Not Ready to Go North

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In Shroud, we only had a day or two worth of water and food left.  The logical thing to do would have been to continue heading north and eventually reach Nassau.  However, we were feeling like we weren’t quite ready to be done with the Exumas.  We were enjoying all the snorkeling, quiet beaches and exploring.  So we made the shocking decision to sail south 30 miles to Staniel Cay, where we could refill our water and pick up a few groceries.  I think we were a little nervous to return to Staniel Cay, where we had experienced that horrible squall a few weeks prior.  We wanted to make it a quick turnaround so no sooner than the anchor was set, Paul took off in the dingy to start jerry jugging water from the marina.  We were reunited with our friends on s/v Free Spirit and the kids were really happy to have friends again.  The grocery situation in Staniel Cay isn’t wonderful, but after picking up what we could find, we were off the next day.  With “Free Spirit” we headed back up to Little Halls Pond island (yes, that is the one that belongs to Johnny Depp!) and back into the Exuma Sea Park. This anchorage is a very narrow space between the island and a sand bar with a strong current flowing through.  After about 3 attempts, we finally got our anchor to set (the first two times our anchor was laying upside down – doesn’t work very well like that!).  However with a strong wind and current, it was nerve racking having our anchor sit beside us because the current and wind couldn’t decide which was stronger.  After snorkeling at the Aquarium twice (our fav), we were happy to head to Cambridge Cay and pick up a mooring.

In Cambridge, thanks to Marsha on Free Spirit, we met a motorboat named Oasis and so began our fabulous day with Dan.  Dan had all the toys a man could want and was more than happy to share them.  In addition to having a fabulously large 50+ foot motorboat with air conditioning, a real house size fridge and dishwasher, he invited both boats (4 adults and 6 children) for happy hour.  The kids were loving the boat tour and picking out which cabin would be theirs.  After not seeing fresh fruit in weeks, the kids devoured the sliced apples Trisha put out. Dan then set up this great inflatable sailing dingy and let Paul and the kids take it out for a spin.  He then asked us if we wanted aerial photos of our boat, to which we responded, “of course”.  He then flew his drone around our boat while we all stood giddily on deck waving.  The day with Dan ended with a night snorkel for Paul.  I was more than happy to stay on the boat and watch the kids, while they headed out at 9pm to snorkel.  Paul has done night dives before so he was quite excited about this adventure.  He got to see all the different creatures that come out at night, including an octopus.   We felt very fortunate to have met Dan and Trisha on Oasis and for their fabulous hospitality.

We visited Rachel’s Bubbles on neighboring Compass Cay, where at high tide waves come crashing over the rocks into a natural tidal pool.  The kids got lots of practice treading water as they awaited the “bubbles” and waves.  We did a few hikes on Cambridge Cay and of course enjoyed the beach time.  We were sad to say another goodbye, to Free Spirit as we each went our separate ways.  We headed back up to Warderick Wells, one of our favourite places and the kids were happy to hang out on the sand bars, enjoy the free kayaks and snorkel.  The tradition here is to leave a piece of driftwood with your name on it at the top of Bobo Hill.  We hadn’t left anything the first time we visited, but we had acquired a great piece of driftwood and the kids enjoyed decorating it with our boat name and placing it on the pile at the top of the hill.  We then headed north to Norman’s Cay, best known for being the headquarters of Carlos Lehder’s drug smuggling in the ‘70s and ‘80s.  There is a wrecked DC-3 plane that we visited and took the dingy into Norman’s pond, which is apparently a breeding ground for hammerhead sharks, although we didn’t see any.  The anchorage here had a bad swell making sleeping uncomfortable so we headed north to our last stop in the Exumas, Highbourne Cay.  By this point in time, we were quickly running out of water and food again and really looking forward to Nassau.  After a night in Highbourne, we headed for Nassau.

Up next: Indulging in a real grocery store, Starbucks and our visit to Atlantis.

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Rachel’s Bubbles, Compass Cay




Cambridge Cay hike



Fun with Dan’s sailing dingy


Settlers of Catan arrived on our boat at Easter





A little bit of school on the sail to Nassau


Captain Dad


Nassau approach


Just a few nurse sharks


Easter K’nex creation




Booboo Hill creation


Spectacular Warderick Wells


Leaving our mark


Hog Cay, Warderick Wells


Our monkey


He got a bit tired


Rainy sail to Nassau

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