were bouncing around so much, that we might as well leave and use some of the wind generated to get us to the end of The Banks.

Arrived at Cat Cay. A private islands, run as a club. If you can be accepted as a member, you may be able to build or buy an exclusive property. Lots available for development are limited and when they are all assigned, that’s it. There’s a golf course, a superb marina, a very well managed little airport, Customs and Immigration services and some great restaurants. It’s a lifestyle. The whole island has been planted with palm trees and landscaped. Very tastefully done. Visitors…..unwelcome!

Anyway, it was a good calm afternoon anchorage to give us some rest before heading to across to Florida.

Cat Cay to Ft. Lauderdale. 14 Jul 15  Left at 7pm through Gun Cay Cut, into the North Atlantic, (Florida Straits) and our old friend the Gulfstream for an overnight run to Ft. Lauderdale.

The Gulfstream runs north at between 1.5 knots to 2.5 knots. Doesn’t sound much, but when you are moving north at 2 knots, sideways for 10 hours, it makes a difference. So the boat’s autopilot was set at 255⁰, to obtain a heading of 274⁰, but our actual course over ground was around 310⁰.

Many cargo ships and tankers early in the night transiting north and south east of US waters. Once again, thanks to AIS we were able to work out positions and courses. Once we were in US waters, it was very quiet.

As we came closer to the Florida coast at night, we were looking straight at Miami, with the lights of Ft. Lauderdale way to the north, but our achieved course over ground took us right there. Interesting feeling.

Anchored overnight off Ft. Lauderdale beach at 4am on 15 July, having navigated our way in by radar between anchored cargo ships.

Across the Banks and Florida Straits to Ft Lauderdale

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

The vacation is almost over. Time to head to Florida and get some work done. Many items to do, but the main one is to install new fuel tanks. Ours’ are working just fine…so far. But they are aluminium and we know they have a shelf life. So while in Ft. Lauderdale, we are installing well tried custom made plastic tanks. Not looking forward to that job in Florida in July.

Headed across the banks on 13 July. 49nm from our wonderful final anchorage in the Berry Islands and we are only half way. Saw a LARGE shark on the banks today, plus a couple of good sized turtles. Rarely is it deeper than 20’ in clear, clear water. No wind today so the water is absolutely flat. HOT! Motored all day. Unheard of!

The colours of the Bahamas
The colours of the Bahamas

Anchored overnight in 20’ of blue water over white sand, no land in sight. And we are only half way across the Banks. Never ceases to amaze us how many thousands of square miles of shallow banks surround the Bahamas.

The Great Bahama Banks to Cat Cay. 14 July. The day started badly. Our nice calm anchorage became a little wild at 5am as a very large thunderstorm passed by. We decided we were bouncing around so much, that we might as well leave and use some of the wind generated to get us to the end of The Banks.

Arrived at Cat Cay. A private islands, run as a club. If you can be accepted as a member, you may be able to build or buy an exclusive property. Lots available for development are limited and when they are all assigned, that’s it. There’s a golf course, a superb marina, a very well managed little airport, Customs and Immigration services and some great restaurants. It’s a lifestyle. The whole island has been planted with palm trees and landscaped. Very tastefully done. Visitors…..unwelcome!

Anyway, it was a good calm afternoon anchorage to give us some rest before heading to across to Florida.

Cat Cay to Ft. Lauderdale. 14 Jul 15  Left at 7pm through Gun Cay Cut, into the North Atlantic, (Florida Straits) and our old friend the Gulfstream for an overnight run to Ft. Lauderdale.

The Gulfstream runs north at between 1.5 knots to 2.5 knots. Doesn’t sound much, but when you are moving north at 2 knots, sideways for 10 hours, it makes a difference. So the boat’s autopilot was set at 255⁰, to obtain a heading of 274⁰, but our actual course over ground was around 310⁰.

Many cargo ships and tankers early in the night transiting north and south east of US waters. Once again, thanks to AIS we were able to work out positions and courses. Once we were in US waters, it was very quiet.

As we came closer to the Florida coast at night, we were looking straight at Miami, with the lights of Ft. Lauderdale way to the north, but our achieved course over ground took us right there. Interesting feeling.

Anchored overnight off Ft. Lauderdale beach at 4am on 15 July, having navigated our way in by radar between anchored cargo ships.

Georgetown to Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Georgetown is on the north shore of Great Exuma, a very large island. A mile north of Georgetown lies Stocking and Elizabeth Islands. This forms a huge natural harbor. Mostly quite shallow, so careful navigation is required. There are many pleasant anchorages.

 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay
 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay

Our previous visits have been in the winter, peak sailing time when there are probably 400 boats here. This visit, there were probably 20 boats.

Read a story in a magazine when we first started sailing the Bahamas about a couple who had been put off visiting Georgetown for re-provisioning for a number of years as they were nervous about the navigation challenges into the harbour. Finally they got up the courage to give it a go. Having successfully navigated through the shoals, they expected to be one of the few brave folk to have made it. Turned the last corner to find 400 plus boats had beaten them to it!

Georgetown is an annual pilgrimage for many sailors as the social life here is passed on from year to year. For many, it’s as far as they ever go. For other more adventurous souls it’s a re-provisioning stop en-route to discover the beautiful islands of the remote Bahamas. We last visited in 2005. Not much has changed in the town, but there has been a real growth in fancy vacation homes.

We found internet, but still no SIM cards. It’s Saturday and Batelco is closed…Again!

With most of the Exumas, you have the choice of sailing up the east side in deep Atlantic waters, where there are supposed to fish to catch!, or on the west side along the shallow banks. We sailed downwind from Georgetown, very leisurely along the Atlantic side, then entered the banks at Rudder Cay Cut, around the southern tip of Rudder Cut Cay to find an anchorage on the protected west side. There are a number of bays and also a completely enclosed natural harbour. The island may be owned by the owner of neighbouring Musha Cay, (David Copperfield, the illusionist, we believe), but there does not appear to be any development. NO OTHER BOATS!

Another few hours of playing with the tide. Going north close to the western shoreline of Rudder Cut Cay, then Musha Cay, then Cave Cay, (Johnny Depp?), there were many shoals, not all of which we expected to be charted correctly as they shift over time. Sure enough, the channels weren’t all where they were supposed to be and we found some seriously shallow areas.

Once north of Cave Cay and further west on to the Banks, it was much clearer, as we headed well clear of the western shoreline of Great Guana Cay. We have passed this very long thin island, mostly undeveloped island a number of times and it was always appealing. White beaches everywhere. So we finally managed to stop there for a few hours just north of White Point. Wonderful beach and SPECTACULAR warm blue water over clear white sand. Brought Dreaming On in as close as we dared, but still quite a way out with barely 6” under the keel and kayaked to the beach. Could have probably walked. NO OTHER BOATS!

So after an enjoyable couple of hours there, we moved north again over the Banks to Harvey Cay, just outside Staniel Cay. The idea being to anchor at Harvey Cay overnight, then move in the following morning to anchor off Staniel Cay, a busy little place in the peak winter period for boaters, and hope for internet and a SIM card.

 

Georgetown to Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Georgetown is on the north shore of Great Exuma, a very large island. A mile north of Georgetown lies Stocking and Elizabeth Islands. This forms a huge natural harbor. Mostly quite shallow, so careful navigation is required. There are many pleasant anchorages.

 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay
 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay

Our previous visits have been in the winter, peak sailing time when there are probably 400 boats here. This visit, there were probably 20 boats.

Read a story in a magazine when we first started sailing the Bahamas about a couple who had been put off visiting Georgetown for re-provisioning for a number of years as they were nervous about the navigation challenges into the harbour. Finally they got up the courage to give it a go. Having successfully navigated through the shoals, they expected to be one of the few brave folk to have made it. Turned the last corner to find 400 plus boats had beaten them to it!

Georgetown is an annual pilgrimage for many sailors as the social life here is passed on from year to year. For many, it’s as far as they ever go. For other more adventurous souls it’s a re-provisioning stop en-route to discover the beautiful islands of the remote Bahamas. We last visited in 2005. Not much has changed in the town, but there has been a real growth in fancy vacation homes.

We found internet, but still no SIM cards. It’s Saturday and Batelco is closed…Again!

With most of the Exumas, you have the choice of sailing up the east side in deep Atlantic waters, where there are supposed to fish to catch!, or on the west side along the shallow banks. We sailed downwind from Georgetown, very leisurely along the Atlantic side, then entered the banks at Rudder Cay Cut, around the southern tip of Rudder Cut Cay to find an anchorage on the protected west side. There are a number of bays and also a completely enclosed natural harbour. The island may be owned by the owner of neighbouring Musha Cay, (David Copperfield, the illusionist, we believe), but there does not appear to be any development. NO OTHER BOATS!

Another few hours of playing with the tide. Going north close to the western shoreline of Rudder Cut Cay, then Musha Cay, then Cave Cay, (Johnny Depp?), there were many shoals, not all of which we expected to be charted correctly as they shift over time. Sure enough, the channels weren’t all where they were supposed to be and we found some seriously shallow areas.

Once north of Cave Cay and further west on to the Banks, it was much clearer, as we headed well clear of the western shoreline of Great Guana Cay. We have passed this very long thin island, mostly undeveloped island a number of times and it was always appealing. White beaches everywhere. So we finally managed to stop there for a few hours just north of White Point. Wonderful beach and SPECTACULAR warm blue water over clear white sand. Brought Dreaming On in as close as we dared, but still quite a way out with barely 6” under the keel and kayaked to the beach. Could have probably walked. NO OTHER BOATS!

So after an enjoyable couple of hours there, we moved north again over the Banks to Harvey Cay, just outside Staniel Cay. The idea being to anchor at Harvey Cay overnight, then move in the following morning to anchor off Staniel Cay, a busy little place in the peak winter period for boaters, and hope for internet and a SIM card.

 

Across the Banks and Florida Straits to Ft Lauderdale

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

The vacation is almost over. Time to head to Florida and get some work done. Many items to do, but the main one is to install new fuel tanks. Ours’ are working just fine…so far. But they are aluminium and we know they have a shelf life. So while in Ft. Lauderdale, we are installing well tried custom made plastic tanks. Not looking forward to that job in Florida in July.

Headed across the banks on 13 July. 49nm from our wonderful final anchorage in the Berry Islands and we are only half way. Saw a LARGE shark on the banks today, plus a couple of good sized turtles. Rarely is it deeper than 20’ in clear, clear water. No wind today so the water is absolutely flat. HOT! Motored all day. Unheard of!

The colours of the Bahamas
The colours of the Bahamas

Anchored overnight in 20’ of blue water over white sand, no land in sight. And we are only half way across the Banks. Never ceases to amaze us how many thousands of square miles of shallow banks surround the Bahamas.

The Great Bahama Banks to Cat Cay. 14 July. The day started badly. Our nice calm anchorage became a little wild at 5am as a very large thunderstorm passed by. We decided we were bouncing around so much, that we might as well leave and use some of the wind generated to get us to the end of The Banks.

Arrived at Cat Cay. A private islands, run as a club. If you can be accepted as a member, you may be able to build or buy an exclusive property. Lots available for development are limited and when they are all assigned, that’s it. There’s a golf course, a superb marina, a very well managed little airport, Customs and Immigration services and some great restaurants. It’s a lifestyle. The whole island has been planted with palm trees and landscaped. Very tastefully done. Visitors…..unwelcome!

Anyway, it was a good calm afternoon anchorage to give us some rest before heading to across to Florida.

Cat Cay to Ft. Lauderdale. 14 Jul 15  Left at 7pm through Gun Cay Cut, into the North Atlantic, (Florida Straits) and our old friend the Gulfstream for an overnight run to Ft. Lauderdale.

The Gulfstream runs north at between 1.5 knots to 2.5 knots. Doesn’t sound much, but when you are moving north at 2 knots, sideways for 10 hours, it makes a difference. So the boat’s autopilot was set at 255⁰, to obtain a heading of 274⁰, but our actual course over ground was around 310⁰.

Many cargo ships and tankers early in the night transiting north and south east of US waters. Once again, thanks to AIS we were able to work out positions and courses. Once we were in US waters, it was very quiet.

As we came closer to the Florida coast at night, we were looking straight at Miami, with the lights of Ft. Lauderdale way to the north, but our achieved course over ground took us right there. Interesting feeling.

Anchored overnight off Ft. Lauderdale beach at 4am on 15 July, having navigated our way in by radar between anchored cargo ships.

Arriving in Nassau

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

Atlantis on Paradise Island
Atlantis on Paradise Island

A 40 mile passage across the Bahama Banks to Rose Island just outside Nassau Harbor. Depths usually around 25’ with occasional coral heads. The eastern approach to New Providence, the island on which Nassau is situated has many rocky areas and small exposed rocks and islands, plus shallow areas, so great care is required in many places. We worked our way around to the beach on the northwest side of Rose Island and it was Sunday afternoon playtime! Party boats galore. Music, jet-skis, tubing.

Nassau – 6 Jul 15  Worked our way through the various rocky hazards into busy, busy Nassau Harbour. New Providence is flat like the rest of the Bahamas. Lying along the north side of New Providence and creating Nassau’s huge natural harbour is Paradise Island on which Atlantis is situated. Atlantis is the major landmark and can be seen from miles away. We anchored at the south eastern end of the harbour and spent some time ashore. Also found out by email that our new fuel tanks are behind schedule, so no rush to get to Ft. Lauderdale.

Athol Island – 6 Jul 15  Nassau Harbour very rough, tidal and busy so headed out to Athol Island for an overnight stop.

Staniel Cay and the Northern Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay

We stayed around Staniel Cay area for three nights in different anchorages while we had an internet connection so we could catch up with email, blog etc. Thunderball Cave where the James Bond movie was filmed.

Pipe Creek - 1 July 15  We were really keen to re-visit Pipe Creek, another of our favourite places. Been there twice before in calm weather and had a wonderful time kayaking around the abundance of rocks, islands, pure white beaches and best of all, Joe Cay, a fabulous little island with a large salina inside. Shock….Horror…! We navigated into the narrow tidal channel we had used before to anchor right outside the entrance to Joe Cay’s salina. It’s now yet another private island! The salina has been cleaned of all mangrove and there’s a private marina in there. Now of all the many islands that have been purchased and developed since we were last in this area, this was one of the nicest developments. Very well done and very low key. But The Bahamas are selling off their family jewels. When will it stop.

Hawksbill Cay
Hawksbill Cay

Hawksbill Cay – 2 July 15  So, we didn’t stay very long in Pipe Creek. Headed off the following morning to Hawksbill Cay, an island in the Bahamas Land and Sea Park that we haven’t visited before. On the way we stopped at Bell Island, (yet another island developed into a private resort now) then the park headquarters at Warderick Wells.

Unfortunately the swell that’s been following us tossed us around again all night, but we did find a fabulous salina on the island, which partly made up for missing out on Joe Cay.

Exploring the mangroves
Exploring the mangroves

Shroud Cay – 3 Jul 15  Shroud Cay is amazing. Wonderful beaches all around. Dazzling water and white sand and a series of kayakable Salinas that wind their way through the island from the shallow western banks side to the beaches on the eastern Atlantic side. We have been here 3 times before and always loved it. Worked our way through the shallows to a great CALM anchorage. No swell!!!  Put our Phantom drone to work here to capture some of the colours.

Having spent the last five years in relatively deep water around volcanic islands, it takes a while to get used to sailing around in skinny water again and creeping through very shallow passages. Here we are often with full sails, at 8 knots, with only a few feet under the keel, but mostly white sand and clear water.

One thing we have noticed. When we were here in 2005 and 2006, there were many sailing boats around, but nowhere near the numbers in the BVI. Most of the sailors in The Bahamas were cruisers. We saw very few large motor yachts then. But now, ever since the recession sparked off a large motor yacht and mega yacht buying spree and charter market, the Exumas, from Staniel Cay northwards, has a large number of (probably charter) large motor yachts at every island. Worst of all, they all have a fleet of jet-skis. Private jet-skis are banned in the BVI, so we’ve seen very few around over the last 5 years. But here, they are buzzing around every anchorage like a swarm of wasps!

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma through Hog Cay Cut  

A lively sail in deep water just off the shallows of The Bight of Acklins. 16nm at an average of 8.6kts.
We remember Fish Cay and Guana Cay situated on the shallow banks in wonderfully calm water on a previous visit. Fish Cay is where you find the iguanas and Guana Cay is where you find most fish! Not calm today though. It’s been blowing over 25kts all day and having crawled through shallows between sand bars to the only anchorage here, we are bouncing around just a little.

Fish Cay, Crooked Island
Fish Cay, Crooked Island

Met by a large turtle and a lone dolphin.

The fishing lines were out again for the trip, and we followed the very deep water a mile off the drop off. Nothing!

A lively night of current versus wind and waves in our anchorage, then a morning kayak visit to Fish Cay. A beautiful beach that we first visited in 2006, with water in typically Bahamian colours, along with many very large sting rays and a nurse shark in the shallows. NO OTHER BOATS!

Landrail Point, Crooked Island

We had hoped to find internet and a SIM card at Great Inagua. There’s only one provider in the Bahamas and they were closed and the internet was down! So our best hope was a stop at Landrail Point on Crooked Island. Internet was down and the Batelco office was too far to walk, so again no communication.   NO OTHER BOATS!

We have sailed along the usual north south route on the eastern side of Long Island. It’s a long way, it’s usually rough, it’s usually at night and not something to which to look forward, so we decided to try the very skinny Hog Cay Cut between The Exumas and western Long Island. All in all a good decision. We needed to night stop on the south western side of Long Island so we could make Hog Cay on a rising tide in daylight. Another very rolly night. That swell is just following us everywhere!

Turquoise waters off Hog Cay Cut, Exumas
 Hog Cay Cut, Exumas

Hog Cay Cut

Although we have sailed various parts of the Bahamas Banks, it is always a surprise at how many thousands of square miles of banks there are. Always several shades of amazing blue. As we reached the banks south of Hog Cay, we still had another 30 miles or so to go in blue, blue water over pure white sand and hardly any land in sight. An amazing feeling with an average of 5 feet under the keel.

Hog Cay Cut is narrow and winds around between Hog Cay and Goat Cay. It is shallow. On the charts, the minimum mean depth is 3.3 feet. Dreaming On draws just under 5’. Luckily the wind, currents and tides cooperated and we saw a minimum depth of 5.2’. A good way to clean the barnacles off the keels!

From there, a very pleasant downwind sail to Georgetown, the main town in the Exumas and our major internet and email hope.

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Acklins and Crooked Island to Georgetown, Great Exuma through Hog Cay Cut  

A lively sail in deep water just off the shallows of The Bight of Acklins. 16nm at an average of 8.6kts.
We remember Fish Cay and Guana Cay situated on the shallow banks in wonderfully calm water on a previous visit. Fish Cay is where you find the iguanas and Guana Cay is where you find most fish! Not calm today though. It’s been blowing over 25kts all day and having crawled through shallows between sand bars to the only anchorage here, we are bouncing around just a little.

Fish Cay, Crooked Island
Fish Cay, Crooked Island

Met by a large turtle and a lone dolphin.

The fishing lines were out again for the trip, and we followed the very deep water a mile off the drop off. Nothing!

A lively night of current versus wind and waves in our anchorage, then a morning kayak visit to Fish Cay. A beautiful beach that we first visited in 2006, with water in typically Bahamian colours, along with many very large sting rays and a nurse shark in the shallows. NO OTHER BOATS!

Landrail Point, Crooked Island

We had hoped to find internet and a SIM card at Great Inagua. There’s only one provider in the Bahamas and they were closed and the internet was down! So our best hope was a stop at Landrail Point on Crooked Island. Internet was down and the Batelco office was too far to walk, so again no communication.   NO OTHER BOATS!

We have sailed along the usual north south route on the eastern side of Long Island. It’s a long way, it’s usually rough, it’s usually at night and not something to which to look forward, so we decided to try the very skinny Hog Cay Cut between The Exumas and western Long Island. All in all a good decision. We needed to night stop on the south western side of Long Island so we could make Hog Cay on a rising tide in daylight. Another very rolly night. That swell is just following us everywhere!

Turquoise waters off Hog Cay Cut, Exumas
 Hog Cay Cut, Exumas

Hog Cay Cut

Although we have sailed various parts of the Bahamas Banks, it is always a surprise at how many thousands of square miles of banks there are. Always several shades of amazing blue. As we reached the banks south of Hog Cay, we still had another 30 miles or so to go in blue, blue water over pure white sand and hardly any land in sight. An amazing feeling with an average of 5 feet under the keel.

Hog Cay Cut is narrow and winds around between Hog Cay and Goat Cay. It is shallow. On the charts, the minimum mean depth is 3.3 feet. Dreaming On draws just under 5’. Luckily the wind, currents and tides cooperated and we saw a minimum depth of 5.2’. A good way to clean the barnacles off the keels!

From there, a very pleasant downwind sail to Georgetown, the main town in the Exumas and our major internet and email hope.

Staniel Cay and the Northern Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay

We stayed around Staniel Cay area for three nights in different anchorages while we had an internet connection so we could catch up with email, blog etc. Thunderball Cave where the James Bond movie was filmed.

Pipe Creek - 1 July 15  We were really keen to re-visit Pipe Creek, another of our favourite places. Been there twice before in calm weather and had a wonderful time kayaking around the abundance of rocks, islands, pure white beaches and best of all, Joe Cay, a fabulous little island with a large salina inside. Shock….Horror…! We navigated into the narrow tidal channel we had used before to anchor right outside the entrance to Joe Cay’s salina. It’s now yet another private island! The salina has been cleaned of all mangrove and there’s a private marina in there. Now of all the many islands that have been purchased and developed since we were last in this area, this was one of the nicest developments. Very well done and very low key. But The Bahamas are selling off their family jewels. When will it stop.

Hawksbill Cay
Hawksbill Cay

Hawksbill Cay – 2 July 15  So, we didn’t stay very long in Pipe Creek. Headed off the following morning to Hawksbill Cay, an island in the Bahamas Land and Sea Park that we haven’t visited before. On the way we stopped at Bell Island, (yet another island developed into a private resort now) then the park headquarters at Warderick Wells.

Unfortunately the swell that’s been following us tossed us around again all night, but we did find a fabulous salina on the island, which partly made up for missing out on Joe Cay.

Exploring the mangroves
Exploring the mangroves

Shroud Cay – 3 Jul 15  Shroud Cay is amazing. Wonderful beaches all around. Dazzling water and white sand and a series of kayakable Salinas that wind their way through the island from the shallow western banks side to the beaches on the eastern Atlantic side. We have been here 3 times before and always loved it. Worked our way through the shallows to a great CALM anchorage. No swell!!!  Put our Phantom drone to work here to capture some of the colours.

Having spent the last five years in relatively deep water around volcanic islands, it takes a while to get used to sailing around in skinny water again and creeping through very shallow passages. Here we are often with full sails, at 8 knots, with only a few feet under the keel, but mostly white sand and clear water.

One thing we have noticed. When we were here in 2005 and 2006, there were many sailing boats around, but nowhere near the numbers in the BVI. Most of the sailors in The Bahamas were cruisers. We saw very few large motor yachts then. But now, ever since the recession sparked off a large motor yacht and mega yacht buying spree and charter market, the Exumas, from Staniel Cay northwards, has a large number of (probably charter) large motor yachts at every island. Worst of all, they all have a fleet of jet-skis. Private jet-skis are banned in the BVI, so we’ve seen very few around over the last 5 years. But here, they are buzzing around every anchorage like a swarm of wasps!

Passage to the Bahamas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 4th 2015

After a couple of days catching our breath after the closing of our lives in BVI and saying farewell to old cruising friends in St. Thomas, we headed off on 16 June to Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas.

The trip started well with a wonderful broad reach around the western tip of St. Thomas and then headed slightly north of west. The seas and wind were perfect as we passed north of Culebra and to the north east point of Puerto Rico. It was downhill from there!!

A feathered hitchhiker
A Feathered Hitchhiker

Lighter very variable winds and a large swell from the east slowed us right down on the main part of the journey, heading in a westerly direction, staying well north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The swell grew to the point where it was sometimes approaching the stern higher than our dinghy up on davits. Our transom and sugar scoops were pounded for three days. Each wave ran the risk of broaching. A wave would pass under the boat from the stern, and we would be almost stalled at 4 knots. Within a couple of seconds, we were often over 10 knots and on a dark night when you cannot see what’s waiting and the bottom of the roller coaster, it’s a bit if an adrenaline rush to say the least.

Now add to that some severe squalls with high wind gusts, rain and no visibility, plus the occasional thunder storm, usually at night, and you get the picture!

We had a couple of feathered visitors along the way. One small bird, yet to be identified, stopped for a break late on the first evening. On the second night we had a tropic bird trying to land on one of our kayaks fastened to the safety rails. We were bouncing around too much, so he went elsewhere.

We fished all the way. Lost leader and lure to something with really big teeth on two occasions and had one small Mahi mahi get away. Lots of fishing….No catching!  Lots of weed!

You can sail the seas and encounter no other traffic whatsoever, and then, the one large tanker or cargo ship you see wants to pass through the exact same patch of water that you want to pass through at exactly the same time….And always at night. The odds of that happening in the vastness of the ocean are millions to one, but it happens every time without fail!  This is here AIS proves its value.

Anyway, arrived almost unscathed but very tired at Great Inagua, on the southern Bahamas to clear in. After the volcanic mountainous appearance of the BVI, Great Inagua reaches the grand height of 36 feet! If you didn’t know it was there, you would pass right by. Great Inagua offers the most polite and efficient Customs and Immigration service we have come across on our travels, and they give you a lift back to the dinghy dock. Can’t beat that after 4 nights at sea!

The island is famous for its salt pans. The majority of the population of 1,000 work for the salt mining company. They produce a million plus pounds of salt a year.

Georgetown to Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 13th 2015

Georgetown is on the north shore of Great Exuma, a very large island. A mile north of Georgetown lies Stocking and Elizabeth Islands. This forms a huge natural harbor. Mostly quite shallow, so careful navigation is required. There are many pleasant anchorages.

 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay
 Beach at White Point, Great Guana Cay

Our previous visits have been in the winter, peak sailing time when there are probably 400 boats here. This visit, there were probably 20 boats.

Read a story in a magazine when we first started sailing the Bahamas about a couple who had been put off visiting Georgetown for re-provisioning for a number of years as they were nervous about the navigation challenges into the harbour. Finally they got up the courage to give it a go. Having successfully navigated through the shoals, they expected to be one of the few brave folk to have made it. Turned the last corner to find 400 plus boats had beaten them to it!

Georgetown is an annual pilgrimage for many sailors as the social life here is passed on from year to year. For many, it’s as far as they ever go. For other more adventurous souls it’s a re-provisioning stop en-route to discover the beautiful islands of the remote Bahamas. We last visited in 2005. Not much has changed in the town, but there has been a real growth in fancy vacation homes.

We found internet, but still no SIM cards. It’s Saturday and Batelco is closed…Again!

With most of the Exumas, you have the choice of sailing up the east side in deep Atlantic waters, where there are supposed to fish to catch!, or on the west side along the shallow banks. We sailed downwind from Georgetown, very leisurely along the Atlantic side, then entered the banks at Rudder Cay Cut, around the southern tip of Rudder Cut Cay to find an anchorage on the protected west side. There are a number of bays and also a completely enclosed natural harbour. The island may be owned by the owner of neighbouring Musha Cay, (David Copperfield, the illusionist, we believe), but there does not appear to be any development. NO OTHER BOATS!

Another few hours of playing with the tide. Going north close to the western shoreline of Rudder Cut Cay, then Musha Cay, then Cave Cay, (Johnny Depp?), there were many shoals, not all of which we expected to be charted correctly as they shift over time. Sure enough, the channels weren’t all where they were supposed to be and we found some seriously shallow areas.

Once north of Cave Cay and further west on to the Banks, it was much clearer, as we headed well clear of the western shoreline of Great Guana Cay. We have passed this very long thin island, mostly undeveloped island a number of times and it was always appealing. White beaches everywhere. So we finally managed to stop there for a few hours just north of White Point. Wonderful beach and SPECTACULAR warm blue water over clear white sand. Brought Dreaming On in as close as we dared, but still quite a way out with barely 6” under the keel and kayaked to the beach. Could have probably walked. NO OTHER BOATS!

So after an enjoyable couple of hours there, we moved north again over the Banks to Harvey Cay, just outside Staniel Cay. The idea being to anchor at Harvey Cay overnight, then move in the following morning to anchor off Staniel Cay, a busy little place in the peak winter period for boaters, and hope for internet and a SIM card.

 

Staniel Cay and the Northern Exumas

Posted By: Geoff & Iza Prower on July 21st 2015

Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay

We stayed around Staniel Cay area for three nights in different anchorages while we had an internet connection so we could catch up with email, blog etc. Thunderball Cave where the James Bond movie was filmed.

Pipe Creek - 1 July 15  We were really keen to re-visit Pipe Creek, another of our favourite places. Been there twice before in calm weather and had a wonderful time kayaking around the abundance of rocks, islands, pure white beaches and best of all, Joe Cay, a fabulous little island with a large salina inside. Shock….Horror…! We navigated into the narrow tidal channel we had used before to anchor right outside the entrance to Joe Cay’s salina. It’s now yet another private island! The salina has been cleaned of all mangrove and there’s a private marina in there. Now of all the many islands that have been purchased and developed since we were last in this area, this was one of the nicest developments. Very well done and very low key. But The Bahamas are selling off their family jewels. When will it stop.

Hawksbill Cay
Hawksbill Cay

Hawksbill Cay – 2 July 15  So, we didn’t stay very long in Pipe Creek. Headed off the following morning to Hawksbill Cay, an island in the Bahamas Land and Sea Park that we haven’t visited before. On the way we stopped at Bell Island, (yet another island developed into a private resort now) then the park headquarters at Warderick Wells.

Unfortunately the swell that’s been following us tossed us around again all night, but we did find a fabulous salina on the island, which partly made up for missing out on Joe Cay.

Exploring the mangroves
Exploring the mangroves

Shroud Cay – 3 Jul 15  Shroud Cay is amazing. Wonderful beaches all around. Dazzling water and white sand and a series of kayakable Salinas that wind their way through the island from the shallow western banks side to the beaches on the eastern Atlantic side. We have been here 3 times before and always loved it. Worked our way through the shallows to a great CALM anchorage. No swell!!!  Put our Phantom drone to work here to capture some of the colours.

Having spent the last five years in relatively deep water around volcanic islands, it takes a while to get used to sailing around in skinny water again and creeping through very shallow passages. Here we are often with full sails, at 8 knots, with only a few feet under the keel, but mostly white sand and clear water.

One thing we have noticed. When we were here in 2005 and 2006, there were many sailing boats around, but nowhere near the numbers in the BVI. Most of the sailors in The Bahamas were cruisers. We saw very few large motor yachts then. But now, ever since the recession sparked off a large motor yacht and mega yacht buying spree and charter market, the Exumas, from Staniel Cay northwards, has a large number of (probably charter) large motor yachts at every island. Worst of all, they all have a fleet of jet-skis. Private jet-skis are banned in the BVI, so we’ve seen very few around over the last 5 years. But here, they are buzzing around every anchorage like a swarm of wasps!