Goodbye Exumas, Hello Eleuthera…

Happy Easter ! ! ! Well it wasn’t a traditional Easter, that’s for sure. We left our anchorage and had a fantastic 50 mile sail up to Rock Harbor Sound in Southern Eleuthera. There is truly nothing better than the wind blowing from the east at 15 knots when you are traveling north – it was perfect! We finished the day dropping the anchor and Becky topping her Christmas Prime Rib with a Bacon-wrapped Pork Tenderloin… that plus a great Scribe Chardonnay sealed an Easter Sunday that we will not soon forget… but where have we been since we left Great Exuma?

A little grainy, but this is Easter Dinner on Intermezzo anchored in Rock Sound.

We left great Exuma the day after St Patricks Day – clearly we were responsible adults the night before to get up early and start the trip north. Our first stop was Lee Stocking Island – home of the abandoned Marine Science Lab that Tali mentioned in her blog. It is very difficult to understand how it is better/cheaper/makes sense to abandon all of those assets. The foundation that ran it still exists, but details on why the island was left the way it was are scarce.

There must have been over 30 fish tanks… while dirty, in fine condition.

Chris was a little too nosey, he entered the office to get a closer look at the files and then heard a rather loud creak and felt the floor bend a little too much… time to leave that building…

From Lee Stocking Island, we dropped the hook off of Rudder Cut Cay – home of the sunken Steinway being played by a Mermaid. We had lunch, launched the dinghy and went exploring, killing time for slack tide, which is really the only time to snorkel the piano (unless you are Michael Phelps and want to swim in a resistance pool). We took the dinghy over to Musha Cay (David Copperfield’s island) to see it from a distance – no landing permitted. There were also some great caves to explore, and at low tide, you could bring the dinghy right in and beach it. The piano and mermaid did not disappoint – it is actually Savy’s top spot for the trip.

“Savy – keep away from the clear water – it’s a sand bar…”. It was like a magnet for her… Definitely dinghy captain in her future though.

This was weird – they both finished driving the dinghy and we were repositioning when we turned around and Tali and Savy were sitting there, “waiting for their closeup!” Both of them willing participants in a picture, it had to be taken!

Mom and girls in the cave…

We picked up the anchor the next morning and headed back to Little Farmer’s Cay (remember the story of the captain who ended up getting stuck high and dry with the tide). We stayed on the other side of the island this time and did some more exploring. Tali’s blog covers much of the details (by the way, have you noticed that she is getting ahead of us… hmmmm – wonder who the slackers are in this family : ). The one point of Little Farmers that is worth expanding on, though, is the history. The island was settled by a freed slave with her two sons, Michael Nixon and Adam Brown. They later purchased the island from the British Crown. The original settlers willed the land to their descendants, who to this day can build on the island, but not sell to outsiders. The conversations that we had with the residents were one more interesting than the other… everyone (except one person) is family on the island. The island is just not that big – I can’t imagine a family squabble…

Tali and Savy petting the sea turtle… It was amazing that a few taps on a conch shell brought these animals in from the bay to be fed and pet.

We spent a few days at Little Farmers to wait for some weather to come through and then it was off to Staniel Cay to catch up with friends that were finishing their spring break vacation with family. It was great to catch up with folks from home, but really – the best part was seeing the girls get to play with their friends. Since they had a powerboat, we were able to move far further in an afternoon than we could sail in a day. We headed up to Compass Cay to swim with the Sharks and hike to Rachel’s Bubble Bath. It was a fantastic day!

Those smiles were the theme of the visit.

You have to swim with the sharks when you visit the Exumas, but I’m not sure Savy expected him to swim that close ; ). Check out those kicks!!!!

So we’ve gone from a pet dog, to a pet pig, to now a pet shark?

Girls hiking up the tidal stream to Rachel’s Bubble Bath.

Hanging out in the Bubble Bath created by waves breaking over the rocks.

Our stay at Staniel finished with our niece, Jenna, joining us from Nashville. This is a big deal – to have weather, schedule, (and Pluto) align to have someone meet us to spend a few nights on the boat has been near impossible, but Jenna made it ! ! !

Cockpit selfie with Jenna…

We left Staniel Cay and headed next door to Big Majors to revisit the Pigs and the Thunderball Gotto. We didn’t quite time the Grotto right with the tide (insert Michael Phelps reference here), so we had to abandon… however, the pigs did not disappoint.

Remember the pig that Tali was holding from a couple posts back? He grew up a bit in the past month!

We picked up anchor early the next day to head to Cambridge Cay, back into the National Park. It was a nice motor sail, until we rounded the corner to get into the north side of the anchorage. There was only a 400 yard piece of raging water with breaking waves separating us… darn current running against wind. We joke, we’ll have it all figured out for next time (ha ha ha!!!). So we did a u-turn (literally) and headed for what ended up being our first private anchorage in the Bahamas off of Obrien’s Cay. It was one of those situations where we looked at each other, looked at the chart, made sure that we were only a few hundred yards away from two top snorkeling spots and wondered why no one was there… we dropped the hook, waited for slack tide (getting the theme of snorkeling in the Bahamas at this point about the tides) and headed out to the Aquarium (which literally looks like you are swimming in a fish tank), and a plane wreck. The girls loved it and we have to admit – the Aquarium is some of the best snorkeling we’ve seen.

After a great night of stargazing in our private anchorage, we picked up the anchor the next morning and turned back south (momentarily) for Black Point on Great Guana Island – a must stop for cruisers. We dropped the anchor, launched the dingy and headed in to explore the town. Jenna’s flight left the next morning, so we did not have a lot of time to explore, but did walk the main street. It took us a while to figure it out, but there was something very unique about this town. The restaurants/bars/hangouts, were all on the street. The owners’ houses were behind the bars/restaurants, on the water with the view. So the proverbial happy hour overlooking the harbor for sunset did not exist, except for a nice gazebo behind the laundromat – yes you read that right. So what does this crowd do, go into one of the bars, without a view, pick up some roadies (which, BTW, needed to be poured in plastic cups because they could not technically serve alcohol until 6PM on Good Friday), walked back to the gazebo and enjoyed the breeze and the view. Finished up the day with happy hour and snacks with fellow cruisers and then headed back to the boat.

Black Point is not far from Staniel Cay, where we needed to drop off Jenna, so we rolled out the genoa and had a very slow and relaxing downwind sail. We anchored, had lunch and Chris dinghy’d Jenna into the airport. We did some last provisioning ashore, hoisted the dinghy and prepared for our offshore trip up the Exuma Sound.

As we write this, we have stumbled onto another Bahamian tradition – homecoming… so we are downwind of Rock Sound Homecoming – smells fantastic and sounds great!

Happy Easter to everyone…

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