The Bahamas - 10th - 23rd May 2011
It took just over 4 days to complete the 520 nm trip from St Thomas, USVI to Mayguana one of the ‘out islands’ in the Southern Bahamas. For the sake of time, we decided to bypass the Turks and Caicos Islands, although we could see the light loom from Providenciales on the Caicos islands, as passed fairly close by at night. The Bahamas are all very low lying islands and at best, with clear visibility the coastline doesn’t come into view until you’re about 3 to 4 miles off the coast. As we were approaching the tiny anchorage at South East point in Mayguana, the depth of water changed very rapidly from more then 200 metres to 10 metres, quite an interesting first time experience.
This little feathered friend, flew several times around Nimue on our way to the Bahamas
Hoisting the Bahamas courtesy and yellow custom’s flags
Sunset in Mayguana
Nimue’s anchor seen clearly lying on the sea bed
This was our first taste of the Bahamas and perhaps quite different in terms of habitation, from what we had expected. In fact the coastline was deserted and we were the only boat in the anchorage until Scott Free turned up early the next morning. Although we had experienced clear waters in the Caribbean, the sea here was something special and a variety of blues and greens like we’d never seen before.
After a couple of days R&R, we headed 150 nm north to Rum Cay, another overnighter and after negotiating our way through the coral reefs, we managed to find a good spot to drop the anchor just outside the buoyed channel marking the entrance to Sumner Point Marina and Port Nelson. Just off Sumner Point reef lies the wreck of the HMS Conqueror, the first propeller driven British warship, which sank in 1861 and the wreckage is a National Historic and dive Site and the property of the government of The Bahamas. It was hot, so a quick dip in the sea was required and Michael decided to snorkel off to one of the nearby reefs. I wandered up to the bow and noticed a dark shape coming towards Nimue and immediately recognised it was a nurse shark. It was well over 20ft long, so I willed it to turn away from the reef from where Michael was snorkelling, which thankfully it did. Strong winds and a light thunderstorm came through overnight and Nimue started to swing round her anchor, but fortunately we were far enough away from the nearby reef for it to cause us a problem. Our anchor is a 35lb Bruce and ‘Brucybaby’. once properly dug in, has never really let us down and it’s good to know in conditions like these, you can trust it!
Scott Free leaving Mayaguana
Scott Free were looking to take on fuel, so we went by dinghy to the main dock in Marina. Again the place was virtually deserted and the only official we saw (was a woman just going off with her surfboard) advised that they were not going to have any fuel for weeks, but said we could use her office for wi-fi. So we all piled in to her small office where all sorts of electronic equipment had just been left around (something never seen in the UK) and it was nice to be trusted. So we did our usual and set about setting up our computers, another interesting experience. This was topped when we ‘dinghied’ further round to Port Nelson to locate the ‘must stop’ Kay’s Restaurant and Bar. Port Nelson is situated in a beautiful setting of palm trees and full of coloured buildings, but we quickly located the purple building of Kay’s just across the road. A big disappointment and Kay (who comes highly recommended in the pilot book ), was not at her best? In fact after seeing the inside of the bar, which was at the least, rather jaded, we just settled for a beer sitting outside, during which time we all got bitten to death by mosquitoes and no-see-ums!. We meandered down the main road past the cotton trees and found the newly built church, with it’s Hurricane Shelter and again didn’t bump into a soul; so deserted is was unreal! Rum Cay was so pretty and unspoilt, but it was obviously lacking an injection of cruising tourists!
Nimue anchored in Rum Cay
Approach to Sumner Point Marina by dinghy
Sumner Point Marina Office – how twee!
A large dwelling opposite the marina
Michael in the marina office setting up wi-fi link to the internet
Port Nelson – landing dock
The shoreline at Rum Cay
Steve decided to take dinghy ashore
Kays’s Restaurant and Bar
Having a beer and being eaten alive by mosquitoes outside the Bar
Port Nelson – so pretty!
Walked by these cotton trees
The newly built Church
The Church also acts as a Hurricane shelter