Cay Paraiso Adventures

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Moving down the chain

21 March 2020
Suzanne Hurwitz
We headed south and anchored by Little Sampson Cay for the first time. Until 2013 it was home to the Sampson Cay Club, a popular Exuma resort and marina. The island is owned by billionaire John Malone, recognized around the time of the resort closure by Fortune Magazine as the "largest landowner in the U.S." There are still docks and 5 villas remaining for his private use. 121 acre Big Sampson Cay is presently for sale by Sotheby's for 9.5 million dollars.

While at Little Sampson we dinghied around to nearby Over Yonder Cay, a 72 acre luxury private island with 4 villas, powered by three wind turbines and a 1.5 acre solar field. In case you're interested, rentals start from $44,000 plus taxes per day for a party of up to 12.

Yet another front approached threatening winds in the 30s, so we chose to return to Norman's Cay for its great northerly and easterly protection. We enjoyed another 5 days there and still didn't get tired of it, this time exploring the massive sand bars that are exposed in the Pond at low tide. On our way south again, we provisioned and were finally able to do laundry for the first time in almost a month! We finally met up again with friends Rex and Amy, who we hadn't seen in 4 years.

The seas on the Sound were still bigger than we liked from the stiff easterly winds and we REALLY wanted to catch some lobsters, so we continued south on the Banks west of Great Exuma. We were hoping that the remoteness of the area might improve our chances. Many boats don't venture over there because of the shallow areas. We timed the tides, had no problems, and enjoyed some great sailing and solitude. Dave was able to spear 2 lobsters with his Hawaiian Sling at our second anchorage. They weren't very big, but we thoroughly enjoyed them as part of a surf 'n turf dinner. The snorkeling there was fantastic as well.

We returned from out on the Banks to get protection from more winds coming. Our anchorage in Williams Cove, behind Lee Stocking Island, has become another on our list of new favorite spots. Home to the Perry Institute for Marine Science for almost 3 decades, the island is now unoccupied. The facility looks like a ghost town with most of the buildings and equipment still present but abandoned. There are many hiking trails, some well-marked and others not. We hiked one, the "Loyalist Trail," which ran through dense vegetation, parallel for about a mile with a stone wall. It was very difficult to find as well as to navigate because it was pretty overgrown. (We won't be doing that one again)... The prettiest trails ran along the many beaches and spectacular cliffs.

A big part of our story this year is the phone app Dave found called Geo Tracker. It uses Google Maps and enables us to record our tracks and find our way if we get lost. Many of the trails we've discovered are from satellite views not seen on our charts.

Tomorrow we plan on moving a little further south to an old favorite spot, Boysie Cay. From there we plan on crossing to Cat Island, one of the "out islands." It's quiet and sparsely populated, yet it has whatever provisions we might need. With all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we feel like staying in the Bahamas for now makes more sense than trying to get home. At present, we are expected to minimize travel between islands except for when we need essentials. Although the marinas are closed to transients, they are open for fuel.

We're sending love to our family and friends in the States as you weather
the chaos there...

There are 20 photos in the gallery to check out...
Vessel Name: Cay Paraiso
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 37
Hailing Port: Wiscasset, Maine
Extra: "When looking out at the ocean, he felt at once humbled and comforted by his own unimportance" (Low Tide, Dawn Lee McKenna)
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