Sadly Leaving Exumas

Today, Easter Sunday, we sail out of the Exumas and Northeast to Eleuthra heading for Rock Sound. We are sad to leave this beautiful place, but the seasons of cruising are pre set by the weather patterns, and April is for Abaco and the Jib Room and May is for the USA East Coast, so on we will go. Here is a photo essay of the last few days. Dream, dream beaches, waters, and sailing….NOTE: this was uploaded via Warderick Wells Satellite Internet Systems at deadly slow speeds and at $15 for 100 megs for 24 hours, this about took the full 100 megs!

Remember, click images for full screen shots.

Make sure you plan for a season sailing the Exumas. Set a cruising goal to do so, you will NOT be disappointing at all.

Rocky Dundas Cambridge Cay

…Hayden and Radeen in Rucky Dundas Cave

On our “bucket list” for many years! Finally the waves, winds and tides were in our favor and we blasted our 15 hp Yamaha, 10 foot AB dinghy down to the caves of Rocky Dundas south of Cambridge Cay. These photos show the adventure very well. Remember to click on the photos to enlarge these to full screen images.

My favorite photo model, Radeen
Looking up to the roof with the opening, water at the bottom with a small beach

Due to ocean currents near the cut, the coral is beautiful

Radeen swimming toward the caves

Large staghorn coral 

Notice the people standing in the cave

Suzy and Radeen challenge the caves. Our dinghies are tied to a park mooring ball.

Crystal clear waters abound in the Exumas

Sandy bottom and coral outcroppings 

Find the Blue Headed Wrasse, this one is for Kathy Heck

Look how clear the water is looking up to the surface!

Brain coral

This is the location of Rocky Dundas Caves, at #2 below. We were on a mooring ball at Cambridge Cay (Little Bells Cay) and took the dinghy to Rocky Dundas Caves, we also went to #3 Honeymoon Beach which has staghorn coral, and then the trail at #4 and the small islands at #5. Having a 10′ AB planing dinghy with a 15 hp 2 stroke Yamaha is really a great set up. It allows you to cover so much territory and it is mostly dry and high as it planes over the waves. I have some great videos running the dinghy on these legs.
The Google Map of the Rocky Dundas Cave Area, Exuma Land and Sea Park

Motoring Flat Calm Seas and Boat Buddies

We have had only a few days this winter where the wind was NOT blowing 20-25 knots. Since leaving Miami on February 4th we have had endless weeks of 20-25 knot winds, gusting to 30 knots. Having a few days of zero wind turned out to be very unusual and a pleasant change. Here are some photos of this rare Exuma day. We motored from Staniel Cay south to Black Point to do laundry and to enjoy gathering with our good buddies Bob and Nina on IP 38 Moondance  and Dave and Suzy on IP 37 Cay Paraiso.

Selfie from the bow in zero winds

Even motoring is fun

Fuel boat waiting off Staniel Cay

Look at the bottom in 10-12 feet

Hayden’s selfie shadow off the bow

Too cool to not take 50 photos 🙂

Teak varnish against clear teal water 
Hayden, Nina, Bob, Radeen, wearing Androsia fabric from Julie of IP 31 Morning Grace

Radeen and Nina

Party on Island Spirit
Suzy, Bob, Dave, Radeen, Nina

Required Party Selfie on Island Spirit

Cruising, fun, fun, fun

Big Major Spot Pig Beach

…Piggies on the beach…

Pig Beach, as it is nicknamed, is located on Big Major Spot next to Staniel Cay and is a very, very popular stop. We have seen mega yacht guests, speed boats with four 400 HP engines, sport fishing boats of all sizes, dinghies and even sea planes beached to see the pigs! AMAZING that pigs on a sandy Bahamian beach would create such a tourist destination! These are not feral animals; they were put here years ago by residents of Staniel and are used for meat, having been fed by tourists and mega yacht crews. It is suggested to bring produce and other table scraps, but no meat. Due to the popularity of Pig Beach here, Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos has started their own pig destination and have named it Piggy Beach.

Radeen overlooks a sleeping pig

We enjoy this stop but are always cautious about feeding the pigs. I have seen people bleeding from pig bites, because the pigs get excited for food and sometimes become aggressive. So, we usually just walk the beach, check them out and take some fun photos. This year there are chickens and roosters on the island now, so we are awakened predawn by the roosters and then eventually the squealing pigs. It is different here, and we enjoy being anchored about 100 yards right off Pig Beach where we can watch all the crazy fun action. So, when you sail into the Exumas, make sure you add Big Major Spot and Staniel Cay to your list of stops.

Hayden scratches the back of the sleeping pig

The smart pigs rest in the shade

Anchored 100 yards off Pig Beach

Watching the mega yacht tenders dropping off guests

Sunset Selfie off Big Major Spot

Helicopter on this yacht arriving to see the pigs

M/V Lady S, rents for $385,000 per week, they came to see the pigs!

M/V Lady S, notice fancy tender

Island Spirit in 10 feet of water right off the beach

Fowl Cay Resort rents sailboats so guest sail in to feed the pigs

Sea Plane beached to feed the pigs, then the pilots went swimming.

After dropping of one RICH guest, the two pilots took off

Our anchor chain off Pig Beach in 10-12 feet of water

We are enjoying this area immensely. Thank you for sailing along.

Here is our location, click the Google Map Link and explore.

Cambridge Cay GoPro

…Yes, the water is gin clear…

We count Cambridge Cay as the heart of the Exumas Land and Sea Park with coral gardens, sea aquariums, caves, beaches and more beaches. Most people count Warderick Wells as the heart of the park and that too is spectacular, but we really enjoy Cambridge Cay. Tomorrow we may move up to Warderick Wells. We may go out into the Exuma Sound and sail north or we will go inside on the Banks and navigate the shifting sand bores. The water is so clear and so beautiful, it will be interesting no matter which way we go.

Heading out to snorkel 

We are working hard on water conservation as we push our 90 gallon water tank to about 11-18 days. This includes taking showers every day using our solar shower, staying hydrated, washing dishes, cleaning the boat and rinsing after swimming. Thanks to our Multi-Pure filter, we drink our boat water. We can get our water usage down to 5 to 8 gallons perday total, so that allows us to go 11 to 18 days at best. After that, we run out of water! No water means we need to exit the park area and go to Staniel Cay Yacht Club, dock, and take on water at fifty cents per gallon. So our 90 gallon water tank costs $45 to fill it up, not bad when you look where we are!

Spectra Ventura 200

For 15 years we have learned how to cruise on 90 gallons of water. From the Bahamas to Block Island, we have often jugged water. We carry water in 5 gallon jugs from land into the dinghy and then lift them up to the deck and pour into the water tank. This will be the last year for this activity, no more. We are installing the Spectra Venture 200 Watermaker which will make 8-10 gallons of water an hour and it only takes 8-10 amps of power. We have the power and we will be able to run it off solar or wind. We chose this model at the St. Petersburg Boat Show in December. Water is a real challenge here in the Exumas and all over the Bahamas so a watermaker will solve our water needs.

Speaking of water, take a look at our GoPro water photos from today……love this area!

Radeen ready to go swim with the fishes

Radeen loves the water more than anyone I know, Pisces, of course.

Scientific name: Abudefduf saxatilis
I love looking up to the surface, notice the needle nose fish

These Sergeant Major fish are so tame because they are used to being fed

Fun Fun Fun, fish fish fish Sergeant Major

This one wanted a selfie

Off to the sand bar and then the ocean beach 

Anchor the dinghy and walk into the beach, tides are 4 feet

Hey look, a shady spot with  fish net hammocks

Hammock selfie, why not 🙂

The beach all to ourselves

Walking home to the “car” (our dinghy) for a fast ride back to the boat

The winds are still blowing 20 knots nearly every day, the current is running 3+ knots, so we have not our new diving gear as of yet. We hope we find a good spot soon. For now, it is simply fun to be swimming, beach combing, snorkeling and taking in the beautiful views. Thank you for sailing along.

Blue our Favorite Color

We are sailing the Exumas and while centered around The Exuma Land and Sea Park, we have taken some beautiful pictures. These photos will show you why Blue is our favorite color. We think this is the most beautiful place in the world! It really is better in the Bahamas.  If you are a cruiser, then plan to spend February, March and/or April in the Exumas, you will never, ever regret it.

Enjoy the photo essay….

Look at this Google Satellite Map of the Exuma Park Area.

Happy Birthday Radeen

…Radeen heading to the Beach—

Celebrating a birthday in the Exumas ranks as one of the top places to celebrate, especially if you are like Radeen, who loves to swim, walk beaches, and hike trails. We spent her birthday doing exactly that and it was a very calm, peaceful and beautiful day. After hiking two trails and swimming on the ocean side, we had lunch at the St. Francis Resort and then went to a cruisers’ cocktail party at Hamburger Beach. Running the dinghy to the beach and taking photos of Radeen there was a joy and a gift for me as well. We count our blessings every morning and know we are in a very special time-frame of our lives. We sincerely appreciate our good fortune and this life we are living.  There is no better life for us.

Ocean side view from a southern trail. “Our” beach is at the top.

The cruising lifestyle is an alternative lifestyle and before you move into it, you think it will be difficult and challenging. Then after a few years of living the life, you recognize how wonderful it is and you know WHY people live this lifestyle. Sure, there are days that are challenging when the boat breaks down in remote locations or the weather is severe, but these times are fewer than expected. Of course, those are the stories you hear about because they make for great re-telling. Over all, the cruising lifestyle is peaceful and relaxing. Today, celebrating Radeen’s birthday, was a perfect example of a great day. Happy Birthday, Radeen, and thank you for making this cruising life aboard so wonderful.

Handmade pendant by a young sailor from Florida
Looking back to the harbor

Radeen on the beach

Look, we have this one mile beach to ourselves!

Radeen walking and reflecting

Heading to shore

Landing the dinghy on Sand Dollar Beach

Happy spot at the Bubble Baths

Returning to “home” our IP35, Island Spirit