Today we took the dinghy to this place called Rachel’s Bubble Bath. After we anchored, we hiked through water about a quarter mile up to a natural waterfall created by waves flowing through a coral rock canyon and splashing over a larger rock creating a bubble bath effect. You can swim up to a rock and wait to be blasted back by waves. We stayed for 2 ½ hours – it was a great way to spend my birthday – Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
We are in a slip in Georgtown and we are overstimulated with the “big city”. They even have a Shop Rite here.
We had engine trouble at our last stop – Black Point – which is the jumping off point before you set out for the all day sail to Georgetown. We had a hole in our exhaust hose and Matt worked his magic and 3 ½ hours later we were on our way. We set out early this morning for Georgetown and arrived at sunset. There are three hundred kajillion cruisers anchored out in the harbor with us. Conch sounds abound.
After Thunderball, we went to feed the pigs back near the boat. Again, you don’t go ashore, they are trained to listen for the sound of your dinghy motor and they swim out to you. They are enormous and scary – about 4 ft long and 2 ft wide with HUGE snouts and yucky noises. We have been saving scraps for about a week and you have to have it ready so you can throw it to them when they are still a few feet away because they will come right up to the dink and put their hooves right on it and they can puncture it. It was quite an experience. Note to Meredith Lemke, Graham says, “Pigs really do swim!” I think the rotten cucumber was the biggest challenge for Pig Number Three. When we arrived back at the boat, Graham had a short swim around the boat while Matt checked the bottom. Graham encountered both a shark and a barracuda — all this before school started today and we still got two days worth of school done.
As always we end the day in the cockpit watching out for the green flash to happen as the sun sets on the water. So far, there is no joy in Mudville, but we know it will happen because saw it in Antigua seven years ago. When the sun is set, the conch horns start blowing – hollowed out conch shells fashioned into horns that people blow from one boat to another – a cacophony of different pitches to signify happy hour, or day’s end or just plain beauty.
Today we went to Thunderball Grotto where the James Bond (Sean Connery) movie was filmed. There is no beach, you just dinghy over and hook onto a mooring ball with others. You snorkel into the cave opening at slack tide and bring food – cereal, canned veggies, we brought corn. Once inside the cave you have to be careful that the current doesn’t push you up against the walls. The cave is big but the ceiling has caved in so it’s lit up naturally. Reef fish abound – colored fish, striped fish, one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish! Once they see your food you have to get a restraining order against them to stay away. Graham kept throwing the corn away from him and they would swim and eat it and then come right back to him. There were so many of them that when I swam, my hands touched them in bunches. Then Graham swam through this tiny hole in the wall outside the cave that was not visible to my naked eye from the dinghy about 25 feet away – he ended up inside as he had taken the same escape route as Sean Connery!
Today is February 17, 2012 – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTER IN LAW SUSAN GRAY!!!
WE CONTINUE OUR WAY DOWN THROUGH THE Exumas and are currently anchored with about 50 other cruisers at Big Major in between Staniel Cay and Samson Cay. The water here is amazing – it looks like we are in one endless aqua swimming pool. Some of the boats are so large that they have water slides from the top that dump people in the water. We are waiting here for a weather window to continue our way down to Georgetown in Great Exuma. We made some friends in Highbourne and have followed them to the next two stops. Our next stop was Compass Cay with Rachel’s Bubble Bath (detailed in Graham’s blog) and also where we tried to impress Johnny Depp with our Pirates of the Caribbean towel but he wasn’t around that day. Matt also went swimming with the sharks in Compass Cay – about 20! Not for the faint of heart.
Our first day at Big Major, we splashed the dink and went into Staniel Cay. As we were doing this against the current, we were soaking wet by the time we got there and had to go into the yacht club (bar) and buy clothes for Graham. The first thing we saw in the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, among the many burgees, was a life ring that said “FLOATING INTEREST” so a little shout out to the Drozdowskis and their boat at home. In Staniel, we went to the grocery stores where things were up to 5 years out of date, eggs were cracked, the limes were brown and the people were kind. So we treated ourselves to dinner.
Everyone told us about the Park and how spectacular it is. Pictures really don’t do it justice. The Park was founded in 1958 and is a carefully preserved slice of Bahamian islands and reefs. By law, nothing can be taken, not even a shell. In order to protect the reefs and underwater life in general, the park encourages the use of moorings. They even have numerous moorings for dinghies so that you can snorkel from your dinghy without dropping a potentially damaging anchor. The picture here is Troubadour (the sixth boat from the left) on a mooring in Warderick Wells Cay.
The current rips through here at up to 5 knots. However, at slack tide you can snorkel in 6-10 feet of water. Graham and I snorkeled here but forgot the camera. Of course that meant that we saw several cool things including the largest lobster we have seen in the wild and eight Eagle Rays. It is by far the most beautiful place we have seen in the Bahamas.
Graham and I climbed Boo Boo Hill to leave a token of our visit, which is a cruising tradition. When we got there Graham found another nameplate from another Troubadour.
From here we plan to head for Cambridge Cay and Compass Cay for more snorkeling and Rachel’s Bubble Bath. The we send Graham to feed the sharks.
It’s been forever since I wrote. I think Matt reported that we have left Marsh Harbour and traveled south to the Exumas. We traveled 20 miles the first day and then had to stay put on anchor – never going ashore – for four days waiting for our next weather window. Luckily we are celebrating Graham’s birth week and we are all enjoying his daily presents (videos). After a week of travel we stopped in Highbourne Cay – a private island with a very small and fancy marina. We were the only sailboat – all other big power yachts. Matt and Graham took the dinghy to nearby Allen’s Cay where iguanas run wild and come out to be fed – they are everywhere!
I was back on the beach with my book and did a little swimming until I went to watch a fisherman cleaning his haul and saw a million big (8-9 feet) sharks in a feeding frenzy – just off from where I had been swimming!
We went to dinner with a lovely couple from Florida who told us of some great places to go on our route. We all had a Mahi which was the freshest I’ve ever had. I replenished our supplies to an extent but paper towels – which we desperately need and were $1 in Marsh Harbour – are $7 here. The eggs were $7. Water from a hose was 50 cents a gallon. But all in all it was a beautiful island and we were glad for the break to be on land and talking to people other than each other . Now we are at the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park and we will spend at least three days waiting for a weather window. There is a lot to see here. There is only one building, no trash, just nature. There are two whale skeletons near the office and one is huge! There are some of the most beautiful and private beaches here and amazing nature walks. This internet only lasts for a little bit so we might not get info up again for a while.
Amy, Matt and Graham