Both nights that we spent at Nassau Harbour Club were uncomfortable. The wind was out of the north and the waves were slapping against the hull so it was noisy. It is much more comfortable at anchor. We untied the docklines and left the harbour at 0800. Upon leaving Nassau you also have to request permission. Allen Cay is approximately 30 miles away. We sailed and motor-sailed and arrived about 1300. Allen Cay is the first island heading south in the chain. After being at the dock everyone headed there or Highbourne Cay. We ended up with 16 boats in the harbour. It is worse than being in the North Channel.
After we anchored it didn’t take Brian long to get the dinghy in the water. We motored to shore and as promised there must have been 50-60 iguanas there to greet us. They are ugly things, not like our friend in Lighthouse Point. I am told that they are a species only found here on Allen Cay. We went back to the boat and Brian put on his wet suit to go conching.
The outboard is giving us a little trouble. It seems to be gas starved at times. Brian continues to work on it each time we use it.
Winds continue to blow out of the North and North West at 10-15kts. The forecast is for the same until Monday. The temperature is in the low 60’s with a chance of isolated showers. I have to keep reminding myself it is winter.
We are going to head to Norman Cay tomorrow, Saturday.
Change of plans. It seems like everyone sitting in Allen Cay is heading to Norman Cay. Although some of the boats we crossed with are staying another night here in Allen Cay. We checked the chart and thought that Shroud Cay looked like a good destination. Anchor up and we were on or way. Poked our nose into Shroud and it didn’t look any more protected than Allen Cay. So we went a little further on to Hawksbill Cay. When we arrived there was a very large motoryacht anchored near the entrance to the harbour. We picked up a mooring ball for the night. There is a pay box on shore. This is part of the National Park. After dark another small boat pulled in. the wind is still out of the North and is supposed to blow like this for the next few days.
We pulled anchor around 0700 and headed for the protection of Warderick Wells. It is a park that is run under the protection of the Bahama National Trust (BNT). There is no fishing, conching or shelling allowed in the park. The area extends over 22 miles starting just south of Norman Cay at Wax Cay and runs south to Compass Cay. It was established in 1958 and it is one of 26 National Parks and Protected Areas managed by BNT. It is necessary to make a reservation 1 day ahead which we had done early yesterday. It is very shallow getting into the mooring field. On the way in we thought we saw a dolphin. Nope, wrong again, it was a huge Loggerhead Turtle. Its head was the size of a dolphin. We haven’t seen any dolphin here on the Bahama Banks. We were assigned mooring number 8. It is $15.00 a night. We are undecided whether we will stay one of two nights. There is nothing here but the ranger’s office. There you will find T-shirts, postcards and a book exchange. No washrooms, showers or fuel or water. The island is very rough terrain good shoes are required for any kind of hiking. They are very strict about the take nothing but pictures. We decided that we were in a good place for the wind to blow, so let it blow. We were also warned that the moorings are not really maintained that well here or anywhere in the Cays. So be aware that the chain may break and you will be set afloat.
Brian decided that it was calm enough to take a look at the Mercury motor. The carburetor needs work. Brian got in the dinghy; he thought that it was pretty calm to look at the engine. Oops! Plunk, dropped the checkball for the primer pump 8 feet down in the sand. The motor will still run but there is no idle. It seems that we have a little varnish that is causing some problems too.
The wind has continued to blow 20-25 kts out of the North. We will stay another night. There are swells in the harbour and with the ebb and flow of the tides it makes for uncomfortable sitting.
Where in the world is James? Bond that is. Staniel Cay is the home to the Grotto where Thunderball was filmed. We anchored just East of the Grotto. It is recommended that you only explore the cave at low tide. Once again our timing is poor. Low tide was after sunset and before sunrise. Maybe we can catch it on the way back if we should come this way again. It is Thursday and we will rendezvous with Rob Shore on Sunday at Black Point on Great Guana Cay. Black Point is one of the most populated Cays in the chain.