This cruising year has been an unusual one. Our later start, longer prep, and goal to get back a little earlier than in past years resulted in a very short time in the Exumas … scarcely over two weeks. But that said, any time spent in the Exumas is good time. We were able to visit all or our favorite haunts, plus enjoy some great times with several of our cruising friends from Minnesota and beyond.
Rather than bore those who have followed our previous trips to the Bahamas, we’ll make this post more about pictures and people than a cruising chronology. But to set the stage, the following was our itinerary:
- Depart Nassau on 3/19 for one night at Shroud
- Sail down to Big Majors near Staniel Cay on 3/20, connecting with Rose Hanselmeyer and Tom McMaster on Sojourn and Jerry Cucci and Diane England on Nightstar, followed later by Bob and Judy Snyder on Greenstone, Wally and Connie Waffensmith on Summer of 42, Jim and Ellie Watson on Last Tango, and John and Nora Mayo on Saber Tooth.
- Sail from Big Majors up to Cambridge Cay on 3/23 – most of the above also migrated to Cambridge for a few days there, but some moved on either south or north. We spent a week in Cambridge. Also joining us there were Canadian cruising friends Paul and Elizabeth on Liesel.
- Sail on the Exuma Sound (ocean) side up to Warderick Wells on 3/30. Summer of 42 and Nightstar also moved up to Warderick where we were all lucky to snare a mooring ball in the north mooring field.
- North to Shroud on 4/3 in company with Summer of 42 (Nightstar had departed the prior day, heading for Ft. Lauderdale in three jumps).
- Back across the banks to Nassau from Shroud on 4/4.
About half way across the banks under partly cloudy skies, as we crossed to Shroud Cay from Nassau we saw our first waterspout while at sea. Waterspouts are fairly common in the summer months down in Florida and the Bahamas, but this is the first one we’d personally seen in our winter-spring travels down this way.
Waterspouts are small tornado-like phenomena. Being fairly small (narrow) they’re less likely to cause damage than the Midwestern tornadoes we’re more familiar with, but they do pack pretty hefty circular winds. Luckily per our radar the cell generating the spout remained at least 5 miles or so to our east. The spout dissipated after several minutes, but did give us a chance to snag the accompanying photo.
One of the best things about cruising is the many friendships one makes. Some of course are longtime friends initially met over the years while cruising on Lake Superior,
but while cruising we also continually meet and make new friends. The associated snapshots capture two of those cruising moments with good friends sitting around cockpits for for sundowners.
Impromptu Beach Gatherings:
End of day beach gatherings including everyone in the anchorage is a fairly common occurrence. These pics capture the fun at both Cambridge Cay and Warderick Wells.
One is tempted to think cruising is a sedentary activity, but between raising and adjusting sails, cranking winches, picking up moorings, raising and lowering the dingy, and similar spurts of activity while underway, a lot of exploring goes on both ashore and in the water. We particularly enjoy hiking, and some of the trails in the Exumas offer plenty of exercise with the reward of some beautiful views, as these pictures attest. Bill typically destroys a pair of boat shoes each season from hiking on the sharp limestone found throughout the Exumas.
While at Warderick Wells we scoured the sign pile at BooBoo Hill where cruisers typically leave boat-name carvings on driftwood, but our Jubilee plaque, on the hill since 2009 and last seen in 2014, was nowhere to be found. Wally and Connie Waffensmith easily found their Summer of 42 plaque (see photo), but ours must have been lost the to the winds, hopelessly buried, or perhaps “re-used” by another cruiser as their own. The accompanying picture shows our now-lost plaque as it was in 2014.
We didn't get in a lot of snorkeling on this trip, but did manage to explore the coral gardens at Warderick as well as the south beach at Cambridge Cay. Our Cambridge excursion got a little exciting when we weren't watching our time or location very well and found ourselves getting into the Conch Cut’s ebb current. Quickly swimming perpendicular to the current we hung on to a limestone “peninsula” jutting out from Cambridge where Bill was able to pull himself around to a point where he could climb onto the point. Judy found a little pocket where she could also climb onto the rock. We waited there for about an hour for the current to ease, then re-entered the water and swam back to the beach with only a few leg cuts from the sharp limestone as “souvenirs” of our adventure.
There are so many scenic views in this area, each one seemingly more beautiful than the last. Here are two of our favorites from this year, both taken at Shroud Cay.
Back in Nassau:
While in Nassau we explored the Fort Montague park near the marina. It was fun, if not a little disconcerting (double click on the photo to see all the flies on the fish) watching the fish being cut up for sale. We passed. Fish head soup with fly a-la-mode anyone???
A special treat while in Nassau was happening across Italian cruising friends Alfredo and Nicoletta Giacon from the sailing vessel Jancris while at the Starbucks near the marina. We first met them back in 2008 along Quebec’s Gaspe’ Peninsula, cruised in company through much of the Maritimes, later connected again at Annapolis and then re-connected again a few years later here in the Bahamas. It was great seeing them again.
To wrap up this post, below is a screen snap of our Exumas track this season. As you can see our Exumas cruise wasn't too ambitious this year, focusing more on enjoying a few longer stops with good friends at our favorite haunts than on making miles.
Next Leg … Back to Brunswick:
On Tuesday April 7th we’re planning to set off for Brunswick, with indeterminate stops along the way. Stay tuned for our next post in a week or so.