Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cambridge Cay

Friday, February 17, 2017

Now that the front has passed and the seas calmed down, everybody's going to be leaving today. Reasoning that the same thing woud be happening at Cambridge Cay mooring field, we got up extra early to get ahead of the "rush" and get to one of the vacated moorings there.  On the way, we contacted Pearl on VHF and they confirmed that there were available moorings, and more boats were departing.

The trip was a short motor-sail, less than 3 hours, and we picked up the mooring without incident.  Joanie is becoming quite the expert at capturing and tying up to a mooring pendant. 

Pearl was anchored just north of the mooring field.  We arranged to meet up with them after lunch and they would take us on a long-distance dinghy trip to some prime spots.

The first leg of our dinghy expedition took us about a mile and a half South, across Conch Cut, into the northern end of Compass Cay.  There we beached the dinghys and walked along a shallow creek to the far side of Compass Cay to a location known as "Rachel's Bubble Bath".  This is a large sand pool just inside a rock wall that separates it from the Exuma Sound.  A low gap in the wall allows waves to crash through and fill the pool with bubbling foam. (click on any of these thumbnails to see the full resolution photo)

Rachel's Bubble Bath
Unfortunately, the effect is best at high tide, and we were already halfway to low tide (the best time for snorkling) so only the occasional wave barely made it through with just the tiniest bit of bubbles.
Tiny Bubbles
Next, we traveled about 3/4 mile west, to a small pair of rocky islands called Rocky Dundas.  Once again, the park has provided dinghy moorings so you don't have to damage the bottom by anchoring.  We moored and got on our snorkel gear.
Moored at Rocky Dundas
In addition to some nice coral beds, the main attraction here are the two large cave grottos!  Wave action has undercut the steep shoreline rock, and in two places, it has eroded through into a large dome-shaped cave that extends all the way to the surface.  At mid to low tide, the waterline is below the undercut, and you can swim right in.
Going Into Grotto #1
When you pop out from under the entrance ledge, the first view is breathtaking.
As You Clear the Entrance
Light streams in through the small overhead opening, giving the whole scene a cathedral-like quality. 
Inside Grotto #1
Back outside, the second grotto is just to the south.  A giant underwater coral "tree", about 8 foot across, stands outside the entrance to grotto #2.
Giant Coral Tree
If possible, this grotto is even more spectacular than the first!
Going Into Grotto #2
Just Past the Entrance
Inside Grotto #2
The Way Out

For the last leg of our dinghy trip, we traveled 3/4 mile North, back across Conch Cut to Cambridge Cay, not far from the mooring field.  We beached the dinghys on a wide, shallow sand beach, and followed a twisty trail through the dense palmettos to large beach on the far side known as Honeymoon Beach.
Cambridge Cay
Trail Through Dense Palmettos
Deep, Dark Blue Waters of the Exuma Sound
Strange Looking Sponge Washed up on Shore

That evening, we dinghy'd over to Pearl for sundowners and snacks with Bruce & Gayleen, their son Brandon, and his girlfriend Sophia.
Gayleen, Bruce, Sophia
Bruce, Sophia, Brandon
The 1/4 mile dinghy ride back to Dolce Vita in the pitch black darkness was a little erie.  Thank goodness we had a powerful light along, and had left on the anchor light on Dolce Vita.  Otherwise, we might still be wandering around out there! ;)

Once again, after a long and wonderful day, we tumbled into bed.

Life is good.

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