Monday, February 27, 2017

Cave Cay: Another Change of Plans

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

After deciding to run South and hide at Cave Cay, it took us about an hour to get the outboard off the dinghy and put the dinghy back up on the deck.  From past experiences, I prefer not to try and get into an unknown marina slip with a dinghy in tow.  Pearl had left almost immediately, and they go about a knot faster than us, so they were out of sight by the time we hauled anchor.

The winds were light but favorable, and under other circumstances we would have just sailed.  But we were hearing increasing numbers of boats inquiring about slips at Cave Cay on the radio, so we wanted to get there ahead of the pack.  We motor-sailed with the jib only, and maintained about 6 1/2 knots the whole way.

Four hours later, we approached the narrow, rocky entrance to Cave Cay marina.  Once inside, we found a large, rectangular harbor with floating docks at the far end. Apparently, this was once a natural inlet, but had been dredged to make a usable harbor.  It is totally protected on all sides by rocky hills.  There were still plenty of slips left, but they were filling up fast.  The slips are gigantic, big enough to hold two boats of our size in a row.  Obviously intended to accomodate large power boats, of which there were many here.
Cave Cay Marina
Dolce Vita tucked in between two large power boats
The dockmaster, "Shark", was very friendly and helpful, getting us settled in and explaining the facilities.  Two welcome surprises were that the RO (reverse osmosis) drinkable water was free to marina guests, and that even though they don't sell fuel to the public, they would make it available to marina guests.  This was a relief, as fuel and water were two of the things we were going to get at Staniel Cay had we not made our run for shelter.

It had been about two weeks since we filled our water tanks, and we were still operating on our main 40 gallon tank.  I thought is was about empty, but was later astonished to find that we had only used 25 gallons!  Our conservation efforts had really been effective!

The entire island of Cave Cay is privately owned by a Texan. He's there every day, and is quite pleasant to talk to. It's clear that he's sunk enormous amounts of time and money into the place, but it appears to be stuck in limbo.  Several guest buildings, a large restaurant building, and a marina office and store are all "under construction" and nearly complete.  But its clear that they have been that way for a long time, and are already starting to deteriorate a little.  Apparently there's some sort of a problem getting the proper operating permits from the Bahamian government.  He currently has the island up for sale.  For a mere $90 million, complete, you too can own your own island in paradise!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The front wasn't due till late tonight/early tomorrow, so we spent the time doing a little exploring.  The island has its own airstrip, and small private planes use it.  Even the seaplane occasionally lands there when conditions are too rough on the water.
Seaplane after making a supply drop-off.
We got together with Bruce and Gayleen and hiked up to a rocky beach on the Exuma Sound side of the island.  The beach was good for collecting shells, sea glass, and the occasional live sea creature.
You got a problem??!
Large Conch Shell
Exuma Sound
Hard, compacted sand eroded into fantastic shapes

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A cloudy, drizzly, windy day.  Mostly stayed aboard and read.  Was able to top off water and fuel tanks and get all jugs filled, so we're all set there.

Now we had a decision to make.  Since we had skipped a lot of stuff on our run here, we could either just skip it, go back north to cover it before continuing on south, or change our overall plan.  Having fuel and water gave us options, as we were no longer forced to go back North to Staniel Cay for it..  And looming over all of that, way in the background of our thoughts, was the fact that we needed to be back in the Chesapeake by June.  It sounds like a long time, but if we take 5 or 6 weeks going up the ICW, as we did coming down,  that means that we need to be back in Florida in only 6 or 7 weeks!   This probably wasn't going to be enough time to complete our original "big loop" plan and go through the out islands of Long Island, Cat Island, Eluthera and the Abacos.

So, what we've decided to do is continue on South to Georgetown, spend some time there, and then work our way back up the Exumas, catching the stuff we missed, and seeing if there's enough time to make a hop over to the Abacos.  Otherwise, it'll just have to wait for the next time! :)

Friday, February 24, 2017

The morning dawned cloudy and still windy from the west.  A rainshower decided us to stay for another day to let the seas calm down.  A later hike up to the hill overlooking the Banks side confirmed that this had been a good decision, as there was still a lot of choppy wave action that would have been on our beam, making for uncomfortable travel.

Things cleared up before sunset, and we had an impromptu gathering of cruisers on the deck of the office building for sundowners. Most of them are leaving tomorrow too.

In the morning, we'll make a short trip to Rudder Cay to do some snorkeling there.

Life is good.

1 comment:

  1. It's almost sad that you are already thinking about returning home. As I'm following along on my charts, I was wondering how you make your way from one cay to the next. For example, from Cave Cay to Rudder Cay - do you go south, close to land along the dotted lines on the charts designated (in this area) as "Shallow Draft"? Some of the (low tide) depths are under 5'. Do you just time it for high tide? Thanks, Ron