Georgetown, Great Exuma Island - Nassau, Bahamas

29th April - 5th May 2008

Finally, after five weeks of serious beach holiday time in Georgetown, we managed to haul our deeply embedded anchor and begin the slow trek northwards.    As we entered the Exuma Sound, we were accompanied by quite a flotilla of departing boats which, like us, had been waiting for kinder weather.   

The Captain immediately deployed the fishing gear as we reached the deep water drop off, supposedly a popular spot for tasty fish to hang out.     We'd never had any luck at all fishing in Exuma Sound on previous occasions and didn't hold out much hope of catching a tasty dinner.    Quickly tiring of walking aft from the cockpit to clear his fishing lines of clumps of floating weed, Phil finally made himself comfortable at the fishing station, waiting patiently for a real bite.

Waiting for a bite......

The patience paid off and we found ourselves battling to get a good sized mahi aboard and into the freezer.

As we approached Dotham Cut we were called by Second Chance, who were several miles ahead of us.    Christopher warned us of approaching rain, telling us that they had got soaked already.   We made all the necessary preparations as we watched the approaching black clouds.    With great skill Phil managed to steer Anju through a gap between two heavy showers and we managed to stay dry.    

Of course the crews of Anju and Second Chance enjoyed a delicious mahi supper together.     Next morning it was time to say farewell to our friends, who were on a tight time schedule to get back to the USA.    

We hauled anchor and made the short hop up to Big Majors Spot, where we were re-anchored, in snorkelling gear and on our way in the dinghy to the Thunderball Cave by 9.30 am.    We just couldn't pass by Staniel Cay without visiting the beautiful Cave with its resident community of colourful fish.     Our timing was perfect, we were there at slack tide and early enough to have the place to ourselves for a while.     

Back at the boat we decided to try out a different anchorage we hadn't visited before and made another short hop up to the private resort island of Sampson Cay, where we found a spot which was sheltered from the forecast 25 knots of north east wind and came complete with free internet access from the marina.    An excellent spot to hole-up for a couple of windy days.     Later we were surprised to get a call on the VHF from our buddies on Second Chance, who'd only made it about five miles further north before the waves resulting from the strong wind in the Exuma Sound made them seek shelter.     We were even more surprised and happy to see them heading our way to pick up supplies the next morning.

We decided that, as we were all headed the same general direction, we may as well anchor together at Warderick Wells Land and Sea Park for yet another final farewell dinner that night!  


Conditions were perfect for Anju, with the wind still blowing at around 20 knots but the sea on the banks flat, protected by the chain of Exuma Islands.    We found ourselves sailing quickly and despite being hard on the wind and heeled over, it was blissfully comfortable aboard.    Sailing doesn't get much better than that.

The anchorage at Emerald Bay was pretty shallow for Anju but, from a previous visit, we knew of a small, deeper patch of water, where we could anchor with more water under our keel.    Unfortunately, since our last visit, the Exuma Land and Sea Park had filled the area with mooring balls but we were in luck and a mooring was available for us in the deeper water.  This time we really did have our final farewell dinner, well at least for a few weeks.

Thought we'd said goodbye to you guys!

Sailing to Warderick Wells

We had planned to move Anju around to the main mooring field next day, once our friends had left, as we were invited to dinner on Seaquel with our OCC friends Julie and George.    This would have meant motoring into 20+ knots of wind for a couple of miles to reach the new mooring spot, so in the end we decided it would be easier to dinghy over for dinner and leave Anju at Emerald Rock.     We enjoyed a tasty home-made Quiche and salad with Sequel before we were introduced to a new board game at which the girls gave the boys a serious thrashing!    Then it was time to find our way back to Emerald Rock by dinghy in the dark and boy, oh boy was it dark, really, really dark.    We were relieved to see Anju's lights guiding us home!



Next morning we decided it was time to exercise away the home-made quiche and we hiked the trail all around the southern half of the island.   On the Atlantic side, the trail was more of a scramble over the rocks on the shoreline down to the southern mooring field.    On seeing the moored super-yacht, its stern only a couple of feet from the beach, it was quite clear how quickly the depth dropped off from the beach!    Later in the day, at Happy Hour on the beach, we met the charter guests from the super-yacht, who were holidaying from Mexico and Phil got to enjoy some Mexican beer!

Our last port of call in the Exuma chain was Shroud Cay, another part of the Land and Sea Park.    We enjoyed a tranquil, if slow, sail into the anchorage.   As we anchored we were surrounded by graceful white Tropic birds, coming to check out their new neighbours.

Christopher had told us about a route through the mangroves, where you could dinghy from one side of the island to the other and we decided to give it a go.   The part of his description we'd forgotten, however, was "at high water".  

We set off, regardless and although progress was pretty slow, with us having to walk or drag the dinghy over shallow sand banks, we made it quite a long way into the mangrove creek.     Finally, it got too hot and we decided to stop and snorkel with the mangrove snappers for a while to cool off.

"Maybe Christopher said something about high water..."

Don't leave me here, I'll never survive, there's no chocolate!


We made our way back out of the mangrove creeks in the dinghy, which had become much easier as the tide had risen.     

On our way back to Anju, we noticed we had new neighbours, one one side we had nesting Osprey living on a small island, on the other, a flotilla of superyachts had joined us for the night.

Neighbours at Shroud Cay

We left Shroud Cay on a windless, scorching day, to cross over the shallow yellow bank to Nassau.    The stillness of the water certainly made the job of reef-spotting easier, we could even see the small fish swimming on the reefs on the sea bed as we passed by.   

By late afternoon we were in Nassau, stocking up with fuel and provisions for the passage back to the USA.



Reef-spotting on the yellow bank.

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