George Town to Fernandez Bay, New Bight Anchorage on Cat Island, Wed, April 3rd

This was an all day sail, very close reach, in 5 to 6 ft seas! Waves were breaking over the bow, cleaning the anchors and covering the decks with “green “water and the Bimini with salt spay. We arrived in New Bight at 18:30 and needed a rest and a couple cocktails! Early to bed, we were looking forward to our hike in the morning.

This stop has been on our list since we started planned the trip. Mt Alvernia is the highest hill on the Bahamas at 206′ above sea level. It is the site of The Hermitage, a noteworthy church built by Father Jerome. He was schooled as an architect and then decided to become a missionary. In 1908 he arrived in the Bahamas to save souls and rebuild local wooden churches that couldn’t withstand hurricane force winds, redesigning them in mortar and stone construction. At 62 years old he build The Hermitage, a scaled down model of European monastic buildings. He remained cloistered in monastic quarters next to his beloved chapel with its pretty bell tower and lived peacefully until his death at age 80 in the mid 50’s.

We started out for our hike early, it was going to be a hot, sunny day. Cat Island, 40 miles long and at its skinniest point is only 1/2 mile wide was known for cotton, pineapple and sisal that grew in abundance and was exported to the US and Europe. Our walk began just off the beach at the ruins of a plantation home dating back to the loyalist migration, the Henry Hawkins Armbrister’s Great House. We saw banana and mango trees sparsely growing across hard scrabble farmland. Much has been reclaimed by locals growing corn, tomatoes, cabbage, and lettuce between rocks and boulders in small pockets of sandy soil just big enough for one plant in each pocket. Sure looks like a hard way to grow vegetables but we learned that most residents have a patch and grow their own to offset the high coat of buying imported vege’s.

Great House, built in the 1760’s and burnt down by slaves in the days just before emancipation. The land is in the Armbrister family today.

20130602-085210.jpgBanana Trees



The farmland is also referred to as “black land”. They burn off scrub to clear the land.

Termite trails across the road….

20130603-230408.jpgThe nest on the other side!

All the while eyeing the Hermitage as we got closer, our hike lead us to the base of the hill and up a steep trail that Father Jerome had adorned with stations of the cross. He’d carved steps in the boulders, and made a replica of Jesus’ tomb and roll-away stone. At the top we were surprised to see the size of the structure… was miniature in scale but perfectly proportioned. It was enchanting! Disney could not have done better in creating this beautiful site!! Hopefully the pictures will give you a taste of what we enjoyed!!








20130603-225914.jpgIt’s size was still deceiving



Sleeping quarters

A room with a view!

20130602-090418.jpgFather Jerome’s Chapel


20130602-091509.jpgThe bell ringer!

After that a walk downtown and to another church Father Jerome worked on, which we gained access thru a back door.



20130602-091740.jpgAll the green shutters were closed when we made our way inside. I opened several, each revealing a different pattern!

Then back to the boats to get out of the sun but Adrien and Brian spotted a reef near our anchor that was calling them to explore…. More snorkeling and spearfishing. Nina’s parting words were documented as ” Adrien, PLEASE leave the Lion fish alone!! I was settling in to enjoy some peace and quiet on the boat, alone…. But before I could even sit down to start reading, he was back. He didn’t listen….. They had speared a Lion fish and while trying to get it off the spear and into the bucket in the dinghy, it fell off the spear and landed on Adrien’s shoulder. He got stung by 6 poisonous quills and it hurt like the dickens! He likened it to getting 6 novacaine shots at the Dentist office. With an internet signal Nina did some quick research on remodies. Apparently the poison is a protein that works its way into bloodstream. For a person with a weak heart it could be deadly. The CDC advertised an 800 number for lion fish stings…. But it was disconnected! Another website recommended treatment was to put a very hot compress on the wound that would reduce the potency of the protein. We started a series of hot compresses but it was becoming more painful and he was loosing feeling down his arm to his wrist. Nina called a marina that referred us to a clinic about 15 miles north of us. Nurse Saunders came to our rescue. She had only seen one other sting a few years ago and the Dr was off island but she called him and drove to the beach where we were anchored. She took Adrien’s vitals and felt we needed to return with her to the clinic. A few more compresses, an anti inflamatory shot in the butt, a 7 day supply of antibiotics, mega doses of Motrin and antibiotic cream and we were good to go. Just $60 and she drove us back to the beach! Hot compresses continued thru the night thanks to Nurse Nina.

Pour guy!


Next day was a rough weather day…I guess we were do. Strong winds and rain keep us boat bound and we both slept and read most of the day. The pain had subsided somewhat and we enjoyed Chicken Marsala and a salad for dinner.

A day later we enjoyed a walk in town, a visit to another hurricane destroyed church and a wander thru the New Bight Fish Fry….similar to the one in Georgetown….on the beach, small colorful shacks.

This church was destroyed in a hurricane but no one could tell me when or why it was not rebuilt. It had such good bones and beautiful wood details at the windows and doors.





Bahamian kids are so darned cure!

We didn’t see one goat till we got to Eleuthra….most yards seem to have one. Maybe their version of a lawn mower?!

20130602-122608.jpgThis sounds much nicer than “YIELD”, don’t you think?

I’d read that this area was the home to the world renowned, father of Rake and Scrape, Bo Hog ( Pompey Johnson) and the Rooters and that they sometimes there played at night. I inquired at one of the shacks, and learned he was sitting right there! He agreed to play for us later that afternoon and we agreed to let the other 6 boats in the anchorage know so they could join us. Adrien dressed his wound, popped a motrin and 6 of us dinked to shore for dinner and the performance…. what a blast! The group was made up of 3 musicians; Bo Hog played the accordion, and the Rooters, 2 young ladies, play the bongo drum and wood saw with a Phillips head screwdriver! They have appeared on the Today Show and played at the Paris Music Festival a few years ago. The Saw lady wasn’t able to make it but Nurse Saunders husband played for a while, then it got turned over to Adrien and I for a turn…. Adrien says the video is worth a thousand words!

20130602-122839.jpgAdrien’s turn at the saw. The fellow behind him filled in after Adrien’s turn. We nick named him” Snaggletooth”. He had one pointed tooth up front that seemed to mysteriously fit into his lower gum! He was one happy guy, talked a mile a minute and we couldn’t understand a word he said! Nina bought the group a round of drinks to thank them for playing he became our best friend and insisted we take his contact information. That’s when we learned his name is Smitty Mcdonald!

They played a waltz to make it easy for me but there is an example of the traditional Rake and Scrape.

The next morning, bright and early, Adrien dinked into the beach to meet Bo Hog, who offered to share a few sprays from his aleo plant to help heal Adrien’s wound.

20130602-122250.jpgPompey Johnson, aka Bo Hog

20130602-122446.jpgHis gift of Aloe.

Then we weighed anchor and left for Little San Salvador Island. Another great all day sail gave us a late afternoon arrival into a beautiful white sandy crescent beach. Now owned by the Holland cruise line, they use it as a secluded day stop for their passengers. The island boast horse back riding, water sports, bars and hoards of beach chairs. Its exclusive to the cruise line and is only open when a ship comes in. The ship arrives promptly at 07:30, launches 100 man shuttles and makes numerous trips herding passengers ashore. By 17:00 everyone is back on the ship and its underway to its next destination.


They “let” cruisers come into the Harbor but we are sequestered to the northern anchorage area. With prevailing winds we were rock’in and roll’in all night! We took a walk on the beach at dusk and enjoyed powdery soft white imported sand and snooped around the property the once the ship had left …. just to get a bit of exercise. It’s was an early night and a quick stop. We were off again in the morning as we made our way to Eleuthera.


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Lee Stocking Island to George Town, Great Exuma Isl: Thurs, March 28

We left via Aderly Cut, and had an easy sail, sometimes too slow, but we continued. We motored thru the opening in the reefs north of the harbor and finally anchored by mid afternoon at Sand Dollar Beach anchorage off Stocking Island. We were greeted briefly by Greg and Luba from “Rapsody” who dinked over on their way to pick up family that were flying in for the week and heading out at first light for a run to Long Island. This was our first and last visit since we left them at Brunswick, Ga Marina Jan 6th. I should mention that all the effort that went into getting the auto pilot parts delivered to us were in vain… they were the wrong parts! But it was a great chance to catch up and thank them for their efforts!

A little background….. Georgetown ‘s claim to fame is having the highest annual cruising visitors in the Bahamas, sometimes more than 400 cruisers at a time exceeding the size of a typical Bahamian settlement! The harbor referred to as Georgetown is 9 miles long by 2 miles wide; great Exumas Island to the West and Stocking Island to the East. The formation of the islands offers great protection from most winds. Downtown Georgetown, the hub of commercial activity, offers the best stocked grocery store since leaving Nassau, quintessential bahamian restaurants, bakeries, laundry mats, electronics stores, gift shops and a straw market where little old ladies sit and weave palm fonds and reeds into beautiful baskets, handbags, beach bags and hats. There is also free water from a spigot at the dinghy dock so you can replenish your water supply 5 gallons at a time, and recycle and trash bins.

Stocking Island is a long narrow barrier island with several anchorages and home to lots of boaters activities; volley ball, cards, boards games, hiking one of the many eastern beaten paths to the breathtaking Atlantic shore for sunrises, shelling and good long walks, hiking up Monument hill for a great view, picnic tables for social gatherings and educational lectures….and of course Chat & Chill for all day frosty drinks & beer, BBQ, and conch salad!

In talking with many cruises on our way south we were getting mixed reviews on the Georgetown scene. Some cruises like “Rapsody” deadhead to Georgetown and stay for as long as they can and participate in the spring Regattas and many events/ activities throughout their stay. Others stop only to reprovision and continue on to avoid all the commotion in favor of the more subdued, remote stops. Our arrival was late in the season, regattas were over and many cruisers were already heading north to return home. We were in the company of only about 125 other vessels…. It was quiet! Every morning, 7 days a week, at 08:10 on the dot, cruisers tune in to channel 68 for the Cruisers Net. The announcer moderates a program that runs about 20-30 min filled with info on the weather and sea state, then invites others to participate by making announcements about cruiser planned activites/excursions, invites business owners to announce their specials for the day, and opens the forum to cruisers that might need some type of assistance or have something to sell. They also invite you to announce your arrival and when ready, your planned departure , thank you’s for help provided and even birthdays and anniversaries! In response to the latter, cruisers click their mikes on and off….the effect an applause of clapping hands!

Once settled we connected with several other familiar cruisers ( Cheers, Mesaluna, Hug, New Moon) via VHF and planned a sunset rendevous at Chat & Chill. Delicious rum punch and cold beers, we shared a plate of finger lick’n good BBQ Ribs for dinner and chatted on the white sandy beach beach till sunset. We were surprised to learn that George Town was essentially shutting down for the Easter holiday; businesses would be closed Friday, Sunday and Monday! That meant we’d be staying a few days longer than anticipated to do our much needed provisioning ,laundry and refill water and fuel tanks!

20130602-073213.jpgHappy Hour at Chat & Chill

20130602-073359.jpgInviting beach at Chat & Chill

20130602-073519.jpgAnother beautiful sunset

Friday was a good day to explore. After listening to the Cruisers Net we dinked to shore with Que Sera Sera and followed several trails. We walked a beautiful beach for a couple of hours and ended up at a gorgeous Villa overlooking two very protected anchorages. We took a short cut back to Volley Ball Beach ( thanks to some very nice Canadians who gave us a dink ride across the deep inlet to the anchorage saving us a long wet walk/swim!), to Chat & Chill. Adrien and Brian played Volleyball while the girls visited and chatted with other cruisers. We then walked back along the beach to our dinks, then back to our boats for dinner.

20130602-074056.jpgAtlantic coastline

20130602-074205.jpgA great spot to contemplate the cosmos!

20130602-074334.jpgOne of 3 anchorage areas.

20130602-074630.jpgVolleyball beach, Adrien is in blue on the left far court.

Saturday was the day to explore Georgetown and provision. Our anchorage was about 2 miles east from downtown Georgetown, across the channel. With the wind and currents we were sure to get soaked! Lauren and Brian climbed aboard, we weighed anchor and motored closer to Georgetown to make reprovisioning easier. We dinked into Lake Victoria for Diesel fuel, gasoline, food, Rum, and water for our tanks. We had a late lunch at Edgewater, delicious burgers and fried chicken. Adrien met a couple that worked at NASA, and they shared some old interesting stories. We motored back to Sand Dollar Beach at the end of the day and re-anchored.

Sunday and Monday breezed by with more exploring, this time via a steep trail to Monument Hill. Then more volley ball, cocktails at Chat & Chill, checkers, reading and a few chores on Dolphin. One of the cruisers net activity announcements was about a historian speaking about the Bahamas…..regrettably he did not show….something about not realizing he had church to attend at the time he committed to speak! It’s Bahamas time, mon!

20130602-080006.jpgThe many trails that crisscross the island are dotted with refreshment stands for the birds.

A view from Monument Hill

20130602-075825.jpgLook closely and you’ll see a marriage proposal.

Tuesday all businesses reopened…. it was a day of work for us too! We weighed anchor and returned again to a spot closer to Georgetown. While Adrien focused on reprovision rum after surveying all local liquor stores for the best prices, and made six trips back and forth to the water spigot to add 60 gallons of water to Dolphin, Nina did 4 loads of laundry, visited the bank for much needed cash (most places don’t accept credit cards!), visited two supermarkets to buy fresh produce and took a cab ride to Prime Meats, much noted for their good quality and price. Come to find out the owner was a meat cutter from Phili. He moved here to raise his kids. He buys all his meat from the states and doesn’t pay the duty tax others pay…not sure how, but he passes his savings on to his customers so we were paying the same price we would be paying at home! When we arrived the shop was quite busy and the cab driver that brought us from downtown (about 8 miles away) was on a tught schedule. She came into the shop to see what was taking do long. I felt bad because I knew she had another fare to pick up in just a few minutes. I offers her a slice of each of the cold cuts I’d picked up to help distract her while the rest of my purchase was being prepared. Surprisingly she had never tried sliced ham or turkey! She loved it! Go figure. My, what we take for granted! It’s interesting, here they offer “Value Pac’s” that consist of 5 lbs each of chicken, beef, pork and ribs, a 5lb bag of potatoes, 1 lb bag of rice, cans of black beans and cabbage….. All for $50. A good family deal!

We were hot and exhausted after all the running around, but decided we’d earned a nice dinner out. Near by, a dink ride away, was the Fish Fry…. A cluster of small shacks, siting on the waters edge, all brightly painted in different colors with a central picnic area. Each shack boasts fried fish, assorted dishes and sides, drinks etc. We chose one that looked “clean” and relaxed for an absolutely delicious dinner. Adrien and I shared the Grouper with curry sauce that just melted in our mouth!!! We payed for it the next day, but it was worth every bite! Tuesday night was a quiet night but we learned that the weekend is filled with live music and locals abound. Wish we could have been there to experience that!


All in all Georgetown was a good spot to stop, but I think we need to come back during Regatta season to really feel the Georgetown experience!!


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Cambridge, Leaf and Lee Stocking Cays, Friday, Mar 22nd

Friday AM was a calm motor ride to Cambridge Cay. It was so calm we could make out blades of grass on the bottom 22 ft below us! Just before going into the Sound, on the southern boarder of the Exuma Land and Sea Park (no take zone), Brian landed a large Barracuda…. Not good eating, but great bait fish. Noted as a “Must See” snorkel spot, as soon as we picked up a park mooring we dinked up to the Seaquarium and dove with the fish. The Sargent Majors were so friendly you could feel them picking at your legs, and they would eat crackers out of our hands. This area was plentiful with Angles, Trigger’s, Damselfish, Grunts, young Grouper and Snappers. The coral reefs were like landscaped tiered gardens with colorful fans, finger and leaf corals, various brain coral and long spined urchin. It was the most beautiful spot we’ve snorkeled. Sure wish I’d invested in an under water camera!


Back to our boats for a quick lunch then a walk on a conch-lined sandy path across the Cay to Honeymoon Beach on the Atlantic side; pretty beaches and high vistas, but no shells. Beach combing has become a passion for us all. And the eastern Atlantic exposure always offered the best opportunity to fill our collection bags. Lauren and Brian look for sea glass along the rocks, I hunt for pretty shells and “Sea Beans”, and Adrien hunts thru flotsam and jetsom for treasures he can repurpose for Add-on’s to Dolphin. Adrien has a sharp eye and gifted me with a few beautiful Sea Hearts. Interesting beans, from the Rain Forest in South America, they grown inside a pea pod that growns several feet in length. The bean itself is about 2″ in diameter, has a shinny hard dark brown shell and an air pocket inside that allows it to float. When it rains the pod falls and breaks apart. The bean is washed into the river that flows into the Amazon River where it makes it’s way to the Atlantic to be carried away by the currents North. Very romantic don’t you think?! Next on the list is the illusive Hamburger Bean! It looks like a mini hamburger on a bun! We’ve been on the look out since we stopped in the Berries but no luck yet.



20130513-164317.jpgThat’s Nina in the upper right corner.


The wind predictions indicated a Westerly coming thru, again…and the weather further North would be worse for the next week. Time to regroup and revisit the sail plan. Further south the weather was much better… South we’d go. A visit to Georgetown was back on the agenda. It made sense to stay on the mooring the next day in this very protected harbor. The guys continued to snorkel and explore our surrounding areas. The Island of Little Bells is rumored to be owned by Johnny Deep but we did not have a celebrity sighting. I caught up on some reading and gave Dolphin a good wash down, and enjoyed some good exercise walking in knee deep water against the current on the near by sand bar. I found a couple of huge conch but we couldn’t take them! We enjoyed a delicious roasted chicken dinner on QSS, and another game of Hand and Foot….the girls rule!

20130513-164813.jpgSomeone was cleaning up the beach and made a hammock from fishing net washed ashore!

20130513-165621.jpgMega Yachts can certainly dwarf a few sail boats!

20130513-165921.jpgWhile the guys were snorkeling they discovered a abandoned 150lb Danforth anchor and tried to salvage it. They figured they could sell it in Georgetown and take the girls out for a really nice dinner. It took them 2 hrs to drag it by dink to the boat to hoist it up, only to discover that one corner and rusted and needed repair. All in a days work when your retired!

On to Lee Stocking Cay the next morning, it was deemed to be a good half way point to make the long sail South to Georgetown….and nearby Leaf Cay was noted for unique pink iguana and its amazing array of sea beans including hamburger beans! This leg of the trip took us off the calm shallow Exuma Bank of 10-12′ into Exuma Sound where the ocean floor drops from a few feet to over 2000 ‘ in less than a mile from the shore. We enjoyed the best sail of the trip, doing 5-7 kts in W10-15 kt winds…..and no motor! Brian put out a line and hooked a beautiful Mahi Mahi. Bring in a big fish while your under full sail is tricky. We learned of a new technique to keep your catch quiet if you want to avoid trying to kill it in the cockpit and cleaning up the mess afterward….. You cover it with a wet towel. The fish quiets right down and dies! It worked really well for this catch.

Lee Stocking Cay is was once the home base for the Caribbean Marine Research Center, one of NOAA’s National Undersea Research agencies. We’d heard that it had been shut down sometime last year so we weren’t sure what we’d find. Much to our surprise there were no other boats in the harbor, open moorings and many buildings but not a sign of life on land.

We picked up a mooring, and since the center was closed Adrien dove on the mooring to insure it was in good shape. We relaxed for a while and then hosted the evening on Dolphin enjoying Brian’s Mahi Mahi, cooked on the grill with a rosemary, garlic and OVO marinade and a delicious salad for dinner. Played a few card games and called it a night excited about our next adventure.

The next morning we endured a wet and willy 3 mile dink ride across the cut to Leaf Cay. A pretty little island with a fine white sandy beach, the iguana’s came out to investigate as soon as they heard our engine! And, they were pink!! I’m hoping the pictures will reveal what we saw. Their soft skin areas, (around their neck, under arms) have a beautiful pink metallic hue when the light catches them right. And in they eyes, where we have whites, theirs are pink. They blend into their surrounds so perfectly and sit so still that we were continually surprised to discover them when we were only a few feet away. Not aggressive or scared, they did not move until you were a foot away. You can tell they thrive on this little island, with no natural predictors. Several were huge, over 4’ long from head to tail!


20130513-171400.jpgIsn’t he handsome!


We took a walk along the shore and along large pockets of rocky coral we’ve dubbed “iron coral”. Most of the islands we’ve explored have it. Its rock hard with peaks and valleys and sharp jagged edges that vary in size from a few inches to a foot or more deep. It’s very difficult to walk on as you must constantly look down to see where you can safely plant your next foot step. Footwear is a must and flip flops get torn up very quickly! I’ve looked on line to learn more about how and when these were formed. They were under water at one time, contain lots of fossils and are probably thousands of years old.
Anyway, we mad our to the Atlantic facing beach. Our first observation is that it was very clean….no plastic or trash. We were far from any Bahamian settlements and seeing a pristine beach free of the flotsom/jetsom was a rare experience. Within a few minutes Adrien found our first hamburger bean! They too float ashore with the surf and land just above the seaweed line formed at high tide. We found two more once we knew where to look for them!

20130513-171617.jpgYet another beautiful beach!

20130513-171705.jpgMy seaweed bracelet, a gift from Adrien!

20130513-171754.jpgLook close, Hamburger Beans!

On the way back to Dolphin, still not seeing any sign of life, it was time to explore! We tied up at the dock of the research center campus and walked around exploring the area. The dock area was adorned by several buildings; an office, dive shop, safety office, shed with several washers and dryers, a ’80 vintage Ford Pick Up truck with the windows down, and conch lined paths leading to several homes and dorm buildings, The grassy areas appeared to be maintained, the walks clean, chairs on the porches…. If I didn’t know better I’d say it was Sunday and everyone left for the day.



20130513-173213.jpgOK, we girls are nosey!


20130513-173438.jpgThis would be a great place to work!

Of course we had to check it out up close! I walked up to the office, the door had a heavy industrial door knob….I turned it, yelled out “Hello”… It opened! Inside were several desks, chairs, office supplies, boxes of parcially packed notes, binders, books, posters of indigenous plant and sea life on the walls…it looked partially cleaned out. Half full boxes, one contained a supply of new books, and autobiography on Dr Perry. (We believe he was the founder of the research center, lead an interest life as a driven achiever, entrepreneur…but at the expense of a family life.)

It didn’t stop there, each building was open and assessable… was like a frenzy, Lauren and I couldnt move fast enough to open the next door as we explored each building. The safety office had cabinets filed with aspririn, anti acids, bandages, eye wash….and a 12′ long decompression chamber. The dive shop had regulators,fins, wet suites, tools,etc. one of the house had furniture, mattresses, supplies of sheets and pillows, the kitchen had dried good, herbs, rice, pancake mixes, even syrup….with current stale dates….. The bathroom had shampoo, soap, bug spray, vitamins….bedrooms had clothes left behind….. Near as we could tell they may have closed down at year end….just a few months ago.

The paths led to Dorm rooms, a Rec center and main kitchen (all appliances were gone but left behind VCR tapes, books, posters, ), Research labs (test tubes, bottle of solutions & solvents, swivel bench chairs,antiquated instruments etc), Computer labs with old parts, a reverse osmosis water shed, Diesel generator bldg and just outside a huge tank of Deisel 1/2 full….it was amazing,and EERY!!!!

I might add that while Lauren and I were focused on absorbing all we could see as fast as we could, Adrien and Brian were collecting fallen ripe coconuts…… How could they ignore all this intrigue for coconuts?? (This new found affinity for coconut ‘s is a story for another post!)

As dusk approached, we were still exploring…but the no see’ms and mosquitoes were out, it was time to leave….but there was still so much to explore….we decide right then and there we must stay another day!

As we settle on Dolphin for the evening, just a couple hundred feet from shore, we noticed several Bahamian men coming out of the woods with a gas powered saw headed to a 14’ whaler on the boat ramp. They were loading the boat up with coils of black jacketed copper wires. We tried to strike up a conversation… They said they were exploring and gathering stuff from the dump….. Hummmm, a dump? We needed to check that out on our next visit!

The next morning we started exploring the far reaches of the island. We passed a hanger and airport runway, a beautiful beach, and on the far side of the island a long abandoned “Inn” with several guest rooms and out houses. At the Aderly Cut entrance channel, high up on a bluff was a beautiful home with a wrap around deck offering 360 degree views. As we walked up the hill leading to the house we passed a shed, door open, inside a Xantrex inverter…with lights blinking…. So maybe this place was not abandoned…… Yelling “Hello” again we approached the house but no one responded. Screen door locked, a quick peak in the window revealed dishes stacked in drying rack next to the sink, portable phone plugged in and charger blinking, bed made, light on…..but no one was here? Clearly someone lives here! We wanted to explore some more but now it felt intrusive…time to withdraw! We headed back to Dolphin via the dump…No dump…and the men in the Whaler from the day before were back on the island cutting conduit and the copper wiring within …..stealing?! When they left the dock that day their gunwales were resting in the water they were so weighted down!

We got back to Dolphin in time for the guys to do a bit more spear fishing…..this time they returned with grouper and porgy’s. Between fresh fish and over 20 coconuts we had a full bounty!

We’d have to say this was one of our most interesting stops. The surreal feeling we got from walking the island will stay with us for a long time to come!


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Hetty Land North to Big Major Spot Wed, March 20th –

While on the Exumas we’ve been doing short jumps between islands but now that we were planning to head North and ultimately making overnight/multi night jumps as we head home, it was time to think about how to get our auto pilot working; she conked out after we reached Bimini! Adrien had diagnosed the problem to a burned out component on the systems control board in the Electronic Computer Unit. ….Ohhhh, that was the burning smell we got a whiff of a few weeks ago!!!

We knew Greg on “Rapsody in Blue” had spare parts for our model autopilot (circa 1987!) they would make available to us….but they were in Georgetown, 70 miles away. Thankfully the power of the network is very strong amongst the boating community. I texted Par on “Hug” who was sitting in Georgetown; Par connected with Mark on “Nancy Lu” on Volleyball Beach in Stocking Island, Mark was anchored near “Rapsody in Blue” and let Greg know we’d like to take him up on his offer to try his spare parts. Mark then found a cruiser, through the Cruisers Net daily VHF broadcast, that was planning to leave the next day to sail north via Black Point to relay the parts. Then Mark used SSB (single side band radio) to let Que Sera Sera know how and when the parts would be delivered two days later! So, we may be surrounded by dirt roads, crowing roosters, reverse osmosis (r/o) water, no gasoline and two weeks since the next mailboat come in with a new shipment of fresh produce, and sketch internet and ….. but that was a pretty amazing use of old and new technology!

The next day we moved 3 miles North back to Blackpoint for our rendezvous with the courier! We spend the afternoon doing a few more chores; loaded up with more water, and since the weekly mail boat arrived the day before, a quick trip to Adderley’s for fresh produce, (melon, apples, bananas, oranges, romaine, huge red peppers, celery, and eggs were the best picks…you never know what you ‘re going to find or when you’ll find a good selection again!).

We also met up with Chivargo, Scorpio’s Bar owner, on the dock and he helped us covertly score 5 gals of gas for our outboard motor. There has been a severe gas shortage on the Exuma islands for weeks and noone seems to know why. Needless to say, cruisers has been looking for gas for their dinks, borrowering and bartering with other boaters was becoming every day conversations. We were down to our last gallon. Knowing a local was the secret to getting it! Investing in all those Happy Hours payed off!

Speaking of water…did I mention that Adrien fills our two -95 gallon water tanks 10 gallons at a time with jerry jugs. In Black Point he dinks to the Government dock, walks about 500 yards, fills the jugs from a knee high spiket by holding a release valve, carries them back to the dink, motors back to the D, empties them into the tank…. Then makes a few more trips! Water is good and clean in Black Point, so we fill up …it’s just painful! We are very spoiled at home with dockside fill ups! (*note to self….invest in a water maker before the next trip!) This trip has helped put water usage in perspective. I’m proud to say we can get about 2 weeks on one tank of water for cooking, cleaning, and showers. No, we don’t smell! I figure I use about 2 gallons on a shower…Adrien about a quart….. But I have long hair!!


We met Geri and Lillian Larsen at De Shammon’s for a pizza dinner and spend another enjoyable evening sharing stories and they were happy to relay our parts! A delightful Norwegian couple who sail a 54′ Hallsburg Rassy, and currently call Montreal their home.


Rays at the Gov’t dock waiting for scraps as the fishermen clean their catch. They are like poetry in motion. Adrien says they are like watching birds fly in slow motion!

By 08:00 we were off to Bitter Guana Cay to visit the Iguanas and walk the beach and snorkle and catch lobster. This Cay is a protected Iguana Preserve and known for their friendly Iguana’s. They did not disappoint. As we approached the beach to anchor we were wondering if we were I’m the wrong place, there was nothing to see on the white sandy beach. But as we dinked to shore, they came running out from the shade cover to greet us….it felt like an invasions…. Would they stop or attack? You aren’t supposed to feed them but I could not resist giving them a few stale chips! Adrien insisted I put them on the end of a clothes pin rather than feeding them from my hand.


They are very territorial! The guy in the lower left corner rules the beach.

20130512-143252.jpgIguana foot prints!




20130512-144303.jpgWe walked a path to the east side of island and found a lovely cove to snorkel… But no lobster to be found. Well 2 out of 3 isn’t bad!

We enjoyed a refreshing swim around D then weighed anchor for a short motor ride to Big Major’s Spot, our second time, to hide from weather. We dinked in to Pirates Beach with cocktails and snacks and the girls challenged the boys to a grudge match of Corn Toss…the boys won this time! We rounded out the evening with delicious Strawberry Grouper , couscous with garlic, salad with apples, goat chesse and toasted pine nuts, and a Blueberry Brumble for dessert. We finished the night with a round of Liverpool; Lauren won, Nina came in last!


The next morning we slept in! It felt great to not have a schedule! We enjoyed french toast made with delicious Coconut Bread from Lorraine’s in Black Point. Lorraine’s Mom cooks a variety of delicious dense breads in her small kitchen; Guava, cinnamon raisen…they are all delicious and freeze well so you can just pull out a few slices as you like. While Nina enjoyed an afternoon on Dolphin and checked in with the team at TRC, Brian and Adrien spent the afternoon spear fishing . They were lucky this time, Adrien found a Houndfish at the surface, Brian speared it. It was 3 ft long fish but got off and tried to bite Adrien’s shoulder, then went after Brian. (Note: there is a clue there of more to come on spear fishing!). The next shot worked and they landed it in the dink. On further exploration around Fowl Cay ( private island with an exclusive all inclusive resort @ $10k/wk!) Adrien speared a Spanish Lobster walking the bottom in 15′ water. Another good dinner was in the making!

We met on Que Sera Sera to draft a sail plan for the next few days and enjoyed a quiet dinner of a Chicken Alfredo and a bottle of Clos De Bois on Dolphin.

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Black Point and Other Harbors on Big Guana Cay, Saturday, March 9th

An 8 mile sail, still further south, brought us to Blackpoint, a wide mouthed west facing bight with lots of anchorage on Big Guana Cay. A settlement of not more than 200 people, it’s know as a very friendly and welcoming place.

Upon or arrival a message was broadcasted on the VHF about a Town Fair/ Fund Raiser to benefit the Elementary School. The locals were offering a $10pp barbecue lunch. What a better way to show our support and meet people. We hurriedly launched the Dink and departed Dolphin to make sure we got there before the food ran out. (While on Staniel Cay just the afternoon before we stopped in a few road side restaurants thinking we could grab a burger but we learned that they serve one dish each day from about 11:45 to 12:30 when they run out! We didn’t want that to happen again!) We arrived in plenty of time and were served a delicious lunch of with a choice of Ribs, Chicken or Fried Fish and all sorts of side dishes, ie. brown rice, slaw, potato salad, and a Bahamian favorite Mac ‘n cheese !

With bellies full we were off walking and exploring the Island. We stopping at Garden of Eden for tomatoes, cabbage and a few green tomatoes locally grown. A few steps further down the road we were invited by an owners 4 yr old Grandson, Valentino Rolle, to wonder thru a sculptured garden filled with articulately displayed driftwood. He proudly told us (mimicking phrases he’d apparently heard from his Grandfather, the artist), what each twisted gray shape represented and challenged us to see it! He was adorable with big eyes, long lashes and an animated adult vocabulary!

We learned there is no industry or commerce here, and no gas, or deisel. Not good, we were low on gas for the outboard motor! There is free water at a street-side tap and free Wi-fi . I don’t think I mentioned that at Wardwick Wells, Wi-fi via satellites sets cruisers back by $10 per 100mb. Now you know why we have not been posting til now!

It took no time at all to meet the locals!

-Lilly runs the “supermarket” and gets deliveries from Nassau 3 out of 4 weeks every month. Nothing is priced in the store, she just added it up in her head when she checks you out. She’s open every day til 7pm except Sunday, but she comes and goes and you might wait an hour or two till you see her to check out! It’s Bahamas time, Mon!! But no worries you just go across the street and get a drink while you wait!
– Ida runs the best coin operated laundromat since we left the states,($7/load to wash and dry) and she also cuts hair, $10 for men, $12 for women. Adrien was saved once again from doing my roots, Ida could do them!! You need to see her to buy tokens to run the machines; sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t! Again Bahama’s time!
-Lorraine and her daughters run one of 3 restaurants in the settlement and the Internet cafe where she accepts donations to keep the electronics running. We’ve enjoyed her delicious buffet dinner similar to the Fund Raiser Dinner, and a few cheese burgers while working on the blog. She also makes and sells delicious loaves of bread with her Mom. We’ve been enjoying her Coconut Bread, Guava Bread and Cinnamon Raisin Bread….delicious for toast and French toast!
-Zivargo runs Scorpio’s Inn that offers cruisers 2 for 1 Happy Hour with delicious & strong rum punch and the best Mango Daiquiri’s I’ve ever enjoyed….thick like sorbet!
-DeShammon’s serves full dinners and good pizza! Discovered last night that her Rum Punch’s is pretty good too! Diane also works in the government office on the dock during the week.

Once again we intended to stay only two days and then transit the 50+ miles south through Doltham Cut to Georgetown on the SE end of the Exumas. But winds were not cooperating with our plan! A new front was coming thru so we stayed put. We continued to use each day to explore, do chores and get caught up on the blog. We’d been on the lookout for the catamaran, “Great Catsby” at the recommendation of “Sanity Check”, their long time cruising friends. We did see them as we were coming or they were going, but only connected via radio. Delaying our departure allowed us to meet up with this delightful couple, Carol and Rich. We were invited to a delicious shrimp and pasta dinner on board their beautiful cat! We all so met in town on the next stormy day to play cards at Lorraines while sipping in still more rum punch, learning a new game “Hand and Foot” which we’ve played several times since. We’ve also been passing time with other card games, Domino’s and Matinees and After Dinner movies on Dolphin and Que Sera Sera. There are still just not enough hours in the day to enjoy all the options! We were pleased to see Day Light Saving Time so we could enjoy the extra hour before sunset!

The night before we left the Bight Nina talked with a local fisherman that landed several Grouper. He sold us a 4+lb fillet that we barbecued on “River Rat” with a rosemary, garlic and OVO marinade with S&P….it melted in our mouth! And with 6 of us enjoying it we still had half the filet left. We made great fish tacos for all the next day for lunch with flour tortilla’s, red cabbage, chipotle mayo sauce and tomato,green pepper and fresh pineapple salsa! Yet another delicious meal!

The next day as the weather passed we traveled further south along the west side of Big Guana Cay to Whites Point, Hetty land and Little Bay for the promise of more beach exploration, coral head and cave snorkeling and fishing. “River Rat” joined us. The guys were really getting into spear fishing, and perfecting their techniques while the girls were adding to their sea shell and sea glass collections!

The first day at White Point was a windfall for all! The guys speared the first lobster, 5 Lion fish (dangerous to touch but delicious white meat), and a few more Squirrel Fish. Adrien caught a huge, and judging by it’s size, old crab! The ladies scored with hundreds of Sand Dollars in ankle deep water! (Not sure what we’ll do with them!) We collectively prepared for a seafood buffet on “River Rat”. To start our feast Adrien opened the dozen oysters and half the quahogs he’d carried and nursed all the way from West Island!Carl made a zesty cocktail sauce. We weren’t sure what to expect after they had been transported through so many different waters down the coast, but they were delicious and enjoyed by all! All the fish was cooked on the grill and the shellfish steamed in beer and Old Bay! We smacked our lips and licked our fingers digging into another delicious seafood dinner!

“River Rat” parted to head north to pick up guests so we are now back to buddy boating with “Que Sera Sera”. Lauren and Brian a fun couple to be with; we are on a similar schedule to get back to New England in early June and, they laugh at Adrien’s jokes and even join in the punchlines. ” Now, isn’t that a coincidence!!! ” We’ve been discussing the trip to Georgetown,a s it has been both our plans to get there, but with time moving on and weather delays, we are thinking about starting north up the Exuma’s and spending more time exploring the stops we missed and leaving Georgetown and points even further south for our next trip, hopefully with a longer travel window. Heading north at this time will allow us to explore Cambridge, Compass and Shroud and Highbourne, before we jump to the Eleuthera’s and continue up to the Abaco’s.

That pretty much brings you up to date on where we are today. We’re not sure when or where we will be posting next so stay tuned!

In case there is any question in your mind about our adventure and what we hoped for….. It has truly exceeded our every expectation in every way! The people we have met, the places we’ve seen, the experiences…every day, even the 3 cloudy/rainy days , have exceeded our best expectations! while we miss everyone at home, each day is a new experience, and truly a gift! We are so happy we threw off the bow lines, sailed away from safe harbor, caught the trade winds in our sails and continue to Explore, Dream and Discover!!!!

(Note: The shots on this post are in no particular order, there were just too many to share and not enough time to easily organize and label each one. We hope you’ll find them self explanatory. We thought you might like to see more of the community and less of sunsets and beaches, though there are a few! Enjoy!)






































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Big Major’s Spot & Staniel Cay, Monday, Mar 4th

After the blow and lengthy stay in Wardwick Wells, it was time to move on. Several of our friends took an eastern pass to Georgetown, another couple of boats headed north to the Eleuthra’s and Que Sera Sera, Lauren and Brian are the fellow Bostonians we met in Brunswick, joined us to sail a few miles south to Big Major’s Spot. We’d been looking forward to seeing the swimming pigs this Cay is known for and the three big pigs did not disappoint! As boats would approach the beach the pigs would swim out to greet them, grunting all the way with their snouts just above the water line, hoping for food scraps and handouts . Sometimes they would get aggressive and try to climb in to the small inflatables or fiberglass tenders. We spoke with one gentleman who was actually bit on the butt by a pig! Fortunately it tore his shirt, but not his skin or the dinghy!

This area was well protected from Easterly winds and offered 4 nice beaches close by as well as several coral caves and coral heads to snorkel and explore. One of the beaches , “Pirates Beach” , had all sorts of games , tables, beach chairs, fire pit, several barbecue grills, picnic benches…. even a Porta-Potty that could be shrouded by beach towels for privacy ! All these items were donated and left by Cruisers. We played horseshoes, bean bag toss, and relaxed in the chairs in the shade; even planned and held a formal Happy Hour by calling all nearby boats on the VHF radio.

We snorkeled the infamous Thunderball Grotto, ( as seen in the James Bond movie, Thunderball), diving under water to reach the cavernous opening filled with many fish. We , visited nearby Staniel Cay by dink and did some sightseeing and provisioning.

Speaking of provisioning….it’s not what you would think. Most of the “grocery stores” in the Exuma’s get deliveries from Nassau about once a week via the mail boat. They maintain just a few sparsely stocked shelves. (Locals get their own deliveries from family also from Nassau and use these markets as we might use a 7/11, for the bare essentials if the mail boat is delayed. ) i usually see butter, eggs, maybe cream cheese, pasta, brown rice, Mac n’cheese, a few types of canned vege’s and beef stew, a few fresh vegetables like celery, red & green cabbage, green tomatoes, green peppers, carrots, onions and various potatoes. If they have chips they could run $8/ bag! Occasionally I’ll find iceberg lettuce and rarely romaine. Some stores may carry frozen chicken legs, pork chops and hamburger in tubes…..that’s about it! Boy do I miss yogurt! But my provisions are holding out well and we’re getting creative.

We have a new fondness for red cabbage salad, potatoes, egg salad and tuna. I’m enjoying comparing recipes with other Admiral’s (usually the chefs) and learning new ones. We haven’t written much about what we’ve been eating because we’re still in catch up mode, and frankly, can’t remember that far back. We often share meals with those we are traveling with and eat on each others boats. Everyone contributes what we can to round out a meal. We had a delicious dinner on Que Sera Sera the other night. Lauren cooked Italian sausage, stuffed it with mozzarella cheese, wrapped it in Lasagna noodles and toped it with a flavorful homemade pasta sauce, Delicious!

And next to nothing goes to waste. If there are leftovers, they are quickly repurposed for the next meal, ie a side dish of hot quinoa last night becomes a cold salad the next day for lunch by adding some chopped fresh vegetables and whipping up a fresh vinegarette. And improvising is the name of the game! If you want to follow a recipe, forget it…you’ll never have exactly what’s called for…so getting creative with substitutes is a necessity! I never realized how spoiled I was at home. If I didn’t have an ingredient, Adrien or I would run to the store to get it, or it didn’t get made! Ok, Ok, you probably already knew all this but it was news to me !! More on food later!

At Staniel Cay Yacht Club we saw over 15 large Brown Nurse Sharks along the boat slips. The local fisherman drop chum on the water to attract the sharks. When the sharks come in to snack they are followed by smaller fish that swim under the sharks. The fishermen drop a bated hook and quickly nab the smaller fish which they use for bait when they head out for bigger game fish. I don’t think I’ll be swimming in there waters!

Another Cold Front was predicted, winds supposedly coming out of the North, we and about 50 others that sought refuge in the mooring field thought we’d be well protected. Unfortunately the wind came out of the west for a portion of time and it was a very uncomfortable night with lots of rocking and rolling! Two boats lost their dinks and they crashed into the rocky shore. One of them was destroyed; my friend Brian and I rescued the brand new 10 hp 4stoke Outboard Motor that was lying in 3ft of water.

Brian and Adrien did some snorkeling, he speared a Lobster, but it got away. We did land several Squirrel Fish and they ultimately made a great meal. While the guys dove, Lauren and Nina did some beach walking for sea glass and shells and made another pass to see the pigs! They are just so darn cute!

One if my favorite pictures!

Looking North across the mooring field to Fowl Cay, an exclusive all inclusive resort that runs $10k a week for a one bedroom villa….but they are beautiful!

Approaching Staniel Cay

We won’t be swimming here but some visitors are know to swim with them. Nurse sharks aren’t interested in humans.

Colorful Flora, will plug in the name when I find out!

See the Humming Bird at the tip of the lowest branch?

On a walk to the general store

Adrien can’t resist cracking Coconuts!

Sentiments at a small watering hole!

Just a pretty view!

Outside the Grotto. We visited at slack high tide to avoid being pulled by the current but it was too difficult to get a camera inside to show this cool spot!

Yes, another sunset!

When there is a problem, two heads in the bilge is better than one! Everyone helps each other, and as you might suspect Adrien is VERY helpful!!

A proud resume for Staniel Cay!

Impromptu Happy Hour on Pirate Beach

We never miss a Happy Hour!

20130319-155530.jpgOK, the last sunset for this post!

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Norman Cay to Wardwick Wells

Wardwick Wells Cay, North Mooring Field was our next stop. It marks the northern most mooring fields in the Exumas Land and Sea Park that was established in 1958 as a land and sea protected area. The park is 22 miles long and extends 4 miles on either side of 15 Cays. Its purpose is to provide a safe haven and replenishment area for native species. It’s a “No Take Zone”. Fishing, shelling, conching, lobstering and hunting are prohibited, fines apply! So you guessed it, conch, lobster and shells on the beach are beautiful specimens and they are living to ripe old age!

The local wildlife is very friendly and accustom to being hand fed, even though there are no fee signs.

– Banana Quid, like yellow finches, visit the Park Rangers Office whenever there are folks on the deck.

-Lizards abound on the trails and beaches, some curly tail, some straight tail. They smell food a mile away and will eat out of your hand as well.

-Hutia, near extinction some time ago, they were brought into the park to help them replenish their population, and with no natural predictors, they have. Nocturnal, I saw a few come out of the bushes during a Beach Happy Hour but it was too dark to get a good shot of them. About the size of a big guinea pig with wiry brown hair, apparently they are now the cause of dying foliage over a good portion of the island.

-No snakes, ticks or mosquitoes. We could walk the island and trapse through brush without a worry!

We planned to stay 3 days, but the predicted weather of Squalls and strong North winds kept us there for 9 very enjoyable days. It was a delight to meet the Park Stewards, Jen and Andrew , and absorb all the info they provided us about the area. The days a now a bit of a blur, but here are some of the highlights in no particular order:

#10 -Saturday Night Happy Hours, met some wonderful cruisers, and enjoyed some very special culinary dishes;

#9-A large soft sandbar at low tide, within 50 ft of our mooring, complete with a resident Giant Leopard Ray and lots of San dollars. Too bad we couldn’t collect them! It was great exercise walking thru sun-warmed knee deep water.

#8-Hiking trails that covered the entire island and led to vistas and secluded beaches.

#7-Blow Holes, like Old Faithful, pluming air and sea water high into the sky as Easterly swells crashed into the caverns on the rocky, jagged shore.

#6-Many snorkeling areas with lots of coral fauna , many resident Lion fish , Lobsters , Parrot fish, Angel fish, etc, etc, and 2 four foot sharks !

#5-On a cold cloudy day Nina relearned to play Mexican Train on “My Pleasure” with the girls and won! (Thanks Barbara Bush for the great training at Thanksgiving!)

#4-Boo Boo Hill. One of the trails leads across Banchee Creek and up a rocky hill to a peak, now a memorial commentating a sinking a ship and loss of her crew many years ago. Over the years cruisers have left mementos of their visit and because of the rules of the park, “Take Nothing, Leave Nothing”, its got to be made of something natural, ie driftwood, shells, etc. You’ll see what we left in the pictures below.

#3- Spending relaxing exploration journies with a”Nemo” and reuniting with “Nancy Lu”, “Que Sara Sara”,” Bob Ra Ann” and “My Pleasure”‘ and enjoying their company on long walks, cocktails, dinners and games.

#2-The luxury of sleeping late and not having to get up at 6:30 AM to listen to Chris Parker for a weather update every morning!!

The #1 reason we loved Wardwick Wells…..The protection of a secure mooring thru a 3 day blow!!!<br /

Great view of Wardwick Wells

Park Rangers office

Banana Quid

Happy Hour at the Beach

Wardwick Wells Sunset

Sand Bar , view from the Park Office

Hike to Boo Boo Hill

Banchee Creek at Low Tide

View from Boo Boo Hill

Memorial on Boo Boo Hill

“Don’t jump Adrien!!!”

Northern point

We’re still smiling!

Looking for lunch!

Another Wardwick Wells Sunset

Hike to Blow Holes thru Banchee Creek at high tide

Marilyn Monroe blow hole!

Southern view of Wardwick Wells

Dolphin’s Plaque on Boo Boo Hill

We’ll never tire of this view!

20130318-163627.jpgMy handsome Captain!

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