Wyuna March 2015 Blog - At last Bahamas & Exuma Land and Sea Park
Sail, Sail away. At last we arrive, 3 Feb in The Exuma islands, 365 pristine cays of protected reefs- stretching nth to sth some 90 miles, mostly uninhabited, where friendly Bahamians live in small towns encircled by crystal water, shifting sand banks and edged by limestone rocks and beaches.
In our 6 weeks of cruising here, we like the wake-up call of water lapping, seeing the last of winter winds and rain & the SUN is now beaming, 28c. Most days we watch the sundown, then the northern stars arise as they fill the night sky, til Wyuna is a speck in the sea.
Our stops along the way ………………………………..Allan’s Cay . 24 44 74 N 76 50 91 W
Exuma Land and Sea Park- Bahamas National Trust replenishes and supports marine nurseries.
A gentle sail, 17Nm run to Shroud Cay was serene, picking up a mooring buoy with 0.2 m under the keel at low tide. Tactical Directions & us jumped in the dinghies to explore the Sanctuary Creek “mangrove sea park & nursery channels” and to puttered to the windward side.
A motor sail inside the banks, sunny blue skies and emerald water made for a very relaxing day til we tried to enter the short shallow route to moorings. No way! Backing off to go the long route between narrow entrances with big currents , making our entry to Hog Cay - Bruce’s nerves twinged looking at the reefs in crystal clear water which looked too shallow but had half metre under the keel.
To unwind we had sunset drinks on the beach close to Pirates Lair – the meeting, hiding place, of Blackbeard, Mary Read and Anne Bonney pirates of the 1700’s which the cays are named after. We met & took our first reef dive with Rory & Mary, on Spyhop in the harbour.
Reluctant to leave the park, we waited for a weather window to take the shallow inside passage sth. Headsail only up, with a 17knt NNW breeze, we drifted down wind with the fishing lines out to make our ETA.
A popular stop for cruisers is Big Majors, the home of big spotted pigs of all sizes roaming the beach. A small town/resort plus local Bahamian lunch café with conch burgers & cold lime beers went down well. But we lived inside most days while 25kn Northers blew through. Dinghy rides got rough.
Next we took the Garmin/Active Captain route with Gem & TD to a quiet anchorage, Oven Rock, to walk ashore on limestone, snorkel on small reefs and escape. Gem showed us Ty’s beach bar by dinghy, Waaaaas sooo much fun relaxing looking out to water, trying Goombay Splash & conch fritters while laughing at stories of big winds and shark spottings.
We had farewell drinks and a BBQ, with Michelle & Tony our sail buddies, to share our experiences of the season before she flew home to Sydney, after deciding not to sail the next leg- we miss her lots!
Tony asked us to crew TD ( Crowther 42 Cat) for the Saturday race around the island, with MV, Shane and Kurt we tacked, reached, ran, called buoy room on a 58ft Catana, and laid the waypoint mark to finish 3rd over the line - what a great day !
We gathered guides at a beach meet of Cuba cruisers, tomorrow go to a music festival and provision supplies to sail sth, 100 miles along the Jamentos uninhabited islands, next week, til we get a weather window for our 70 mile crossing to Porta de Vita , Nth coast of Cuba- here we Go & Come!!!!!!