Saturday, March 4, 2017

Rudder Cay: The Piano and the Mermaid

Saturday, February 25, 2017

As planned, we got off bright and early Saturday morning and made the long ;) trip to Rudder Cay (it was less than 5 miles). We took the close inside passage, some of which is pretty shallow, so we timed our passage to coincide with high tide.  It turns out that the charts are pretty conservative, and we needn't have worried.
Dolce Vita, Anchored off Rudder Cay

One of Rudder Cay's claims to fame is that it is one of a cluster of 11 islands owned by illusionist David Copperfield.  Musha Cay, just to the North of Rudder Cay, has been built up into a private island paradise, with 5 guest houses and full facilities, and can be rented (whole island rentals only) for around $300K a week!  The other islands have been kept in their natural state and are completely unoccupied.

Rudder Cay's other claim to fame is that it is the site of a most unusual sculpture.  In 2011, Copperfield commissioned a sculpture of a full-sized concert grand piano, and a mermaid observing it, and had it placed on the bottom in 13 ft of water just off of Rudder Cay!  (Imagine the chaos this will cause archeologists a thousand years from now! :) )  It was one of our must-see snorkeling sites!

Since low tide is the best time to dive on the piano, and we were still at high tide, we spent the rest of the morning dinghying along the beach and into a large grotto/cave at the water's edge.  At high tide, you can boat right into it!  All morning, tourist tour boats were showing up and nosing into the cave and then backing out.

Cave on the Shore of Rudder Cay

Will it Fit?
It Does!
Our Turn, in the Dinghy
Incredible Insides
Sunlight Streams in Through a Hole in the Ceiling
Afterwards, we went over to the next cove, where the piano is supposed to be.  We spent a half hour criss-crossing the area looking for it, but the water was somewhat cloudy from the front that had passed through the day before and stirred things up, and we were unable to spot it at high tide.

Later we went back at low tide, armed with a handheld waterproof GPS and the exact coordinates, and we quickly found it.  We anchored the dinghy and donned our snorkeling gear.  With cameras in hand (Joan with an underwater handheld camera, and me with a mask-mounted GoPro),  we slipped into the still cloudy waters to take a look.

I later found that I had forgotten to clear old video from the GoPro's memory, and it ran out of storage halfway through my dive :( .   I got some views of it, but because of the cloudiness, I had to get so close that the field of view was narrow and you couldn't see much.

The Mermaid Looks On
I'm going to cheat a little here and show you someone else's photo when the water was clearer.
The Full View

For the rest of the afternoon, we Dinghyed around various little islands on either side of Rudder Cut looking for good snorkeling.  Found some great scenery, but no luck with the snorkeling.  Eventually, the tide started coming in, bringing with it clearer water, but too much current to safely swim in :( .

A "Swim Under"
Crazy, Undercut Islands
Why Doesn't It Fall Over?

Tomorrow morning, we will time our departure for slack high tide in order to pass safely through Rudder Cut and out onto the deep waters of the Exuma Sound, where we will turn SouthEast and travel about 32 miles to Georgetown on Great Exuma Island.  There, we will join in the festivities of the 2017 Cruiser's Regatta, which is already in progress.

The weather is mild and warm, and life is good.

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