Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Gunkholing to Georgetown 2015

24rd May - 20th June 2015


The power of suggestion is a mighty thing. One of our best friends recently became surplus to requirements at her place of employment. With time on her hands we suggested she hop a plane and come join us for a week or so. She said something like “beam me up and I’m there”. Anyway, that plan, plan A didn’t get up. However, a few  weeks and many emails later,  plan A  morphed into plan B  and the whole family of four were booked on the big silver bird from the land down under to the tropical paradise of the Bahamas. ETA 1356 June 22nd.


Their holiday was the driving force for us heading south this time and as we wanted to plan a loose itinerary for their 12 days aboard, it also gave us the opportunity to stop in at a few new places we’d bypassed on previous jaunts through the Exumas. After a brief stop in Nassau Harbour to top up our pantry, and I must say we really don’t like that place, we chuffed off down to aptly named West Bay, a snug anchorage at the western extremity of New Providence Island. This little bay is heaven compared to the noisy, current driven, poor holding and junk strewn sea bed of Nassau. Can you tell we don’t like it there?

On a sadder note one of the two little remoras who’d followed us like faithful pets from anchorage to anchorage during our time in the Berry Islands, and whose photos appeared in the previous posting, wasn’t with us when we arrived in Nassau. Where once there were two now there was one. The remaining one hung around a few more days after we moved down to West Bay and then one morning he or she was gone too. Their departures hit us hard and we both felt a bit empty. It was nice to have a pet around even if they were fish.


The shallow 30 mile stretch of water lying between New Providence Island and the northern tip of the Exuma Islands and Cays is known as the Yellow Bank. The name has always puzzled me as it is more green than brown, that aside we had an excellent sail across the banks with full main and screecher arriving at Robert’s Cay, which is little visited by cruisers. A small reef at the southern end of the cay, as well as watching the cruise ship tourists who’d paid big bucks to bounce their way from Nassau on jet boats for their half day Bahamian experience, kept us occupied for a day.

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Over the next weeks we cay hopped our way down the Exuma chain. Stopping at Long Cay, Hawksbill Cay and through the Exuma Land and Sea Park which extends from Shroud Cay in the north to Cambridge Cay in the south. All creatures great and small within the park boundaries are protected and they definitely know it and have no fear. And man are those Lobsters BIG!

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Next stop was Staniel Cay where we spent a couple of days socialising with friends that we’d met up at Wardrick Wells. A Beach party and BBQ was organised by Rick and Lorie from M/V Forever Young. Eight boats were invited and it was a fun afternoon as we all made new friends.

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From Staniel we pretty much hightailed it down to Georgetown. As our friends would be arriving in a few days, we wanted to get GWTW looking shipshape both inside and out, plus we had to relocate a lot of our personal stuff as we were giving up our cabin to our friends, and would be not-so-glamping it on an air mattress out in the cockpit.  We also wanted to stock up a bit more, organise a taxi for the trip to the airport and have a bit of chill time as well. For sure it would be all go once they arrived and we were looking forward to showing them the best of the Bahamas in a pretty limited time frame.

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In the midst of all this Liam developed a tooth abscess from a old root canal job years ago. He was in agony and looked like he had a tennis ball inside his cheek. As Georgetown has no resident dentist he  had no choice but to tough it out until the dentist flew in from Nassau on the day before our friends arrived.  Mind you, two days prior at 2am he was up and seriously looking at booking a flight to Nassau to take the mountain to Mohammed. But he waited and the visiting dentist did the trick, though no need to go into the somewhat gory details.The mood of the skipper dramatically improved after his  gum’s interaction with the scalpel and  believe me ….the crew rejoiced. The procedure was perfectly timed for the impending arrival of our friends from Australia. It just doesn’t bare thinking about if the dentist had been a no show!!



Monday, July 6, 2015

Bumm’n around in the Beautiful Berrys

27th April – 23rd May 2015


With our recently purchased Merc 15 outboard now part of the GWTW  stable of horses, there was nothing to stop us venturing further afield from the mother ship in search of the catch of the day. And search we did, most days coming home with nada. We felt as if we were in a seafood drought and that didn’t go down too well with my half-man, half-fish husband. Good thing our freezers were still bulging after spending way too long in Florida while boosting it’s economy at the same time!



With unbridled enthusiasm after a few quick tips from new friends Larry and Lena on M/V Hobo, Liam discovered the art of spear fishing. If it moved at a leisurely pace, it was game on as he once again renewed his skills as a proficient hunter and gatherer of all things with fins or shells.The drought had been broken.

He caught a few nice grouper along with cobia and french grunts and the odd lion fish, and of course some very tasty summer crabs aka lobsters!


P5111649We hung out with the “Hobos” on and off for a couple of weeks and it was a real hoot. Like-minded people with like-minded interests and a love of dogs. Morgan, their cross boarder collie/retriever loved coming over to visit on GWTW, and it didn’t take long before he was first out of the dinghy and up our transom steps. He was also the meet-and-greet crew member when we stopped in over at team Hobos. We shared many hours in the water, snorkeling and hunting on the reefs as well as beach walks and sundowners.

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A trip to the south end of Hoffman’s Cay and a short hike from the beach brought us out at the Blue Hole. Surrounded by mangroves and a high sided grotto on the western side the hole is an inland salt water lake, which is said to have been discovered by Jacques Cousteau and is reported to be 600 feet deep.  Well we definately couldn’t touch the bottom, let alone see it. We did have a lovely refreshing dip in the cool waters but decided not to hang in there for too long  as you just never know who is watching you from the depths below.

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It was sad to say goodbye when that day came and they motored north and we turned our bows south. Fingers crossed we will catch up again next season.


As we meandered  further south in the Berrys we also bumped into Aussie and Kiwi friends from the cats Wyuna and No Rehearsal. More fun times were spent both in and out of the water. One afternoon we all took to the dinghies to carry out a major assault on a nearby resort beach bar at the south end of Bond’s Cay.

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Heavily laden sunset drinks concocted by Liam and complimentary conch salads made for a perfect end to a lazy summer Sunday.

A couple of days days later we headed over to Flo’s Conch bar on Little Harbor Cay which we’d read about in our cruising guide. Flo passed on a few years back and the place is now run by her son.

Lunch was very filling with a set menu that included conch fritters, cracked conch and  rather small snapper fillets with rice, black peas and coleslaw. The beers were cold and the rum punches hit the spot as we caught up on the good old days.The food was good but way overpriced at $35 a head. We are slow learners and should have asked the cost before jumping in at the deep end. A classic case of buyers remorse! Would we rush back…arrr no.

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Cruising, as you’ve probably guessed, can be quite social at times and these last few weeks had been one of those times. Invited for a lovely meal on board the  cat “Shaken not Stern”,  with whom we shared the anchorage at Soldiers Cay, David and Jane along with the antics of their pooches Oscar and Emmy made for yet another great night out.


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blog pics berrys 004But time waits for no one and with a good weather window we finally hoisted the main, rolled out the jib and headed down to Nassau and on to the Exumas. The Berry Islands had been a lot of fun with  it’s clear waters, lively reefs, good hunting and lovely peaceful anchorages.


The Berry Islands are a road less travelled by most cruisers… but we will most definitely be back.