With our guests Jim & Maryann Sanders now comfortably settled in and somewhat used to tropical breezes, warm sunshine, and clear turquoise water we were ready to do some sailing. As mentioned earlier, the Sanders are long time friends we first met during our T-bird racing days over 35 years ago. With their previous sailing experience we could relax a little more and let them share some of the sailing duties. Jim took the helm as we sailed back north to Cambridge Cay in a SSE 10-15 knot- wind. Initially, he tried sailing downwind wing & wing, which is next to impossible without gybing, but once the preventer was attached he held course and we zoomed up towards Cambridge. Jim loves sailing and had a big smile on his face when he was at the helm.As we entered the mooring field at Cambridge Cay we discovered every mooring ball was taken and several boats were anchored along the perimeter. A cold front was due in a couple days and anchorages with protection from all wind directions are hard to come by in The Bahamas. We found some space just south of the field and dropped our hook, as did a number of later arriving boats, and soon all of us were laying to our anchors in totally different directions. As usual, we were lying to the current instead of the wind. We eventually stopped worrying and relaxed in the cockpit with some nice "Kool Kaliks". (a very good local brew).
|Jim Sanders happily steering us towards Cambridge Cay in The Exumas.|
I hustled up some dinner with Maryann, chef-assistant-extraordinaire, and later played our favorite card game, Screw your Buddy. Much to Walter's dismay Jim and Maryann caught on very quickly and proceeded to dump the bad cards with masterful finesse on poor Walter. Maryann had the best bluffing technique of picking up the rules sheet and pretending she didn't know something and then playing her two last cards to win the game. Lots of laughs and lots of expletives!
With the boat still shimmying around, we decided to move to an area with less current the next morning. Then, just as we finished anchoring, the Park warden motors over and tells us we can't anchor there because it's the channel for the mooring field. Well, he could have told us a little earlier before we anchored. We finally gave up and pounced on the next available mooring ball, which was just fine.
We needed to get a little exercise so we dingied over to the beach for a wonderful hike up the hill to an overlook of the harbor on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. We love getting in a hike and or walk along a beach as exercise is always a challenge to find on a boat.
|Jim and Mary Ann Sanders on hill overlooking Cambridge Cay.|
Last year, we were here with our boat buddies Sharon & Kevin on Timaru and decided to snorkel the Rocky Dundas after snorkeling at the nearby Elkhorn Gardens. We were a little late on the tide but we explored for a while and then three of us got back into our dinghies. Walter kept exploring around the side of the island alone (a no-no) and got caught in a tricky current that swept him out of sight. He realized the situation and swam hard against the current to get our attention so we could rescue him in the dingy. Another lesson learned: you need to constantly be aware of the currents. The best way is to watch which way the soft corals on the bottom are flowing.
Today the water was fairly calm with very little current so we meandered around looking at the caves, the beautiful fish and variety of coral life. Rocky Dundas is famous for a hidden little cave that Walter went into with the video camera. Last time we were here we almost got wiped out in this cave as some big waves rolled in and smashed Walter up against the rocks. He was able to get up on the inner floor of the cave before the next set rolled in. This time the sea was calm which made for perfect snorkeling conditions. The small cave has the most incredible light that filters down from two holes in the roof and dances on the sea floor. Makes for an amazing light show as you are snorkeling inside the cave. Just get out before the waves come.
We then headed over to the south end of Cambridge Cay to a dive site called Elkhorn Gardens. The Elkhorn coral beds are beautiful and the abundance of fish is much appreciated. We have come to love snorkeling in The Bahamas because you can see everything so clearly and it's nice not to haul around SCUBA tanks on your back. Needless to say I think we were ready for a little afternoon siesta back at the boat following all that activity.
The plan the next day was to finally get the stainless steel rub rails back on the starboard side of the cap rails that we had been varnishing. Thank goodness the cap rails were done after 8 coats! Jim helped Walter clean the rub rails and screw them back on with about 50 screws thus ending the month long varnishing saga of the starboard side (still have to do the same thing on the port side). The good news, it looks spectacular. Jim, the consummate engineer, also helped Walter repair a recalcitrant fan he was about to throw away (broken connection in the wires) and fix a light switch on one of the saloon lights. Thanks for your help Jim!
|Jim and Walter use 100 screws to attach 45 ft. of stainless rub rail to the cap rail.|
|The long walk up the dry creek bed to The Bubbly Pool. The water cascades over the small gap in the center of the photo.|
A rocky ridge borders the Atlantic ocean side and as waves crash against it they overflow the ridge and flow into the 5- to 7-foot deep pool, filling it with wonderful refreshing bubbly water. It's the closest thing you'll come to a jacuzzi in the ocean. We spent a couple of hours laughing and playing in the waves like a bunch of young kids, laughing and squealing (doesn't take much at this age). We'd stand with our backs to the waves and as the tide came in the waves continued to get bigger and bigger and we never knew how far the splashes would go before we'd be drenched.
We headed back to Flying Cloud for some showers and Sundowners and decided that was definitely one of the highlights of the trip thus far and something we will remember years from now. Thanks Jim & Maryann for visiting us and helping us with some boat projects too. (*Posted by Meryl)