Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Conception Island !!

     With the lack of a camera, it is hard to do justice to Conception Island.  We left Staniel Cay and crossed the Exuma Sound in 3-4 foot seas for the southern end of Cat Island.  There we stayed at the Hawk's Nest Marina for one night and left the next morning for Conception Island.  After a fairly plesant ride, 3-4 foot seas again, we arrived at Conception Island and anchored off one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen !!  There were 6-7 other boats there including one very large mega-yacht and another yacht that looked like a floating version of an F-117.  Again the water was crystal clear, and although we were within swimming distance of the beach, we had at least 15 feet under the keel.
     At night, some of the largest sharks I have ever seen in the wild would glide under the boat (nurse sharks, I think) and one barracuda seems to adopt us and hung around under the boat almost every day.   The snorkling was great and we toured most of the western and southern portions of the island by dingy
     As soon as we see how to download some pictures from out bahamian cell phone camera, I'll update this post with some pictures..

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Staniel Cay -- Small Disaster !!

     Once in the Exumas, the next stop is only about 5 to 10 miles away.  Each stop is like entering another country, each with its own personality and attractions.  Staniel Cay Yacht Club is such a place.  Lots of cruising boats around, most anchored on the western side of Big Major island where wild pigs roam the beaches and swim up to your "dink" looking for a handout.
The Yacht club is really geared toward cruising boats and has or can arrange almost anything one could ask for.  We arranged to have our mail delivered to us here via a courier service (Watermaker Air).  It only took four days of waiting, but, we were not in any hurry.

Small cabins available for rent at the Yacht Club.  Each comes with a small Boston Whaler to use.

      We anchored near Thunderball grotto where the James Bond movie of the same name was filmed along with Tom Hanks and "Splash".  We were close enough to simply jump off the boat and swim to the underwater caves.  This picture is off Mavourneen's stern and although it looks very shallow, these is actually close to 15 feet under the boat.
On the way to see the wild pigs one of the Bahamian adventure boats, aptly named "007Thunderball" came speeding by us at less than 100 feet.  The resulting wake send Bettilynn flying backwards in the Dingy, fill the boat nearly halfway with seawater and flooding a protective pouch containing our camera, an i-phone, and our Bahamian cell phone.  They were ruined.  Moreover, the idiot driving the 007 boat also nearly swamped an elderly couple.  We ran into the driver at Staniel Cay Yacht Club and he could have cared less about the damage he caused or the injury that could have happened.  I e-maqiled the company but got no reply.
We did manage to get another cell phone that takes pictures but have been unable to download them as yet.  They should be great as after leaving Staniel Cay, we crossed the Exuma Sound to Cat Island and then traveled to Conception Island.  As soon as we figure out how to download those pictures, we will post them also.

Cambridge Cay

     Moving further South in the Exumas, the scenery keeps getting better and better.  We secured a mooring ball for nearly five days at Cambridge Cay located insided the Exuma Water Park boundary.  Along with the views, the snorkling was great and exploring the deserted islands was great !!
Mavourneen from a hilltop on Cambridger Cay
The actor Johnny Depp owns a private island just noth of Cabridge Cay.  He parks a big yacht there and flys a very large Pirate Flag (barely visible in this photo) from his very secluded compound, I suppose in recognition of the Pirtates of the Carribean series.  We did not see Mr. Depp in our travels around his island.

Another view from a hilltop on Cambridge Cay

Still another view -- everywhere one looks there is a secluded beach to explore

Our feet -- sore after hiking on a path across the island to the coast along the Exuma Sound.

A nother view of a secluded beach on the sound side of Cambridge Cay

Norman's Cay

After Highbone Cay, we traveled south to Norman's Cay, made famous by Carlos Leder, an infamous drug runner.  We only stayed there a couple of days aas the scenery wasn't all that great and there really was nothing at all on the island to see.
This is the airstrip Carlos built.  Around the corner on the SE side are some old ruins of a marina.  Carlos, as I have been told, now lives in Marion Illinois serving a life sentence !!
Some enterprising individuals are builing some resort facilities on Norman's Cay.  Not completed but may be nice in the future.

Blogging Status !!

Internet is really catch as catch can in the Bahamas.  Hard to find and when you do, is seldom free, seldom reliable and never very fast.  I have been late on updating the Blog BUT we are at an anchorage in Black Point, Exumas that happens to have free wifi access and, while not lightning fast, is fast enough to update the Blog on all of our travels and adventures.  The following posts will take us through Staniel Cay, Cat Island, and on to Conception Island.  Enjoy !! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Exumas -- Highborne Cay Anchorage

     We left Atlantis on a pretty calm day and headed for the Exumas.  Crossing the Yellow Bank raised concerns about shallow coral heads and shallow water.  However, the coral heads were clearly visible and easy to avoid.  I never saw less than 10 feet under the keel all the way through the "middle ground" of the Yellow Banks.  What a relief !!

      Reaching Allen's Cay, the first thing one notices is how clear the water is.  Judging depth is difficult as it appears to be quite shallow but is really pretty deep.   The spots we wanted to anchor in, SW Allen's Cay and N. Allen's Cay were occupied with other cruisers so we moved south to a great anchorage off Highborne Cay.  There were several boats there but most were just anchored overnight and moved on every morning to points south.  The first day we did dingy over to Allen's Cay, saw the Iguana's on the beach and checked out the water for places to swim and snorkel.
View from a hilltop on Highborne Cay -- Looking SW

Exuma Sound -- Very Rough
Lokking North from our anchorage.

First Lobster --  Speared this very large lobster off the entrance to the Highborne cay marina.  Had a great lunch that day.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Atlantis !!

  While at Nassau Harbor Club Marina, we met several other cruisers, including a family from NY who told us about the Atlantis Marina. Price per foot per day was $4.50 BUT that included day passes to everything on the resort. Just visiting Atlantis costs about $100 per day per person if you are not staying at the resort, SO we decided to splurge a bit (actually a lot) and spend two days in Atlantis before heading to the Exumas. WOW, what a marina and resort. The following pictures will not do it justice.
Entering Atlantis Marina from Nassau Harbor Channel
Marina Entrance
Large Yachts, Mega Yachts, and us !!!
View from our assigned slip at Atlantis Marina
Mavourneen From Atlantis Lobby Entrance
Atlantis Waterpark -- Huge and lots of fun !!

Underwater passages wind through the entire resort -- Sharks cruising overhead

Another Shark


Another shark -- sharks everywhere !!