Cruising North

Ambler Isle
V and S
Mon 16 May 2011 11:54
We continue our journey back north with son David, his wife Karen and their daughter Jacq.  It is a good trip for them: lots of snorkeling and things to do along the way.  We spend a day or so at each island, then move on.  We left Staniel Cay, stopped at Sampson Cay for a little diesel fuel.  Cost?  $5.72 per gallon for diesle, $6.20 a gallon for dinghy gas.  Next we went to Bell Island and anchored.  The best holding was near the development there.  Rumors abound and most say the island was purchased by an Arabian Sheik.  There were bull dozers and heavy equipment running.  But we stopped there to be near two attractions.  Rocky Dundas is a grotto to snorkel into.  Inside the rocky cay is a huge high ceilinged room.  The Sea Aquarium is a natural coal reef in a cove inhabited by thousands of fish.  Inside the Exuma Land and Sea Park boundaries, there is no fishing allowed.  After snorkeling to our heart's content, we pulled anchor and continued north another 11 miles to Hawksbill Cay.   We set up  chairs on the beach and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon.  Next morning we continued on 11 more miles to Norman's Cay.  There we could go ashore and walk, explore the drug era ruins, revisit the sunken airplane, and enjoy a conch lunch at McDuff's.  It is said that the mahi are "jumping in the boats," so we hope to refill our fish supply.  David and Valt took the dinghy out the cut into Exuma Sound to try their luck and the girls stay home for a relaxation day.   Their reward?  A big mahi!  It made a great dinner with meals to spare.  
 There are fewer boats everywhere we go.  The winter cruisers are mostly gone, the summer cruisers from Florida have not arrived yet.  The ratio of power boats to sailboats is about even now.  Normally the sailboats outnumber us.
That night at Norman's Cay we stayed anchored on the western shore. A slight SE swell rocked us a bit, but we decided it was too late to move.  The swell increased all night and by sunrise, it was intolerable.  We pulled anchor and motored thru the cut to the Exuma Sound, hoping it would be calmer.  Oddly, the swell followed us.  Heading north, the swell was behind us, so was the most comfortable, or least uncomfortable ride.  We decided to continue on to Rose Island today, we needed to be near Nassau on Wednesday.