Monday, 31 December 2012

No 43 The Bahamas

Hi from Clare,                                                   Sunday 31st December 2012

Before leaving Nassau we managed to buy a new 8hp outboard for the dinghy. Andrew is very pleased and for the moment we speed everywhere with me bouncing up and down on the seat; fortunately the trip is quick. I'm sure once we know exactly what the new outboard is capable of we will slow down to a more leisurely pace. Andrew was hoping for a trade in on our 5hp outboard but as they say in the classics 'tell him he's dreaming' certainly not in Nassau. So the 5hp is now in the locker and we are hoping for a private sale before leaving the Bahamas. The buckets we removed from the locker to fit the outboard are now in the bathroom along with additional fuel drums; having a shower is becoming a balancing act!

We departed Nassau last Saturday and we have spent the week slowly making our way along the Exuma Cays. We visited Highborne Cay, Shroud Cay, Hawkesbill Cay, Cambridge Cay and Big Majors Spot at Staniel Cay. Most of these places we have been to before but it is a lovely part of the world. The weather has been terrific with clear skies, sunny days with the temperature in the high twenties. The aqua clear sea water is spectacular; we can stand on the bow and see our anchor and thirty metres of chain.

Highborne Cay Resort beach and a couple of lost tourists waiting.

The highlights have been strolling around the private island of Highborne, taking our high speed dinghy through the mangroves at Shroud Cay, sunbaking at Hawkesbill, snorkelling at Cambridge and socializing at Staniel Cay. We are currently anchored off Big Majors Spot (Staniel Cay) with many other cruisers. Andrew said "even our friend Steve is here, you all know Steve - Steven Spielberg". His $200 million mega yacht Seven Seas is about 286 ft long, 44 ft wide and has multi levels. It has a fun water slide from the top deck into the sea and a string of water toys attached to the back of the boat (ship). Today is windy so the guests are wind surfing. They have white gazebos and sun lounges erected behind the hill on a small and private island close by; way to go! Now they are all off in a sea plane that has turned up near-by.

Shroud Cay mangroves and Steven's yacht "Seven Seas"

We had a very enjoyable Christmas. We started the day with a very pleasant 27 miles sail to Staniel Cay to be with Kiwi friends Peter and Raewyn on "Saliander". I cooked an Aussie rack of lamb and roast vegies for dinner on Eye Candy and then we went over to "Saliander" for coffee and cake. There were seven of us altogether and with good company and a few laughs it was a perfect Christmas evening.
"Saliander" left the next morning for Cuba and we backtracked to Cambridge Cay for some snorkelling and solitude on lovely deserted beaches. The tropical fish and coral gardens are very pretty and the sunsets are stunning. At night it is dead quiet and very peaceful. The park ranger came by to wish us a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday. He had a friend with a gun from the Royal Bahamian Defence Force, he wished us a Merry Christmas also then left - phew!

Peter and Raewyn and the the Christmas gang on "Saliander"

Cambridge Cay deserted ocean beach

We have now returned to Big Majors Spot at Staniel Cay. You may recall when here in June I took photos of the pigs that swim out to the boats for food scraps. Yesterday a group of young people got out of their dinghy to hand feed them. The biggest pig would weigh around 100 kg and back in June one of the pigs bit our friend Kortney on the butt. We were happy to stay some distance away and just watch.
Once again we snorkelled Thunder-ball Cave; this is a well publicized and popular spot. Fortunately we arrived in time to go through the cave before the crowd. There are many tropical fish that hang there away from the current and the light from the cave opening is aqua blue. Outside the cave there is beautiful soft coral growing on the walls. By the time we left the area was teaming with people and unfortunately due to all the flapping fins we could see the damage to the coral since our first visit in 2004.

We will stay here a few more days before continuing along the Exumas. We casually know quite a few people here and so there is no shortage of interest.
We wish all a happy, safe and prosperous 2013.

Love Candy xx

At 7:18 PM30/12/2012 (utc) our position was 24°11.07'N 076°27.61'W

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