Tuesday, February 19, 2013

When You Are A Rich Man

We left Norman's Cay at 9:00 am for the 29-mile sail south to Cambridge Cay. With an 18-knot southerly, we elected to sail on the more protected Exuma Sound side. We hoisted the main and genoa trying to squeak out enough of a close reach to reach our destination, but after awhile we decided to fall off (after having a Beneteau pass us to leeward) and take a wider course that allowed us to sail at a slightly faster speed (but longer distance).

Part of the Aga Kahn's complex on Bell Island.
After a 90-degree turn to the east we motor-sailed in shallower water along Bell Island, which is owned by the Aga Kahn, the world's third richest man. The island is in a state of perpetual construction with huge earth movers and ships docking and offloading construction materials for his numerous personal residences on the island. We rounded the top of Bell and then motored along a typically convoluted course trying to stay in deeper water and avoiding the numerous reefs that protect the anchorage at Cambridge Cay.

Cambridge is a wonderful protected moorage and we found a mooring ball near the eastern edge of the mooring field along with 10 other boats. As usual we got up early in the morning to get our 7th coat of varnish on the starboard side cap rails, then took off in the dingy for a short motor up to a snorkeling site called "the Sea Aquarium." The site is along the south side of a very small limestone island that has the typical "mushroom" shape with undercut edges. The minute you drop into the water you are surrounding by a zillion Sargent Major fish that are accustomed to being fed by the tourists. I had specifically bought an underwater camera at the end of last season to photograph this phenomenon, but realized upon reading the instructions just before this dive that you needed a MicroSD memory card to make the camera work. A quick iPhone message to our friends Jim and Mary Ann Sanders (our next set of guests) who were in Florida got the card added to the long list of stuff they were bringing for the boat.

The next day we tried to dingy south to the famous Rocky Dundas but it was just too rough for any safe snorkeling. With my new 15-hp Yamaha motor I naturally wanted to motor fast in the big waves but was quickly vetoed by my (now very wet) first mate. We stayed a few more days but the windy weather precluded any more snorkeling so we focused on getting the boat neat and tidy for our guests whom we would meet at Staniel Cay just south of Cambridge.

Just before we left a dingy motored over and we met Joe Rocchio, the publisher of The Bahamas Guide, and his guests Andrew and Caroline, who own a Taswell 43. We talked about the joys of Taswell sailboats and asked Joe some questions about his Catalina 47, a boat we considered buying at one point. Ironically, I had just finished Dick Dressler's book, Manning up in Alaska, about his struggles with throat cancer and adventures sailing his boat to Alaska. The book was on Joe's "must read" list so he was delighted when I gave him my signed copy.

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