April 23, 2012. What pleasant surprise is Harbour Island! We had expected much more of a touristy, commercialized island, but are glad to see that's not the case. Of course, the homes along the harbor and ocean sides are fabulous, but as soon as you pass the waterfront, the island has much more of a Bahamian feel. It's a nice mix of resorts for a bit of pampering and non-native food (caesar salad with blackened shrimp - yum!), a few little shops, good provisioning and restocking of rum, beautiful pink beaches, along side the real Bahamas and the feel of a Bahamian fishing village. The homes in the old part of town are charming, brightly painted buildings with loads of flowers...gorgeous. Lots of history too. However, the harbor waterfront north of the government dock definitely has the native feel with fishing docks, Bahamian food, etc. It's a great mix.
The best way to get around is to rent a golf cart, which we did, and just tour every street possible. We even went to both ends of the island, off the map, and onto the sand paths. At the north end, we even ran out of sand path and had to walk to the water, but the view was well worth it. At the end of the day, we found the fig tree by the beach where they were preparing for the party to benefit the regatta activities during Junkanoo. Since I (Jeri) couldn't remember trying conch salad, that was top of my list. Not only did we try it, we (the Jeri part of the we) got a lesson in cleaning conch (definitely not Ingo's thing) and making the salad. Fabulous! We also met two pilots from Texas with whom we shared the experience. Very fun!
The last two days we've spent on the boat riding out the front in sustained 20-30 knot winds. Hopefully this evening we'll be able to get off the boat since we have reservations at the Blu Bungalow, a lovely little restaurant in town.
As for the next step, we're not sure. We plan to be in Nassau by May 2 to pick up Peter and Chris for the passage back o the Chesapeake. Until then...life is good!
April 4, 2012. Although the air was very light, we decided to haul up the anchor and head to Rock Sound on Eleuthera. Good sheltered harbor to wait out a front with 20-30 kt winds predicted. Good place to provision...wine is gone, need fresh veggies and they have a wonderful supermarket (really, a supermarket!)
However, on trip over, the AC panel went blank even though the generator was running and producing power. Diagnosing time again...
Rock Sound was a pleasant surprise. The harbor was filled with cruising boats, many of whom we had met along the way. We met up with Dee and Pete from Wind Lass for lunch at Sammie's for the absolute best cracked conch in the Bahamas! In addition, the week before Easter is homecoming for Rock Sound where members of the community who have left the island for various reasons return and party. Good food, music, games, etc. The best was watching the sculling competition, which is a bit different than what we see along Boathouse Row in Philadelphia. Bahamian sculling involves one person in a skiff with an oar in a lot on the stern, and a goal of moving the boat on a race course to a turning point and pack again, maybe a total of 200 feet. It's much more difficult than it looks, no doubt! The winner then moves on to the national competition, so it's a serious competition.
On Easter Sunday, we went to services at St. Luke's Anglican Church for a lovely (but very long) celebration, led by a very animated, personable priest. The best part occurred towards the end of the service when about 100 children, including all of the cruising kids, went up front to the sanctuary and sang. Their reward...Easter candy bags! Very enjoyable seeing all those kids together.
After church we decided to walk to the Atlantic side of the island to walk the beach and see if Rosie might be open for lunch. Everyone kept telling us that we needed to go to Rosie's. Along the way, a car stopped us and the driver said, "Get in." Lo and behold, it was Rosie! She gave us a lift, led us into the restaurant, fixed us a drink and went to change her clothes from her Easter finery before preparing lunch for us. What a lovely woman! The amusing part was looking at her table of shells, driftwood, beach glass, etc that friends have left her and finding a large piece of driftwood signed by Joe and Carole on Just Ducky, whom we've known for years from the Bay. It's a small world!
Alabaster Bay just north of Governor's Harbor is a stunning by with a long pristine white sand beach. What a lovely spot to enjoy a beautiful sunset dinner at Cocodimama's, a beachside restaurant at the small Italian resort. We enjoyed the area so much that we stayed two days, before heading northward to the Glass Window. When the megayacht, Ohana pulled into the anchorage, unloaded the jet skis and canopy on the beach, and set up the inflatable slide from the upper level of the yacht, we knew it was time to depart!
The Glass Window was quite interesting...a very narrow part of the island where waves have broken through so you can see the Atlantic Ocean from the western banks side of the island. In the 1990's a rogue wave came through, so powerful that it actually moved the manmade bridge about 7 feet and required the bridge to be rebuilt to access the southern part of the island. We anchored just south of the bridge in about 10 feet of water so clear that you could see every ripple of sand on the bottom. Beautiful!
The next day we motored through Current Cut, a narrow cut in the island where the current can be quite strong, and then on to Spanish Wells. The entrance into Spanish Wells was a bit dicey, to say the least. Apparently, a stake marking the entrance and shallow water was missing. As we made our approach, two boat were coming out, a wide catamaran and a monohull. The monohull realized that they were approaching the shallow water in time to avoid it but not in time to allow us room to miss it. As a result, we were hard aground. Not even a minute passed when several small power boaters came to our rescue to attempt to pull us off. After many tries, using the bow thrusters and Ingo working the boat back and forth, we were finally free. However, the most disconcerting part was the pilot boat for the megayacht Ohana (same one from Alabaster Bay) who kept yelling for us to get out of the way. Like we really wanted to be aground on the edge of the channel? Arrogant Ohana just kept on coming and ended up about a boat length from our stern when we finally got off the reef. Not very comfortable or professional on their part!
April 12, 2012. Arrived in Spanish Wells to ride out another front coming through over the weekend after a lovely, meandering trip from Rock Sound to Governor's Harbor, then on to Alabaster Bay, the "glass window" and into Spanish Wells. Since the generator was still acting up, Spanish Wells was the best place to have Ingo's diagnosis confirmed and receive a new main circuit breaker from the States. Luckily, it was covered under warranty and the Westerbeke supplier could ship it by FedEx overnight. Unfortunately, it shipped to the Bahamas! The part arrived in Nassau overnight, but missed the ferry to Spanish Wells in Friday morning, the ferry was chartered for a charity event on Sat. so no delivery, no ferry on Sun., FedEx missed the ferry departure early Mon morning, and again on Tues. because they thought the part was being held for pick-up in Nassau. Finally, they got it straight, got the part on the ferry and it arrived on Wed, was installed by Mr. Charlie Pinder and all was well. It's the Bahamas, mon! In addition, Mr. Pinder helped Ingo remount the rudder control for the autopilot which was loose and not communicating with the rudder properly.
So, what do you do for a week in Spanish Wells? First, it's a dry town populated by charming, warm, hard-working people...glad we provisioned with another case of wine and some coconut rum in Governor's Harbour. It almost doesn't feel Bahamian, certainly not like the Exumas. The town was populated mostly by anti- slavery Loyalists in the 17th century so the population is primarily white with a unique accent, sort of British. There are several main families, but about 70% of the people are Pinders. As explained to me by a local, if you live in Spanish Wells, chances are that you either were a Pinder, are a Pinder or will be a Pinder!
Staying at Spanish Wells Yacht Haven was perfect. We met Dennis and Bettye from Miss Bettye who are friends of Barefootin' and enroute to the wedding in the Abacos. Then, Terry and Carol from Australia on Common Sense arrived, so we had several lovely happy hours with some very interesting conversations and lots of laughter. Also, bumped into Steve and Amanda from Diana in town. Steve finally got his conch horn!
Walking around town was the best...beautiful pink sand beaches on the west end of the island, lovely little shops (bought Androsia-like fabric), extremely friendly people, great shell shop for gifts, and visited the quilting shed where several local women have their quilt frame and quilt all day long. Unfortunately, I missed visiting the museum, but it's always good to leave something for the next time.
April 19, 2012. Left Spanish Wells for Harbour Island, and, as highly recommended by the locals, we have a pilot on board who is driving the boat across the Devil's Backbone which is an area on the north side is Spanish Wells that is littered with reefs and coral heads.
March 24, 2012. Fabulous sail to Conception, following Onward. Odysseus organized a beach party, joined by 4 Italian men in Speedos on their way to Nassau on a Halberg Rassey. Very fun. Too bad the weather was changing with heavy westerlies. West Bay, open to the ocean on the west, is a bad place to be so we only had one night in this undisturbed paradise. Pristine beaches, tropicbirds, sea turtles...just lovely. Conception is a no-take land and sea park protected by the Bahamas Trust. Next time we'll stay longer. However, before we left, Joe took us on a dinghy tour through the selene, a low lying area with mangroves and lots of fish, rays, turtles, etc. Too bad there wasn't enough time to snorkel...next time! It was a bit dicey getting through the rocky entrance...definitely need to do it on a rising tide close to high.
March 25 - 31, 2012. Had another fabulous 40 mile sail from Conception to Cat Island. Ingo evaluated our diesel consumption and it's way down. Dinghy gas is another story since that's our "car" to get around. Gas is $6.93/gal...ugh!
Anchored in Old Bight to ride out the S to SW to W, and then moved to New Bight for the N to NE to E change. New Bight is the location of Father Jerome's hermitage on the highest point in the Bahamas, 206 ft. He built numerous churches throughout the islands, before building the Hermitage by himself where he retired and died in the early 1950s. On the climb up the hill, he build the 12 stations of the cross...all very beautiful and inspiring. Gorgeous views of the Atlantic and Exuma Sound. Preceding the visit, we stopped at the Bluebird Restaurant for a lunch of typical island cooking and a few cold Kaliks. Spicy chicken, peas and rice, cole slaw and potato salad. I swear everything had hot sauce in it!
High winds...haircut day and boat chores. Dinner on Ladyhawke with Joe.
Friends of Joe's, Laureen and Miles, on Ariel, an Aerodyne 47, arrived and rented a car for a tour of the island. Lunch at Fernandez Bay Resort, a "safari ride" to an Atlantic beach, and a rare find...the elusive hamburger bean on the beach. A successful day! Dinner onboard Onward with Ariel.
Spent another night at Old Bight to do some Working Words work and redo the anchor rode so the chain doesn't bunch up when hauling it in. Ariel and Onward made the trek north to Fernandez Bay...6 miles, with Ladyhawke following the next day. Lovely area, another selene for exploring, bit of snorkeling, found a beautiful sea biscuit and tulip snail. Sadly, the tulip snail had an inhabitant so back in the water it went. Lobster and filet with fresh asparagus and ice cream for dessert at the resort that evening with Onward and Ariel.
April 1, 2012. Sadly, said goodbye to Joe, Miles and Laureen at dinner the night before (change of plans...no potluck.) Lovely hostess and chef, Kathy, (helicopter pilot in previous life who fell in love with Fernandez Bay and Cat Island and decided to stay) at the Island Hoppinn. So glad we could experience her heavenly lobster bisque and delightful 9 year old daughter, Alyssa. She reminded us of Sarah at her age. Very polite and industrious. She makes jewelry, so, of course I had to buy some. She also did an acrobatic demonstration and showed us the Junkanoo costume she made, along with shell sculptures. Great evening and a "restaurant" not to be missed in Fernandez Bay.
Today, sailing to Little San Salvador which is now called Half Moon Cay, a private island owned by Carnival Cruise Line. Hope we miss the cruise ships!
April 2-3, 2012. Well,that was wishful thinking! Each day a honkin' big cruise ship arrived in the early morning, herded the "cattle" onto ferries to the shore so the passengers could grab a day of fun on the sun on shore, herded them back and the ships were gone by late afternoon. What an operation! Thousands of people on the little island...horseback riding, parasailing (by 7:30 am!), snorkeling, jet skiing...and then suddenly gone. It was a sight to behold! We were anchored in the northwest corner of the bay, fortunately out of the way.
March 10, 2012. Heading to GeorgeTown to pickup Sarah...very excited.
March 10-16, 2012. Wonderful week in GeorgeTown with Sarah. Fun to reminisce with her. Rake and scrape at Eddie's Edgewater one night (great cracked lobster!), dinner at St. Francis Resort, shopping in town, little sunbathing on the beach, etc. good relaxing springbreak for her. Homemade pizza on Onward. Joe is quite the cook. Love his pepper biscotti and almond, fruit biscotti.
March 17, 2012. Cruisers' rally to Long Island. 33 boats!
March 18-22, 2012. Departed Long Island after a wonder visit beginning with a cruisers' rally from George Town to Thompson Bay nest Salt Pond, Long Island. Fun race...Ladyhawke took 2nd after Sea Star, an IP 440 (oh, horrors!) in our class and 2nd on elapsed time after French Kiss, Beneteau 50. Great cruisers' luncheon at Tryphena's Thompson Bay Yacht Club and awards dinner dance at Long Island Breeze, with Rockne' Ron from Sea Dancer as the DJ/MC. Very fun! We tip our hats to Ron and Karen for all the hard work organizing the regatta and parties. They do an incredible job!
Spent two days with Joe from Onward and Jill from Earendil, another Norseman 447, driving all over the island. The southern tour took us to the most southern point, then some trail-blazing,or so it seemed, over some very rough terrain, aka dirt roads, to find Little Harbor on the Atlantic coast, climbed the Catholic Church tower in Clarencetown for a great view, late lunch/ early dinner at Rowdy Boys ( name doesn't do it justice..lovely little resort) and a climb around Dean's Blue Hole ( 602 ft deep and agree dive training area). The church tower was amazing...Circular stairs and then three ladders with a top opening so small the Ingo couldn't get through!
The next day was the northern tour, with a stop at Stella Maris Marina, a short walk to Adderly Plantation ruins, lunch and rum punches at Stella Maris Resort and a platting lesson from bartender Sue. The afternoon took us to the very northern end of Queen's Highway and then back in time for a lovely dinner at Chez Pierre. Chez Pierre is a very unpretentious bungalow on the beach at Miller's Bay with a marvelous French chef, honor bar and totally unexpected find on Long Island, let alone, the Bahamas.
Unfortunately, Bud and Jill from Earindil couldn't join us for dinner. Bud had flipped his dinghy, very lucky to only have a few scrapes, but had to get the engine desalted and back in running condition. There's a safety lesson there for all of us. He didn't have a bracelet on for the kill switch and accidentally hit the throttle, falling off the stern. And nearly getting run over by his own dinghy...very near catastrophe.
March 23, 2012. Headed to the north tip of Long Island, Calabash Bay to see the Columbus Monument and spend the night before heading to Conception. Fabulous broad reach with the staysail,15-20 knots, moving at 6.5-7 knots, doesn't get much better than this! Sadly, French Kiss, who we were meeting there along with Onward, had electronics problems and returned to GeorgeTown this morning. We'll enjoy Joe's company alone.
Took dinghy to see the Columbus Monument...rugged outside with lots of swells but well worth the view. Huge eroded white cliffs, waves splashing onshore...beautiful! On the way, we scared the ink out of a squid! Really! A surprise for us and the squid...it left a huge trail of ink as it launched itself and flew about 20 feet across the water in the air. Just amazing!
February 20, 2012. Another "arduous" trek, mostly motoring though, to Sampson Cay about 10 miles away. Ingo promised me a dinner out, and he delivered...a ridiculously expensive shrimp dinner but no dishes to clean up! (I can't say that I'm enjoying making 3 meals a day.) This is a new place for us, and a good place to anchor while a mild front passed through. Although the anchorage is open to the west, by the time we got the hook down, the wind clocked to the north west and on to the north. Then, this huge motor yacht, probably 90 ft long, blows his horn and yells at the anchored boats that they aren't allowed to anchor here, even though the charts show 2 designated anchorages in this vicinity and there was a clear fairway behind us for him to enter the marina. So, instead, he proceeded to wind his way through the anchorage. Just because he's big, doesn't give him rights! This is the second negative experience with big, bossy motor yachts.
February 21, 2012. We woke to a lovely cool, dry breeze that the front delivered. Life is good...still! What a great day for chores and laundry...or whatever... Ingo had a productive morning doing necessary maintenance on the dinghy engine and fixing a leak on the watermaker while I did some paying work to help our cruising kitty. Then it was my turn for chores...laundry. However, Ingo said he will help me with laundry any day, especially since he could sit at the bar and chat with Wellington, a very charming (and cute) Bahamian bartender, through the afternoon. Hopefully the boat will arrive tomorrow to replenish supplies though. No Kalik, no beer other than Guinness. No onions, no tomatoes, no limes (I grabbed the last few yesterday). Gotta wait for da boat, maybe tomorrow. Now I really feel like I'm in the Exumas!
February 22, 2012. Still no supply boat...however, Jane and Irv on Karaya came into Sampson, so they joined us for lunch and came out to Ladyhawke for happy hour. What a nice surprise to see them again. One of the wonderful things about cruising...you never know when you'll cross paths again and it's such fun when it happens.
February 23, 2012. Moved the boat a short distance to Big Majors Spot, just across from Fowl Cay Resort where we were lucky enough to get dinner reservations for that evening. Had to call several days in advance, but it sure was worth it! A very special resort...only $17,000/week for a 3-bedroom villa! Of course, that includes your own Boston Whaler to cruise around. Glad we were staying on Ladyhawke.
February 24-27, 2012. Ugh, Ingo lost his wallet! Fortunately, he didn't have much cash, but did lose credit cards, health cards, and driver's license...and the leather wallet from Mallorca! Glad that Sarah will be joining us soon to bring replacement credit cards and that Jeri has a back-up credit card. What a bother.
VERY poor internet connectivity from Big Majors so we took the dinghy into Staniel to do some admin stuff. Ingo even tried to raise the range extender up the mast, but to no avail. The fun part of the day was taking the dinghy to the beach at Big Majors Spot to feed the pigs. Yes, pigs do...swim!
Since we couldn't get to shore without getting wet for several days as the front passed through, we stayed onboard to do some chores. Jeri did some repair work, restitching some of the dodger panels that are tearing at the seams and mending the dinghy spray curtain. (We're not happy with the canvas work from Canvas Creations this time, although the bimini is holding up fine.) It's nice having the sewing machine along. Ingo replaced a screw on the hard dodger. Not bad for two days of work! (Just kidding...got lots of other things done too.)
Lovely sunsets, relaxing days. Very surprised at all the mega yachts in the anchorage. Many more than we remember from 12 years ago. So there's a problem with the economy??? The most disturbing thing, thought, are the darn underwater lights that radiate out several boat lengths from each boat at night. Last night we even saw two large sailboats with the underwater lights...power boats, yes, but sailboats??
February 28, 2012 Happy Birthday, Ingo! Still at Staniel. We're looking forward to a nice meal at Little Farmers Cay tomorrow to celebrate the big 7 OH! At his request, Jeri is baking bread for him instead of a cake. Ingo definitely loves his bread! Took the dinghy into Staniel for lunch and more computer access to send Jeri's work and check up on bank accounts. Shrimp scampi for dinner at Ingo's request.
Feb. 29 - March 7, 2012. Time flies when you're having fun! On the 29th we motor-sailed to Little Farmers Cay on the Exuma Bank side of the island chain, arriving in time for high tide to safely pass south of the cay and then enter the beautiful sheltered area between LittleFarmers, Big Farmers and Great Guana Cay. We picked up an Ocean Cabin mooring along Great Guana in a narrow passage with enough depth. After getting settled, Jeri immediately snorkeled over to the beach, having spotted several conch shells on the beach. Great success! She found a whole bucketful of small, gorgeous conch shells, but, unfortunately, none large enough to make a horn. Also found a huge West Indian Top Snail shell and delighted in walking the beaches.
Dinner was at Ocean Cabin, an absolute delight, hosted/owned by Terry Bain and his wife Earnestine. He is a very proud Bahamian, articulate, well-read and travelled, and strong political/environmental activist trying to preserve the islands from unplanned development. Sadly, the corruption in the government and greasing palms by wealthy developers is prevalent. For example, uncontrolled development of Bell Island by Agakahn, an island that is within the boundaries of the Exuma Land and Sea Park, held by the Bahamian Trust.
As for dinner, they were out of the normal size lobster tails so we were forced to get the 14oz tails. Unbelievably scrumptious! We dined with new friends, John and Jane from Explorer II, a Booth Bay Explorer 58 from Easton, MD. (shared a secret...deep water all the way up the Tred Avon to Easton!) So good that Jeri had to go back the next night for a repeat performance! The next night, we met Ross and Rosemary from Sundance V, Dan and Kathy from Sea Star, and Jessie and Robin on Robinsong. We spent the next day walking around the island, a very short walk, but discovered J R wood Carving shop where Jeri bought a horse conch shell, already made into a horn. And, J R gave lessons on blowing it. Charming man well known in the islands for his carvings using wild tamarind wood.
Experiencing a new place was wonderful. Next stop was a very protected pond in I the middle of Rudder Cay where we spent two windy days with Sea Star in great protection. Robinsong joined us the next day. Although the island is private and several feral? dogs guarded the shore (barked a lot with wagging tails), it looked abandoned, so we went ashore several times to walk the beaches. Jeri found several shells and hamburger beans, which are from a specific tree that only grows in Brazil. The quintessential cruiser's beach combing treasure!
Next stop was Emerald Bay Marina, part of Sandals Resort, to ride out a big blow, reported by Chris Parker as the major weather event of the season. Ugh! The boat is surrounded by a spiderweb of lines, holding the boat to the dock, as we sit through steady 30-35 kt winds. The good part is being able to get off the boat,free laundry, liquor store nearby,and really wonderful cruisers stuck in the same situation. Last evening, Sandals provided a cash bar and everyone brought something to share...great party! We met friends of Joe Rocchio's, Arnon and Nancy from Vision Quest and Chuck and Jeanie from Fräulein. Happy hour tonight on Vision Quest. Sad to learn that they are heading north while we are heading to GeorgeTown. Friendships are so fleetingbut we hope to reconnect with them since their homeport is Annapolis.
February 13, 2012. We made it to the Exumas! Long day sailing from West Bay to Norman Cay. Successfully started up the watermaker after a bit of panic and operator error. So far so good...300 ppm TDS...not bad for a RO membrane that was pickled for 7 years! Wind was supposed to be NE,changing to easterly tomorrow, so today was the better day for sailing. Mother Nature got a jump on the prediction so we had upwind sailing to start, moderating to a more pleasant close reach. Water is turquoise, quiet anchorage with protection from the east, looks like a pleasant evening. Life is good!
February 14, 2012. Valentine's Day dinner at Norman's Cay Beach Club! Cheeseburger from Paradise, of course. Sadly though, we learned that, although Jimmy Buffett did enjoy a cheeseburger there, their burger didn't necessarily inspire the song. He has enjoyed many cheeseburgers in paradise in many locations. And, they are under new management, hence, the new name. McDuffs is still on the entrance sign though.
February 15, 2012. Beautiful sail to Warderick Wells. Bit of excitement as we followed a large French catamaran into the mooring field who proceeded to pick up our assigned mooring right in front of us. With a bit of dancing and and explaining that they needed to get a mooring assigned through the Exuma Land and Sea Park, we picked up the mooring (next time, remember to set up the bridle in advance!) and settled down to a nice lunch, desalting the boat and a glass of wine. Sunshades are awesome! We're not moving for several days!
February 16, 2012. We woke to another lovely day, sunny but a bit less wind. Time to set up the dinghy and head into shore to register. Darcy, the mooring coordinator, told us that the French cat left without paying for their mooring, so she sent the park warden out after them to collect. No messing with Darcy!
We're slowly getting the hang of living on the boat and the daily routine of running the generator, rinsing sandy, salty feet and showering on deck (love it!), going to bed earlier than usual (must be the fresh air and sun) and getting up whenever! Well, Jeri, at least. Ingo gets up every morning to listen to Chris Parker's weather at 6:30am. I'd rather just read his email!
After catching up on email and sending an assessment, we took the mandatory walk to Boo Boo Hill to check out the driftwood offerings to the souls lost in a local shipwreck many years ago. It's the highest hill around...and the only place to get cellphone reception. It sure was nice hearing Sarah's voice and comforting to know she's busy with work and school, but ok.
Had a lovely turkey tenderloin and brussel sprouts for dinner. Then went to bed with a bad feeling that the charger wasn't working properly. Time for mister-fixit again!
February 17, 2012. Ingo, up early, jumped right into checking out the charger and found that both the engine and generator are charging the batteries, which is wonderful news. However, he's not happy that the batteries not charging deeply enough. Oh, dear!
Spent the day exploring and snorkeling around Emerald Rock (not great). The drift dive at the pass between the north anchorage and the Emerald Rock area was wonderful. Nice light current to drift, great abundance of fish, hard coral and soft coral. Sadly, some of the hard coral is showing evidence of bleaching. Global warming? Finally saw my favorite...a parrot fish...and a small ray gliding across the bottom. Lovely to watch the soft coral fans and fingers waving in the current, especially in the glimmering sunlight.
Happy hour was enjoyed on Fiscal Stray (Tod and Anne), along with Elusive (Tomand Kate) and Karaya (Jane and Irv). Hope we cross paths again...great fun!
February 18, 2012. Can't stay in one place too long, so we dropped the mooring and headed on the long trek to Cambridge Cay, the southern part of the park. Just beautiful. Nice 10-mi sail down Exuma Sound. Again, we picked up a park mooring, which did not exist on our previous visit, and proceeded to do some exploring. We took a walk from Honeymoon Beach, across the island to the beach at Conch Cut. Thanks to cruiser volunteers, the park paths are well maintained. Although it was Sat. night, we passed on the long dinghy ride to the beach for happy hour. I think we both felt like party poopers when we saw every dinghy in the anchorage head out, but we rally we're pooped! (And had just returned from that area.). Also getting a bit more cautious as we age...don't like long dinghy rides at night after drinking and in unfamiliar waters.
February 19, 2012. Another wonderful day in paradise! Snorkeled the Sea Aquarium which is aptly named. It really is just like snorkeling in a tank filled with tropical fish, but without the tank. Close by is another snorkeling area with a dinghy tie-up...downed airplane is actually the mooring block. The plane is inverted with numerous corals growing on the fuselage and fish milling about. Beautiful coral heads close by too. Thank goodness for Ingo's patience waiting in the dinghy. He hasn't been able to find a mask that fits, especially with a beard, so his snorkeling experiences haven't been very enjoyable.
Also walked over to Bell Rock and 'hiked' up the hillside to the highest peak on Cambridge Cay...all of 75ft! Fantastic view, but still very poor cellphone connectivity. (Should be much better in Staniel since they have the closest Batelco tower.)
Back on the boat, we planned to enjoy a quiet dinner, when a mega yacht (must have been about 65 ft) picked up the mooring right in front of us. Between the music, two jet skis buzzing around, and awful, garrish purple and white deck lights and blue underwater lights that practically lit up the entire anchorage, the mood was definitely destroyed. Time to move on!