La Aventura with Patti & James

06 July 2018 | Faial Island –Atlantic Portugal
24 June 2018 | National Holiday day in Faial
22 June 2018 | afternoon whale watching boat trip
20 June 2018 | an enjoyable day trip to another island.
19 June 2018 | Fabulous Faial. – Azorean Island
18 June 2018 | Faial Island – Horta Harbour - Mid Atlantic
29 May 2018 | Mid Atlantic - in the middle of nowhere
26 May 2018 | the cruising yachtsman’s haven
25 May 2018 | party day in Hamilton
10 May 2018 | Vero Beach/Ft Pierce –road trip to Jacksonville.
12 April 2018 | Vibeke onboard
17 March 2018 | lovely to return to Belize and Mexico and meet up with sailing friends along the way
24 January 2018 | I have become so interested in Guatemala textiles
17 January 2018 | So great to catchup with so many friends and our families
01 November 2017 | what a wonderful Guatemalan fiesta to experience
29 October 2017 | Volcanic crater
28 October 2017 | Antiqua - Guatemala


blue skies and crystal-clear waters and dazzling white beaches

Georgetown - Great Exuma Island -

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Staniel Cay - Thunderball Grotto -

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Norman Cay - plane wreck -

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Spanish Wells - Elutheria island -

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Every morning from 7am we listen to the weather guru Chris Parkers SSB forecasts, and as the weather fronts have been constantly passing through, so our sailing strategy and itinerary has been based on these forecasts. On Tuesday 19th he was giving details of another cold front moving through the area by Thursday, so we set off in light southerly winds from Georgetown to glide, with just the full genoa, north along Great Exuma Island and further along the Exuma Cays. The Exumas are in the region covering the CENTRAL BAHAMAS, and we are now mid-way through our Bahamian journey. The larger islands of Great and Little Exuma - with Georgetown the largest community in the south of about 800 people and Highborne Cay in the north, is a distance of about 100 miles. There are a multitude of over 300 cays in the Exuma chain, the settlements are few and far between, but some of the most beautiful anchorages and pristine beaches await us. The small islands, some inhabited, some privately owned, are bound by the deep Exuma Sound to the east, and with the shallow banks to the west. We want to explore and spent some time - weather permitting - in a small marine reserve administered by the Bahamas National Trust called The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. So with James navigating us carefully through 2m depth water via the chart plotter and me on the helm we passed through Conch Cut and out into the Exuma Sound, for a wonderful days sailing. Our fishing was NEARLY SUCCESSFUL again today - this time it was a good size Mahi Mahi, which we got reeled in right to the back of the boat - but when James went to land him with the Gaff Hook he tossed free.... yet another 'the one that got away....'! We sailed past the wonderfully named Stocking Island...( the hint is in the name), and finally got enough wind from the west to put all the sails up, and by late afternoon crossed Farmers Cay Cut and tucked into a good anchoring spot in 2 meters of water between Big Farmer's and Little Farmer's Cays for the night. Both Big and Little Farmers are inhabited, with Little Farmers having a Yacht Club - but sadly we needed to push on and make the most of the southerly winds for our northly journey. We had a beautiful sailing today from Big Farmers Cay to Staniel Cay on Wednesday 20th sailing inside on the 'Banks' side, rather than on the outer 'Sound' side of the Cays - would you believe it....sailing along with everything up in 2.5 to 3.5 meters of beautiful clear, clear water. We arrived in the early afternoon to anchor in spectular surrounding with hopefully some protection from the north-west high winds due to come through later tonight. We had some problems anchoring and finally raised the keel to anchor in some soft sand in 1.5 meters of water, just nearby the Thunderball grotto - The grotto was featured in the James Bond films Thunderball and Never Say Never Again. The wind change did come through, but nothing too bad- the strong cross-currents were more disturbing to deal with. Watching the local small commercial ferry, motor boats and yachts coming through the nearby Big Rock Cut in the strong currents and monovering past the 'crown of thorns' rocks made for good boat watching. None of the small markers in place were lit at night - like most off the navigation marker here in the Bahamas. We needed to make the most of Thursday 21st to explore STANEIL CAY as south winds are now forecast. We went snorkelling in the morning, on low slack tide to Thunderball Grotto, actually a marine cave. We were able to tie the dingy outside to the specific dingy mooring at the cave entrance - all too easy. At low water the cave entrance is about half a metre above the water. After swimming through the cave entrance we were in a huge cavern about 20m diameter and 20m high with a 2 or 3m hole at the top to let in sunlight. What a spectacular sight! There was an entrance on the opposite side of the rocky outcrop, as well as others on the lee side that were under water. Where light was strongest soft corals were plentiful, mostly reds and pinks but really strong colours, and plenty of various coral formations - not bad for our first snorkelling here in the Bahamas. It was beautiful inside, now we can say we snorkelled inside a cave. In the mid afternoon we went in search of some fresh bread in the village beyond the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. The rental cottages were brightly coloured, and there were some quite substantial homes and lots more being built. Our bread search was successful -a lovely warm freshly baked brown loaf for $6. We went back to the yacht club from an early afternoon Kalik (the beer of the Bahamas) and to sample some conch fritters - all every enjoyable watching the coming and goings from the front porch. Obviously the Yacht Club is the one and only place to be, and be seen in Staniel Cay, and it makes the most of the James Bond theme. We wanted to see the swimming pigs off the nearby Big Major spot - so we moved the boat around to anchor off the beach where we could see them basking in the late afternoon sun. When we came closer to them in the dingy they came toward us looking for food... but it was just a photo- not feeding stop. On Friday 22nd we left the 'floating hotels' (one with its own helicopter) at Big Major's Spot as we motored in no wind 12 miles north to the Land and Sea Park area. We were on the banks side today - with everyone else - at least 12 other yachts heading north before the forecasted south winds were to come through with a warm front by tomorrow. We headed to an Aircraft Wreck and a sea aquarium off O'Brien's Cay. We anchored alone off Little Halls Pond Cay in light winds - but strong currents. The Exuma Land and Sea Park authority has these two attractions well organised with dingy buoys to us safely tie to. The Aircraft wreck was a small Cessna 4 seater - upside down in the shallow water. The Coral Reef Sea Aquarium was amazing - the small colourful fish everywhere. These fish obviously get hand fed and were not human shy at all- very in your face mask! This aquarium area was lovely - but only very small in size. We beached the dingy on Little Halls Pond Cay for a photo opportunity of La Aventura in this beautiful spot, but we were asked to leave by a man in a rigid small dingy telling us that we were on a private island. We wanted to spend more time in this marine reserve area but as forecast the south winds did come, so on Saturday 23rd we made the most of them to get some good sailing miles north sailing on the 'outside' Sound side. We made a lunchtime stop at Norman Island. In the 1970s and 80s, this island was the private domain of Colombian drug smuggler Carlos Lehder. We went snorkelling on a plane crashed off Norman's Cay in the early 80s, it was supposedly part of Carlos Lehder's operations. It was really shallow, and the plane was 90% intact - a wonderful sight. It was a DC3, sitting the correct side up, with the props, wings and most of the body intact. This is the best wreck snorkelling or diving we have ever done, as the water was so clear, the many fish colourful and friendly - and we had the whole area to ourselves. We would have liked to stay longer and snorkel more, but we had no protection from the now stronger southerly winds -so we sailed north again in the afternoon - passing through North Highborne Cay Cut, to safely anchor with just a few other yachts in the lee of HIGHBORNE CAY. As we were tucked up safely from the strong and gusty south winds in Highborne cay, we enjoyed our traditional Sunday cooked breakfast and had a hangout day reading, passage planning and updating my diary and Blog. We did not go ashore in Highborne Cay as it is a private island. We had another good sailing day on Monday 23rd in south winds, making 52 miles north to the island group -ELUTHERIA. Elutheria, as a group is about 100 miles long arc shape, with the land mass mostly no more than a ½-mile wide. Its long west coastline is too shallow to explore, and with a major barrier reef called the Devils Backbone to the east, a pilot is recommended for any journeys involving the east coast. We enjoyed some exhilarating sailing - 15 knots wind, all sails up, in 2.5 - 3 meters of clear, clear waters; achieving 5.5 knots to arrive off ROYAL ISLAND - North Elutheria, by 5pm. This was a lovely full enclosed little harbour with about 10 other yacht anchored. We were expecting to see signs of the advertised Royal Harbour Yacht Club -but there was no evidence of any activity or human life onshore - sad really as it is a beautiful spot. Tuesday 26th, as forecast the front came through and the strong north winds kicked in. During our month in the Bahamas so far the weather systems have been rolling though, and we have been thankfully be able to make our passages and progress in the various 'weather windows'. Along with everyone else from the anchorage we made a morning trip of 5 miles to the fishing town of SPANISH WELLS. Its name is said to have originated when Spanish explorers declared the local well water the sweetest in The Bahamas. Our arrival timing was for high water so we motored past the anchorage and along into the 'town' for a look to check things out. The chosen mode of transport here is by golf cart - and the street was busy with all ages of drivers and some interesting personalised cart zooming around the streets - everyone giving us a toot or nod as they passed us - you get the feel that there is a real community here - but one where 'visitors' stand out from the mostly native white locals. Many of the local families claim direct descent from the original Eleutherian Adventurers who shipwrecked on the treacherous nearby reefs in 1648. Others are descendants of white American Loyalists who sought refuge in the island at the end of the US war of Independence. This is a well established and pretty fishing town, know as the best fishermen, divers and seafarers in the Bahamas. After 4 days at sea it was great to get off the boat to walk about a bit, stretch our legs, and get some much needed exercise. We made a 5 miles circular walk of the whole town - there were many new and established homes - but so many were For Sale. The northern beach had a light pink hew in the fine sand. We had a fish takeaway lunch at the beach, bought some homemade fresh bread, and checked out the one and only supermarket before walking back to the boat. The northerly winds bring much cooler and crisp winds with far less humidity. We are here waiting for the north winds to pass enough to give us a chance to move on to the northern Bahamas cruising areas called the Abacos.
Vessel Name: La Aventura
Crew: James & Patti

Who: James & Patti