A friend in Canada sent us this picture today:
We sent this picture back to him:
We departed Highborne Cay knowing we were in for some strong north winds for one night so we tucked in behind a small island called Elbow Cay just a little west of Shroud Cay and set the anchor. When the winds settled the next day we motored over to Shroud Cay and pick up a mooring buoy. The buoys are provided by the Exuma Land and Sea Park (ELSP). Shroud Cay is at the northern end of the ELSP and offers something unique. There are several small saltwater channels running through the island. Some go all the way across to the ocean on the other side. Others dead end. The park has limited most of the channels to hand propelled vessels such as paddle boards, rowing boats or kayaks. The northern channel can be accessed by motorized dinghy so long as it goes idle speed in the estuary. The park is trying to protect the mangroves and delicate vegetation along the waterway.
The ELSP is one of the most magical places we have sailed. It encompasses thousands of square miles and protects everything in and out of the water. The reefs are abundant with fish. There are turtles and huge rays. We are required to take out of the park whatever we bring in. This means we bag our trash and stow it until a later date, we cannot fish for food (this wouldn’t help us if we could seems I never catch any fish). Most people follow the rules and try to protect this beautiful place.
We plan to work our way down the ELSP over the next few days stopping at places we missed last year and revisiting the places we liked the most.
One of the fun things about writing a blog is meeting someone who reads it. Several times we have met perfect strangers. In some cases these wonderful people have offered us use of their cars, a ride to the store or want to buy us a meal. This time the shoe was on the other foot. I discovered a blog a couple of years ago called Sailboat Story. It is about a family from Georgia who decided to buy a boat and go sailing. We lived in Georgia and had an instant connection to them. I discovered their blog just as they were developing it and setting up a Patron page. In fact, I think I might have been one of the first to find it. We wrote back and forth a couple of times when they were buying a boat as they had some questions and needed a little advice. Over the last few months, I lost track of them and their blog hadn’t been updated in a while. I wondered if their plans changed and really hoped their dream had not somehow gone sour. These folks are young and they face more challenges than us retirees. They have limited funds, limited time and children’s needs to consider. As we dropped the anchor in Shroud Cay, I saw a blue boat with a Georgia registration number. It looked familiar. I looked at their website to confirm the name of the boat and sure enough their dream was in full force. The reason they had not updated the blog was because their computer broke when they arrived in the Bahamas. We jumped into the dinghy and went to say hello. Instant friends made!
Remember the 24v alternator on the engine that quit while we diverted to Ft Lauderdale? We had a spare unit aboard and replaced it during our stay there. The unit we replaced it with was from our spare parts inventory and was purchased by the previous owner of our boat. It looked like a rebuilt model. Rather than not have a spare anymore, I ordered a new unit while in Ft. Lauderdale and packed it away in our spare parts inventory. I don’t like rebuilt parts for something important. It is different for a car. If the alternator goes out in a car, it is solved by a quite trip to the rebuild shop or a Napa. In the middle of the ocean, there are no Napa stores. There is a saying amongst electricians with a sense of humor. They quip, “Keep the smoke on the inside”. Meaning, electrical items are filled with smoke just waiting to get out. Well, the smoke on the rebuilt alternator we put on in Ft. Lauderdale escaped. It is never good to open the engine room door and have a cloud of smoke hit you in the face. It didn’t take but an hour to replace it with the brand new one. Sure glad we made that decision to buy one while in Ft. Lauderdale. You know darn well a spare is already on our shopping list to have in our spare parts inventory again at the first opportunity. Sometimes we get lucky and have the right spare parts.