Yey! We are in the Exuma Islands of the Bahamas! Our route here was a little unconventional. We departed Bimini and sailed (meaning we motored) for a full day across an area called the Great Bahama Bank. For miles and miles, the water is only about 20 feet deep with no land in sight. At night we anchored in the middle of the ocean. This was a first for us. Normally we tuck into a cove or bay to drop the anchor. We lit up the boat to avoid being hit and made sure our AIS was on and transmitting. We also set up an AIS and radar safety zone so an alarm sounded in the event of an approaching vessel. The water was calm (hence having to use the engine) and, believe it or not, we got a pretty good night’s sleep. The next day we transited a passage called the Northwest Channel. The current in this narrow passage can rip so we made sure to time our passage at slack tide. We passed through at about 10 am. This put us in an area called The Tongue of The Ocean. The Tongue of The Ocean is touted as the best fishing spot in the Bahamas. In fact, it is one of the premier fishing spots in the Caribbean and all of North America for game fish. If you are a regular reader of this blog, this next part should come as no surprise to you. I think I am now the only person alive who trolled a lure for 50 miles in this area and never caught a darn thing. I suck at fishing. It a good job we have a freezer full of Costco fish. I did have one bite. The fish must have been massive. How do I know this? Because it got away, that’s how.
The next night we landed in West Bay on New Providence Island. Nassau is located on New Providence Island. We have no desire to visit Nassau and have been warned away by other cruisers mostly because of petty crime. West Bay was nicely protected from the strong easterly winds that had kicked up during the day and provided a nice calm spot for the night. From West Bay we headed south and then cut into the back side of the Exuma Islands across an area south of White Bank. The water goes from thousands of feet deep to about twenty feet deep in a matter of a few yards. The color changes from deep blue to turquoise almost instantly. Our stop that evening was Highborne Cay. We anchored just off the beach with about 20 other boats.
We rested in Highborne Cay for a couple of nights. It seems funny to write this but we didn’t bother going ashore there. The island is private. It is not very scenic. Rich people from Nassau have beach homes there. There is a small marina and store and that is pretty much it. A fellow cruiser whose dinghy I rescued after it got away told me they charge $12 for a bag of Oreos in the store. The marina charges $5 per person to step onto their dock from a dinghy. They charge $25 per person to walk about on the island. They charge $5 to leave a bag of trash. If we docked at the marina, our fees for Cream Puff would have been over $350 for one night. Now you know why we didn’t bother going ashore. We made good use of our time there to inflate our dinghy and set up the outboard motor. There is a cell tower so we could get internet and look at the weather for the next few days. We saw a front coming and decided we needed to find a different spot for the next couple of days. We are heading south…..