Southern Exploration

Hello all,

We have spent a lovely few days down in the southern cays of the Bahamas chain. Our trip to Flamingo Cay was un-eventful and we sailed the whole distance. Once there, we tried four or five times to get the anchor to hold. Finally, we switched to our Bruce anchor and that did the trick. The bottom was shallow sand over marl ( hard packed clay ) and we were just not getting a bite with the plow.

When secured, we putted off in the dinghy to explore. Several other boats were anchored here as well, along with a fishing boat from Long Island. Bull sharks hovered around that boat as they were cleaning fish. Not a good day for a swim! The dinghy motor developed a surging problem and starting to cut out on us, so back to the boat for us.

The waves wrapped around the island and the boat rolled from side to side all night. IT was time to move on and we did so bright and early the next day. Wind was blowing strongly from the ESE but we were able to sail the course. From waypoint to waypoint, down the chain we went. In areas open to the deep water, waves bashed us and tossed the boat around like a toy. A lookout was necessary as there was a smattering of coral heads to avoid. Mostly the water was quite deep except for one section. Here, the waves were 4 feet and we only had 6 feet below us. I worried about being bashed into the bottom in deeper waves.

Don Wilson, on Next Exit from our home port of Port Stanley, was in touch and recommended we head to Double Breasted Cay for protection from the strong southerly winds. We took his advice and anchored here shortly after 2:30 – we had sailed 41 miles in six hours, into waves. Not bad.

Murray resolved the outboard problem – it was a worn out hose – and, after a lovely dinner, we retired early. The daylight found us planning a beach walk, looking for beans. This is the place to find lots or so we have been told. But, we are many months after others who also search. The walk was successful, with beans, fishing floats etc filling our bags.

Yesterday, during a dive expedition, we managed to pierce our dinghy with another’s spear. Yikes! Limping back to the anchorage, we went to shore, beached her, repaired the hole, cut each other’s hair while the glue dried and got fried by the hot sun. The patch seems to be holding and the new do’s look good.

Last evening a beach party was held, with much food, a bonfire and Dave from Dyad strumming his guitar while the rest of us tried to sing and come up with more than the chorus lines to vaguely remembered songs. Great fun!

Today, Murray is off diving with friends. Maybe some lobster for the pot. It isn’t safe to shoot fish here as the blood and thrashing about attracts the sharks. So far, we haven’t seen any and I would like to keep it that way.

The radio is very quiet, with none of the chatter heard further north. Anchorages are seldom crowded, unless two or three boats is a crowd. This is lovely and we will be back next year.

How long will we stay down here? It depends on weather and supplies (running out of, that is). Not much is available down here and our stash is limited. But, I expect 10 days or so to pass quickly.

Hope all is well with everyone. Stay warm and March is just around the corner. Hugs to all,

Heather & Murray