30 January 2011 | Great Harbour Cay Marina, Berry Islands
Great Harbour Cay is not very big, none of the Berry Islands are. Bud and I rode our bikes over to what passes for a town here, across the causeway to Bullocks Harbour Cay. We passed two churches, a police station, a small park and a couple of dozen houses until we came to the small grocery (hours 8 - 8 M - Sat.; 7:30 - 11:30 Sun.). It was just after noon, so no groceries today. Anyway, this marina has nice docks, but as I described yesterday, it's a long way in across shallow flats. The island does get a mail boat once a week and something AIS identified as a cargo vessel (draft 6.5 feet) came in while we were still at the other anchorage. There is also a small airport here. Most of the boats in the marina are sport-fishing boats, and the condos that surround the marina seem to belong to sport fishermen.
So Bud and I were surprised this morning when a US Navy boat came in. It's a small boat, about 45 feet and is from the US Navy AUTEC Base on Andros Island. None of the crew were in uniform. Bud asked what AUTEC meant and was told it was American Underwater Testing "something, something". His theory, seeing the crew in civvies is that it's a CIA thing. My theory is that it's a group on a weekend pass, and this is the only place they could get. Still, it looks like they would have had to come about 80 miles to get here, and like I said, there's not much here to get to. So the navy boat remains a mystery to us.
Then, this afternoon at about 4:30 another boat pulled in. This is a huge power yacht. I had taken a picture of the marina earlier, and I went back and took a second picture from almost the same perspective after Casuarina arrived. She completely fills the one long dock. Check it out in the gallery. She is flying a yellow quarantine flag, so this is her first stop in the Bahamas. I don't recognize the national flag on the back. It's amazing to us that such a huge boat could and would cross those flats to get here. It would be less unexpected if the weather was bad, as this is one of the most protected harbors in the Bahamas, but we're not sure what else is the draw. Casuarina is 80 to 100 feet long. I'm not sure what her draft is, but she did come in at close to high tide. Everyone is staying on the boat, as is required until they've cleared customs, but I have a feeling that everyone may still stay on the boat, as it has far more luxuries than this little place.
We talked to a couple of the sport fishermen. They asked us how long we were staying. We explained our anchor dilemma and that we were staying until we figured out how to get a bigger, better anchor. They told us about a couple that anchored around here and came in for lunch. They stayed at anchor overnight and the boat ended up on the beach. They said it completely broke up and they thought the hull was still out there. That makes me feel less like a wimp in deciding that we need a better anchor to go on. I wonder if that couple was on their boat when it drifted aground, and if so, why they didn't start the engine, pull up the anchor and leave when it started to drift. That's what we were prepared to do the other night. We had everything laid out so that if the boat started to move we could head back out to open water. I'm just glad we didn't have to.
Meanwhile, we're finally having our surf and turf. I hooked up our grill and Bud is inaugurating it by grilling a steak, the four little lobster tails and some bread. That along with baked potatoes and freshly made coleslaw will make for a very nice dinner.
P.S. We ended up eating only the surf part. Turns out the four little lobster tails were quite sufficient for two people; and very good, too. The steak will make a nice stir-fry for another day.