Returning to Great Exuma Island

Ambler Isle
V and S
Sat 16 May 2009 21:12
23:43.50N 76:02.05W

May 14, 2009
As the winds increased, nearing 20 knots, the seas began to kick up, too. We decided to go back to Rat Cay where Jack and Judy could meet up with Vencil, our taxi connection, for the return trip to the airport. The waves were growing and were about 8', but we were going with them, so the following seas created a gentle roll and were not uncomfortable. We anchored again off Rat Cay. Unable to go snorkeling on the outer reefs, or even to go fishing, we instead toured the area with the dinghy. Barrier islands ring this anchorage creating a "bowl" inside. The far side of the bay is the settlement of Barreterre, population 70. The coast line is ragged and craggy rocks. Small beaches dot the landscape, but nothing like long miles of beaches on Conception Island. We landed at one beach near a big blow hole. Water and vapor spewed out when the waves from the ocean entered some interior caverns, shooting 20' into the air. With the glass bottomed "look" bucket, we were able to view the seabed below. Sometimes there were coral heads, usually grass and sand. Tired and windblown, we returned to the Amber Isle for lunch. The guys went back out to drift fish the cut. But the waves were now 12-15' and impassable, so they had to give up.
Saturday morning we went into the settlement and had lunch at "The Same Ole Place". Our hosts, Vincent and wife Varachela fed us grouper fingers and conch. A typical Bahamian bar and grill it also served as a local gathering place. A group of local men played a game of dominos in the corner and another played pool. A few others milled around. Vincent is a diver, and offered to take us diving for fish sometime. What fun. We'd surely take him up on his offer next year. Everyone took a moment to greet us and welcome us to Barreterre.
As we returned to the boat, we went into the cut we would need to exit to leave this anchorage. Yesterday it was a washing machine, today it was almost 2/3 less intense. Tomorrow would be a good travel day if the winds continued to subside. We'd head northwest for Staniel Cay some 70 miles away to meet up with son David and his wife Karen on Tuesday.