Relics of Another Era
25 January 2009
Our next destination is a short hop from Highborne Cay to Normans Cay. While it is only one set of Cays to the south and probably five miles as the crow flies, we can't fly like a crow and have to take a much more circuitous route which brings us west out beyond sand bores and then back in. But, it's still a very short twelve or so miles some of which we are able to sail.
In addition to being very pretty, Normans Cay is a place of considerable infamy. Let me quote from my cruising guide, "Norman's Cay won fame, or rather infamy, as the base o the Columbian drug runner Carlos Leder during the bad day of Bahamian drug trading. The end result before the Leder barony was brought to an end was a tally of unproven murders (when cruising boaters came too close to the Leder operation); a ruined development(once the heart of Leder land)on the south tip of Normans Cay with a dock falling into deterioration; the remains of a "Berlin" wall, which once guarded the northern boundary of Leder's territory, a runway; a ditched aircraft in the southern anchorage; and an evil feel to the whole place".
We anchor on the west side, again in the company of quite a few cruisers. There is a restaurant and two guest houses on Norman's Cay and the airstrip is once again used for small pleasure aircraft. We agree to join several of our cruising buddies ashore later in the afternoon for happy hour.
When we had visited Norman's Cay with our friends Ann and Harold ten years ago, the bar, then and still called MacDuff's was simply a tiki hut with stools but now it has been added on to and is quite nice. It is operated by a young couple and we wish them luck as they would be weathering the same global challenges in the tourism/hospitality industry but accentuated by the additional challenges of inaccessibility, transportation costs, product availability and we're sure a host of others. Nonetheless, we spend a very pleasant time there with a good group of fellow cruisers.
One, in particular, is an interesting guy named Mark on board Nattie M. Nattie M is a classic C&C Corvette. For those of you who know the model it is considered one of the "classic plastic" boats marking the beginning of the fibreglass era and, along with the C&C Redwing, a couple of the early successes of the Caissen/Cuthbert son (C&C) team who designed and built so many great cruiser/racers. Mark singlehands this fine but small boat and often gets to the destination before us. He has shoal draft and can work his way through passages that we would no want to bring Sea Sharp. He's an interesting and engaging guy and is working his way down the Caribbean. We wish him well.
Tonight it's a bit less rolly and we sleep well. Our destination tomorrow: Warderick Wells in Exuma Land and Sea Park.