Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Exuma Park

The short blog I wrote yesterday worked fine so here goes again.

We received e-mail but so far can’t send any.

There is a morning weather report at 6:30 eastern time which begins with emergency traffic, if any. We listen to the report almost every morning on our SSB receiver. So the quickest way to get an urgent message to us is to have your local ham radio operator tune to 4045khz at the above time and pass the message to Chris Parker who operates the weather net. If we miss the broadcast, some friends will undoubtedly get the message and relay it to us.

I found the fittings required to install the new filter, and then we left Nassau and anchored for the night on the south side of Rose Island. Very nice anchorage. Then we left late morning in order to cross the Yellow Bank during the mid-day sun so we could see the coral heads. They are very black and stand out strong in good light so we weaved a few times and made it through easily. I stood on the bow and called out course corrections to Kathy at the helm. Wouldn’t want to try it in bad light though. We motored 20 minutes and sailed 5 hours and 10 minutes to cover 30 miles at an average speed of 5.4kts. Winds were NE 10-15. There were a few other sailboats around but we weren’t traveling with anyone.

In the Allans Cay anchorage we met up with Cat Lady (Mike and Jan on a Gemini Catamaran) and Shamrock, and had dinner on Cat Lady with an additional couple as well. We prepared sushi using a Little Tunny I caught on a silver spoon, and added that to the potluck of Barracuda and sailfish. Rum, beer, and wine completed the evening with Mike performing a wonderful recitation from The Chocolate Factory. Rachel followed that up with her latest memorized poem from schoolwork.

The next day, Wednesday the 21st, we saw the famed iguanas. Took photos from as little as 1 foot away. You could grab one and throw him on the Barbie before he knew what was up if they weren’t protected. The big ones probably weigh 5 pounds. I bet they taste like chicken.

I cleaned the hull in 200 feet of visibility. Shot 5 squirrelfish for dinner with the new polespear. Bony but tasty. The grouper and snapper were very wary as there were other spearfishermen about and this is a heavily visited reef. Kathy and Rachel finished school and then joined me on the reef for more sightseeing. We didn’t see any lobster.

Thursday it blew 5-10 from the north, but this is a good anchorage with calm water. The 3 of us snorkeled on the reef again, and I shot a schoolmaster snapper and a glasseye snapper for dinner.

On Friday we took the dinghy to SW Allans Cay to see more iguanas. They looked the same as on the other island. Prehistoric. You could use trick photography and shoot a movie with Raquel Welch in it here. (Am I dating myself?). Departed at noon for Norman’s Cay and had a nice downwind sail with jib alone in the north 10. We went ashore on a small island with an old drug runner lookout. There is a crashed drug running plane in shallow water here, but it looked too rusty and dangerous to swim around. This area was a hotspot of cocaine smuggling about 20 years ago.

Saturday morning we toured Norman’s Cay, walking along the beach then across the airport and back to the dinghy. Winds were shifting to the east and this isn’t a good anchorage in an east wind so we left for the west side of Shroud Cay only 5 miles away as the east wind increased to 15. We had a comfortable night with a few other boats, and then went ashore to visit the well. The water tasted good so we rinsed off the saltwater from out swim on the beach and carried a 5 gallon jug of water back to the boat. Then we took the dinghy on a cross island trip up a shallow mangrove canal to the breakers on the east side of the island. It was blowing east 15-20. We stayed too long and had a tough dinghy ride back through the shallow water in poor light, but made it back to Stardust in time for happy hour and Rachel’s blowing of the conch at sunset.

The wind shifted more to the south and our anchorage became rough so we left the next morning for Warderick Wells Cay. This is the most beautiful place yet. Great anchorage (mooring for $15/night, actually), beaches, reefs, hiking, history, water, fish, lobster, and friendly rangers and boaters in this national park.

It didn’t rain yesterday, but the weather will be unsettled for a few days so we’re still hoping to catch some rain to replenish our tanks.

Our next stop will be Staniel Cay, and we want to figure out the mail protocol and have mail sent there if possible. Also, if this long report goes through I may try to send a photo or two.


Anonymous Mark Mocho said...

Jim, Kathy & Rachel,

Been catching up on your blog. Sounds like incredible adventure. I'm jealous, especially since we had 14 inches of snow in ABQ over Christmas & New Year's. Now we're getting into the windy season. Sure hope we get some soaring soon!

Best wishes & love to all,

Mark Mocho

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

In 1983, Wall of Voodoo had a underground hit song called "Mexican Radio".
"I wish I was in Tiajuana,
eating barbecued iguana..."
Now I have been dated!

5:51 AM  
Blogger J.C. Brown said...

Great Blog, sounds like the pirate's life agrees with you! Me Blog too!

7:39 AM  

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