Fri 26 Feb 2010 22:27
Today, we motored 4 miles to Highborne Cay, where we expected to find a good anchorage to protect us from the storm coming tomorrow night through Sunday. What we found there was the Ritz Carlton of marinas: laundry and catering services, liquor store, well stocked grocery story (we found the hoped-for ice cream and ice), gift shop, weekly mail pick-up (Rose mailed letters to both third grade classes), and delux accomodations like showers and picnic tables under thatched huts for those paying for slips at the marina. Far too civilized for the likes of us. There were several mega-yaghts complete with uniformed staff. We got gas, ice, a book of Bahamas history, postcards, and stamps (in addition to ice cream). We met a woman from Alabama who lived aboard her boat right there at the marina--like living in a fancy floating condo.
The highlight was getting to see the nurse sharks that loiter around a fish cleaning station on the dock. About eight sharks--easily 5-6 feet, milled about waiting for the next fish-gutting session.
A storm has been forecast for tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon through Sunday, and depending on which forecast you listen to, the Bahamas Meteorological Office (20-25 knots) or the US National Weather Service (30-35 knots), or some of the local boaters (who say that gusts may be up to 50 knots) -- it will either be bad or really bad. The anchorage we scoped out just ouside the marina on Highborne didn't look secure enough to us, and after yesterday's experience, we are being very picky about anchorages. So we decided to move on to Norman's Cay one of the Exumas that has an inland bay about a mile long and half a mile wide that is entirely surrounded by land. It's considered good shelter in any storm.
Leaving Highborne, we motored our way (we haven't raised sail yet--the winds have been either non-existent or gale force) out around reefs and into Exuma Sound. As the sun shone on the torquoise waters, we could see down to the bottom, 30 feet below.
Half Moon Bay is accessible only though a narrow channel through two giant rocks. We threaded our way through Scylla & Charybdis and entered this enchanting bay. Other boats are here--catamarans and large cruising sailboats and a trawler or two. The ironshore is pocked with large caves here, some with scrubby vegetation on their tops, making them look like Hobbit houses. One cave was heaped inside with hundreds of conch shells. We'll have to take the dinghy for a spin around this bay today and check out "Conch Cave".
We left Highborne before taking advantage of the WiFi opportunity because we wanted good visibility for getting into Half Moon Bay. We'll hope to find WiFi access at other marinas along the way so we can put some photos on the blog.