Georgetown and the Family Regatta – part 2

Thursday afternoon we spent a few hours bobbing on the beach watching the races before heading across the channel ourselves to Georgetown. Sadly very little wind for the racers but it did mean we managed to get ashore without getting soaked….

Regatta 1 Regatta 2

We went to the Peace and Plenty Hotel to listen to the live band, have a bit of a dance, and enjoyed people watching.   Check out the girl in the big hat and not much else – we thought she might be a relation of Sinitta LOL.

Peace and Plenty band Peace and Plenty band 2 Having fun

Afterwards we ended up back on Government dock and had a few beers at the temporary bars that have sprung up for the regatta. We got chatting to quite a few people and had a great time – so good we actually didn’t get back to Morphie until 1 am….

Busy night in town

Friday morning and the heavens opened. And that set the scene for the day really – rainy and squally. We did boat jobs in between watching the different races from the cockpit – felt sorry for the guys out there trying to race in those poor conditions. We decided not to go ashore and just relaxed the rest of the day.

Down comes the rain Racing in the rain

Oh yes, and of course we get the numpty who anchors too close to us – so we politely asked him to move…..   This anchorage is huge – there really isn’t any need to get close to anyone – not sure what they thought they were doing.   Thankfully they did as we asked…..   Fantastic sunset before we turned in for an early night.

Sunset 1

Saturday morning and the sun was back – but still no wind. Such a shame as this is the last day of the regatta – the guys made the most of it – and we enjoyed watching them in action.

Regatta 3 Tida Wave

Later on we went ashore as there is a parade before the closing ceremony and prize giving…..   This was a real family day with loads of kids around and the conch salad and BBQ guys were doing a great job keeping everyone fed!   There were loads of small tents erected selling local products and memorabilia – I fancied a straw bag but didn’t fancy the price….

BBQ man

Family day out Family day out 2

Anyway – we had a couple of beers at our favourite spot – and then wandered back to the main road for the parade.   It was teeming with people and loads of police around….dressed in their ceremonial best.   And they were happy to pose for photos too – which was nice.

Waiting for the parade Friendly police

The crowd was getting noisy and people were trying to get a good spot – with loads of kids sitting on the roof of one of the gift shops…..

Vantage point on the roof

Eventually – about an hour late – the first band arrived.   Not like anything you have ever seen before – dancing girls, dancing band members, all playing their hearts out and doing intricate moves, often impeded by the crowds that engulfed them. What fun!

Dancing band Dancing girls Dancing band 2

Then the police band turned up – and entertained us with their dance moves too – all dressed in traditional garb including real leopard skins and pith helmets.   Can you image the whole band swaying “to the left, to the left, to the left”?   We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Police band Police band 2 Police band 3

We then headed over to the Government building and checked out all the huge trophies and beautiful medals – and talked to the police band and chatted / posed with them too…  We asked the guy about the leopard skins – they are very old and date back to colonial days – the newer ones are, thankfully, artificial.

Trophies 1 Medals Trophies 2

Friendly police 2

Then it was prize giving time – the dignitaries arrived – and the band started it all off playing the National Anthem.   The prize giving went on for a while – and most of the trophies ended up with Stefan Nodes of Long Island whose family has a long tradition of boat building and sailing.   Some of his family members won trophies in different categories too…

National Anthem time Prize giving time

Stefan picking up one of his cups

After it was all over we wandered back to the Government dock and chatted to people again – and had great service from our favourite bar tender….

Regatta selfie Best bartender

Prices had been reduced for the final night – three beers for $5.   Yay!     Kids were still out late into the evening and there was a pretty little girl who kept coming up to me to do high fives.   Her dad said she liked me – ah bless…..

Cute kid

We eventually got back to Morphie quite late having thoroughly enjoyed our regatta experience.

Sunday morning we had a late start – and spent the afternoon on the beach bobbing and talking to the sting ray that patrols up and down. Richard even managed to stroke him at one point … all the time under the watchful eyes of the huge gulls that shout out ‘mine, mine, mine’ at every occasion.

Bobbing selfie

Stingray 1 Big gull

Lovely day…..followed by a great sunset just before we returned to Morphie.

Sunset 2

Monday and we’re back into town – and hoping for an update on when our cards might arrive…. The tracking system still says it is in Nassau.   Well the store we had addressed it to now say they can’t accept UPS….only DHL. Try the Post Office.   The Post Office says no, we don’t get UPS either.   Back to the chandlery and a different women says try Forbes. We got directions and went there – they are closed. Oh well – off to the laundry then. Got that done and back to Forbes – and the guy says yes, all UPS packages come here once they’ve been cleared by customs in Nassau.   He says Tuesday or Thursday so fingers crossed…. Feeling more hopeful than earlier!

We had another bobbing few hours on Chat ‘N’ Chill beach before returning to Morphie for a quiet night on board.

Today, Tuesday, it is pretty windy and choppy so would be a very wet dinghy ride over – so we’re probably going to stay on board today, unless the letter arrives….   Once we have that we can start planning on moving on up through the Exuma Islands – lots of new places still to explore.

Bye for now


Georgetown and the Family Regatta

Saturday we were up early to listen to the cruisers net at 8 am….   The usual stuff – water aerobics, yoga, Mexican train dominos, poker, volley ball – but did include some useful info like where to get petrol, diesel, water, propane, laundry, rubbish disposal, provisions etc…. Cruisers further down the island chain call this anchorage here in the Exumas “Chicken Island” as many cruisers that get here often settle in and never leave……  We do find it funny how people leave home to travel and end up recreating social networks in tropical places though – here there is even one cruiser who counts the number of boats in the anchorage regularly – apparently it has risen from 171 to over 200 this weekend – interesting eh????

Having had breakfast and got dink down from his davits we headed across the one mile channel – getting soaked along the way – to find the entrance into Lake Victoria which sits in the middle of Georgetown, the capital of the Exuma islands.   The bridge is small and narrow and water runs through it quite rapidly according to the state of the tide – but we negotiated it easily and found the best dinghy dock we had seen for a long while.

Heading to the bridge Entry to Victoria Lake

Dinghy dock

Dink secured we wandered town and located everything we needed… and enjoyed seeing other dinghies coming through the entrance from the top of the bridge.

Others coming through

Had a bite to eat in the café while picking up the internet, went shopping in the well-stocked supermarket, and returned to Morphie.  Oh yes, and we found out that the National Family Island Regatta starts on Tuesday so we have decided to stay here for a while and enjoy that – so we’ve ordered our replacement credit cards to be delivered here… We’ll have to see how that one works out!

Later in the afternoon we headed over to the Chat ‘N’ Chill beach bar for a few hours – met a few people – and just generally chilled out. We then headed back to Morphie for an early night and to watch the sun going down….

Beach bar Chat & Chill beach

Exuma sunset

Sunday morning and we did a few boat jobs before heading out to explore by dink – admiring the little coves and beaches that are tucked in along the shoreline of Stocking Island.  Oh and the beautiful colour of the water as well….

Beautiful water in the anchorage Exploring by dink Isolated beaches everywhere

Later on we headed back to the Chat ‘N’ Chill for their hog roast – not sure about all the different side dishes, I mean who has mac and cheese and coleslaw with pork, gravy, carrots and crackling????   But it was tasty anyway….

Sunday lunch

Now completely full up we headed into the water to cool down and went bobbing – again chatted to a few people – and were amazed by those that turned up in seaplanes and helicopters just to have lunch and leave again!   Seriously……   You could tell those staying in swanky resorts by the boats they arrived in and the designer costumes, bags and sunglasses – great people watching here!!!   And if you are wondering what I’m standing next to – it is a signpost to all those places people call home…. All too soon the sun was fading and it was time to go back to Morphie for another night.

Dink quite likes the beach Flying in for lunch Getting busier on a Sunday Sign post to everywhere Planes as well as dinghies Exuma sunset 2

Monday morning as we were having breakfast in the cockpit, we watched some large ships come through loaded up with the Bahamian sloops that are going to take part in the regatta. According to one of the local captains – to keep these regattas alive – the Government pay for the shipping of the boats between islands.

Delivery of local boats

We did the long (wet) run ashore again later in the morning and enjoyed watching some of the local sloops that were out in Elizabeth Harbour practising. They have huge sail areas and planks to sit out on to balance the boats – no winches just a few pulleys…   Apparently they have different classes and handicaps according to the sail material but otherwise they are pretty much matched boats….

Out practising Local boat getting ready Out practising 2


Wandering around town we watched the ships unload the sloops and the locals building up the local bars and eateries along the government dock.   We also wanted to go to the straw market but – unfortunately – this had burnt to the ground only days earlier. Very sad but Sandals have stepped in and were erecting a marquee for the local traders to use instead….. Glad to see that the local community are supported by large businesses…..

Unloading the boats Building the bars for regatta

We had a couple of beers in one of these temporary bars and ended up chatting with one of the racers who, by occupation, is a bonefish guide in Andros – which is something I had done in a previous life…The fly fishing in Andros not the guiding LOL. What a small world!   Had a great chat with him – found out his boat number and name – and we now have someone to support in the races…   O’Neill on a red boat, number 9, called Heath Cliff.   Always more fun when you have some to cheer on!   We really liked the beer prices too.

Great price for Kalik

After a while we headed back to Morphie for a quiet night on board – and all the boats are facing different ways as the sun goes down because of the lack of wind…   The forecast is for no wind for the rest of the week either – so looks like it is going to be a slow regatta.


Tuesday morning and it was hot hot hot – with no clouds nor a breath of wind. We made the run into town to pick up beer supplies and fill up our jerry cans of petrol and diesel….. The temperature  rose to 110 degrees while we were out and by the time we got back to Morphie we were both completely wiped out – so abandoned all thoughts of doing anything else and just rested up for the rest of the day. There were some boats out there practising as well as some races which children and cruisers were participating in….  I think Richard would have quite liked to have a go – definitely not for me, I would have ended up falling off one of those planks into the drink at the first tack!

Wednesday morning and it is grey and a bit drizzly – although there is a puff of wind ready for the first competitive races of The National Family Regatta.  This started in 1954 in an attempt to ensure that boat building skills were not lost to the islands as the demand for sail-driven working vessels reduced – and developed from there.  It s now one of the oldest regattas in the Bahamas…   The races are going to be coming quite close to us in the anchorage so we took up our positions on the coach roof and watched them go by….chased and sometimes impeded by cruisers following the race by dinghy. Really????   It was an amazing sight….and interesting to see that they start the races with their sails down….hoisting them is all done once the gun has gone off.   We loved watching the racing and got quite excited at times when they got so close to each other and we could imagine the shouting of ‘starboard’ and ‘water’ at the mark……

Regatta sailing Regatta sailing 2 Regatta sailing 3 Regatta sailing 4

Later on we headed into town to watch the last race of the day –  spotting a casualty from the earlier racing – and sat on the Government dock along with all the locals and waited….and waited…..   We chatted to a few people – met up with O’Neill again as they weren’t in this Class A race – and enjoyed the sight of the stingray swimming through the water coming to see what was going on!

Casualty from the first race

Interested crowd Stingray coming to see what is going on Regatta sailing 5 Regatta sailing 6 Regatta sailing 7

After the race was over we went back to the little bar we had found and had a couple.   The music was blaring from the huge sound systems and there were a few drunks around – but very few people and quite disappointing.   We thought it would be party central…and we were the only white faces too…   Clearly it potentially ends up that way because we spotted that the bars were selling condoms and there was a huge police presence……

Getting busier at the stalls

In the end we gave up, collected a takeout of chicken and headed back to Morphie. We had thought about going to the Rock ‘N’ Roll night at the Chat ‘N’ Chill but they were playing everything but so we decided not to go out again….

This morning – and the sun returned – and we’ve just watched the first race of the day….but now it is raining…..  Later on we are planning a beach afternoon if the weather improves – there is supposed to be a party in town tonight but we’re not sure whether we are going to bother to attend yet on the back of yesterday’s lacklustre event.

Oh yes the tracking system says our replacement cards have reached Nassau….. Still not convinced they are going to reach us here though!!

Bye for now


Long Island, Rum Cay, Conception Island and FISH!!!!

Late Friday morning we headed off on foot to Clarence Town to try to hire a car.   We were offered a cheaper deal for cash rather than credit card – phew – and took delivery of a Dodge Neon, in neon yellow.   There is only one main road on Long Island – the Queen’s Highway – so not possible to get lost….

Our hire car Queen's Highway

First port of call was Deadmans Cays – where the BTC store is. We found it easily and entered another (air-conditioned) world – not expecting such a lavish store on such a small island. We asked for Denise – told her Leroy from Mayaguana had sent us – and she quickly showed us what was available.   My iPhone is really old and struggles to even pick up a provider let alone receive texts now – so we decided to buy a new unlocked smart phone to be our on board hotspot which I can also use at home. As well as a Samsung phone we purchased 4GB of data and put $20 on for calls.   Got to the till – and the phone had reduced by $90 overnight, virtually half of its original offer price.   Denise was worried so checked it out with head office and, yes, it was true. Result!!! Having had a quick lesson on how it all worked we said our farewells and went off exploring. Excellent service – really impressed.

New phone

We went to Salt Pond – to check it out as a potential anchorage – but decided, although stunning, there is really nothing to warrant the effect of getting there so abandoned the idea. We stopped for lunch at a roadside shack – great chicken and fish and dead VW beetles – before carrying on.

Panorama of Salt Pond

Beetle graveyard

We really enjoyed the scenery as we drove around and noted that the housing was quite large, spacious and relatively affluent with manicured gardens.   There are also loads of boarded up and derelict houses which is a shame…. The Bahamians do not tend to knock down old houses as they believe the spirits reside within and will move in with them if they do.  Oh yes, and while out and about, we managed to pick up a new anchor snubber…..

Long Island 1 Long Island 2 Long Island 3 Long Island 4 Long Island 5

We then visited Deans Blue Hole, which is the deepest in the world. When we got there we came across a monument to one teenage girl and two women who died here in 2008. The blue hole is at the edge of the beach under some cliffs and there are no barriers to it – the young girl apparently went too close and the sand gave way underneath her…. the two women perished trying to rescue her. Clearly a tragedy – but you do have to wonder why they don’t have at least one life ring nearby to throw to people in case of difficulty???

On the way to the Blue Hole Deans warning Family day ends in tragedy

This is an amazing place created by nature…..     Oh yes, in case you are wondering, the structure in the middle of the blue hole is used by free divers who hold annual competitions here.

Deans Blue Hole

Back to Clarence Town and we visited the two churches. These were built by Father Jerome who was born in 1876 as John Cecil Hawes, initially became an architect before becoming an Anglian priest. After the 1908 hurricane he came to the Bahamas to restore the damaged Anglian churches using his unique stamp of hurricane-proof stonework with thick walls and barrel-vaulted roofs.   His retirement home and last Catholic church – having by now converted to Catholicism – were built on nearby Cat Island.

Anglican Church, Long Island Catholic Church, Clarence Town

The views from Clarence Town across the anchorage are really quite spectacular.

Clarence Town anchorage View from Catholic Church down to Clarence Town anchorage

We returned the car – got a lift back to the marina – and settled into the Outer Edge Grill for a couple of beers while I published the blog that I’d written in the morning. Back to Morphie and an early night.

Marina restaurant, Long Island

Saturday morning we checked the phone worked – obviously we need to be in range of a BTC tower – yay we have internet on board.   Hurrah!!  The rest of the day we went ashore to the marina and did laundry and cleaned Morphie thoroughly – as we have Andy and Nicky from Intrepid of Dover coming over for sundowners later.

Flying Fish Marina Flying Fish Marina 2 Time for Laundry again

Was a busy day and we had a nice evening…   They have circumnavigated the world and gave us some really useful info for crossing the Pacific.   We gave them PG tips in return LOL.

Sunday morning and Andy came by with some weather and radio station books for the Pacific – fantastic, thank you so much.   We then picked up anchor with our destination Rum Cay, 35 miles away.   We had a fantastic sail with some rogue waves beating us up and some strong easterly currents to content with – but had a wonderful time.

Great sailing!

As we crossed deep contour lines into shallow water we had just started our engine as we reached our final waypoint – and were about to take down the sails in preparation for eyeballing through the anchorage – and the fishing lure went mad.   OMG – Richard has caught a fish – and we quickly identified it as a mahi mahi by its skin colour as it jumped and tried to escape.   So Richard played the fish – on a hand line – while I managed the boat….   Finally we got the sails away, the fish was still attached, and we pulled him on board.   Wow – Richard is one very excited person!   We secured him – the fish, not Richard – on the deck while we picked our way into the anchorage through the coral bombies….. and got our anchor down at 2pm.   Now that we were secure it was time for a photo opportunity before we filleted the fish for the freezer.

Come to Daddy Very happy fisherman Good size Mahi Mahi

I kept some back and while Richard cleaned all the blood and gore from Morphie I cooked him fish tacos.   Catch to plate in less than two hours.  A very happy and full husband….

We decided we didn’t fancy snorkelling having put blood in the water LOL so had a lazy afternoon and evening on board, enjoying the beautiful water and the sunset.

Rum Cay anchorage Rum Cay sunset

Monday morning we went ashore to explore but the Government dock was too high – so we dinked into the local marina. Well this is a construction site – a few boats were still tied up – but many of the piers and docks were dilapidated and were no longer connected to land.   Nice views though and a good place for gulls to have a snooze.

Dock to nowhere, Rum Cay Marina not really in use, Rum Cay View out to the anchorage, Rum @Cay Under construction Unusual place to park a boat

Gulls taking a nap, Rum Cay

We turned around and went back to the town dock and beached dink instead.   We met a local guy straight away – really friendly – had a chat and wandered around and noted the size of the small government building which seems to serve many purposes.  We found the graveyard and it was very sad to see so many graves just marked with a rock and no inscription – only the very wealthy had headstones, including one from the original land-owning family dating back to 1910. Carrying on we wandered into a bar – no beer sorry – and wandered out. We checked on Morphie out in the anchorage and found another bar.

No dinghy dock, Rum Cay Rum Cay welcome

Rum Cay 1 Rum Cay 2 Rum Cay church Rum Cay Government building

Dolores was very pleased to see us and showed us her Sand Bar.   Unfortunately she had no supplies of anything – all she could offer us was tequila – er, no thanks. But we had a lovely chat and signed her visitor’s book whilst being regaled with local stories and back in the day when Jackie Onassis visited…..   She also told us about the marina – apparently the owner was jealous that a new bar was taking his business so he pulled the competitors bar down one night. To avoid prosecution he ended up giving away his land…..hence the current development. One really interesting fact we found out was that, to encourage islanders to return and settle on the out islands, one member of each family is given a Government job to ensure that all settlers on the “family” islands have a living wage. To put this into perspective though, there are only about 50 people living on Rum Cay right now.   The Government also stepped in to assist Dolores rebuild her bar and home after it was devastated by a hurricane many years ago…..


Back on board and we welcome Intrepid to the anchorage and accepted sundowner invitations.  We decide to go bobbing for an hour on the beach so I’m unpacking the bag from earlier and putting everything away – and ask Richard where is the iPad?   He thinks I’m kidding – er no…   Damn…. I think we have left it in the bar when we were searching in the bag for a pen.   Richard is back in dink faster than you have ever seen him move – he heads to the bar – and it is shut. He asks the guys outside to open it for him as he thinks he has left something behind – they do, and thankfully, the iPad is sitting on the seat where we left it.   He comes back to Morphie very thankful for honest people!   So we spent a very short time on the beach having a bob with our last two beers on board before returning to Morphie, cleaning up, and going over to Intrepid for sundowners. We had a lovely evening…. and I tried marmite popcorn for the first time ever!   Think Twiglets for the taste….  Totally hooked now…

Andy and Nicky

Tuesday morning and we left Rum Cay early to sail to Conception Island – only 24 miles away.

Goodbye Rum Cay

Had a great sail – wind at 90 degrees – and our anchor was down by 1.30 pm. This is an uninhabited island which is also a marine park – with no facilities and one of the few places without a BTC tower, so no communications either.   We snorkelled the anchor in beautiful clear azure blue water and had a quiet night on board watching the spectacular sunset and the milky way in the star-strewn night sky.

Arriving at Conception Island Shadows and colours Sunset at Conception

Wednesday morning and we went out exploring by dink – and snorkelled a few spots on the reef. Had a good time and we enjoyed playing in the sea.   We didn’t see a lot of huge fish nor variety but there was some nice coral around and we did get followed by a baby barracuda for a while.

Exploring by dinghy Exploring by dinghy 2 Snorkelling 1 Snorkelling 2 Snorkelling 3 Snorkelling 4 Snorkelling 5 Snorkelling 6 Snorkelling 7 Snorkelling 8 Richard checking me out!

As we headed back after our final snorkel later in the afternoon we realised that the water was getting a bit dark and that Morphie was surrounded by clouds. Oh well, never mind. Was a great day and Richard enjoyed his first mahi mahi dinner.

Morphie in the clouds, Conception

Conception Island sunset

Thursday morning and we did boat jobs….. before heading out exploring in dink again. We wanted to go through the cut into the interior which is mangrove swamps, but needed to wait for a rising tide to get through the very narrow and shallow entrance.   On the way we stopped off at a number of places to admire the beaches, the reefs and the colour of the sea – plus the birds that are flying overhead all the time.

Reefs on Conception Conception Island 1 Conception Island 2 Conception Island 3 Conception Island anchorageStunning birds

We got through the cut – had to get out to push dink a little way because of how shallow it was – and then meandered through the channels….   Absolutely stunning – no other word for it!   We frightened a few sharks, turtles and rays by dink but unfortunately they all swam away quickly when they spotted us – so no photos. We did have our snorkelling gear in dink but neither of us fancied it as the water was soooo murky.

Into the Mangroves Into the Mangroves 2 Into the Mangroves 3 Into the Mangroves 4 Into the Mangroves 5 Into the Mangroves 6 Into the Mangroves 7 Into the Mangoves 8 Into the Mangroves 9

After a couple of hours we came out of the shallows and dinked around the headland back to the anchorage – and went snorkelling on another reef.   Again, not a lot of fish, but we had a good time.Snorkelling 2Snorkelling 2 - 2 Snorkelling 2 - 3 Snorkelling 2 - 4 Snorkelling 2 - 5 Snorkelling 2 - 6

Back on board and we had an early dinner and got Morphie ready to go to sea – we are heading off early in the morning for our 40+ mile passage to the Exumas.   Not a long passage but we want to arrive at a reasonable hour to spot those coral bombies / rocks in the water.   So early to bed after sunset.

Sunset - CI

This morning – Friday – and we were up before the sun and picked up anchor at 6am – enjoyed the sight of the huge yacht Adele lit up as we passed – and then the sun rose behind us.

Goodbye to Adele Sunrise over Conception

We were sad to leave Conception Island…. It truly is a very very special magical place…..   Sigh……  We had another great and fast sail – with much more boat traffic than we are used to – and, as we passed the end of Long Island across the drop-offs the fishing line went again……   What?!?   Hoping for a tuna or a wahoo Richard battles this fish until it jumps out and we realise that it is another mahi mahi. He was pretty strong and feisty and Richard had to work hard with the hand line to bring him to the boat. Eventually he goes quiet and we lift him in – quick photo opportunity.

Mahi mahi no.2 Mahi mahi no. 2 -2

Richard gives him an air kiss and tells him that he lives to fight another day before releasing him back into the water.   Not sure who was more surprised at all this – Richard at catching another large fish or the mahi mahi at being released!

We eventually spotted land ahead…..

Approaching the Exumas

…..and whilst still in safer deep water we took down the sails and motored into the narrow cut – having timed it right for slack water – between the cays and Great Exuma working our way along the channel until we got our anchor down at 2.00 pm. We are now anchored off Higgins Landing on Stocking Island, opposite Georgetown on Great Exuma. Looking forward to exploring this new area tomorrow……..

Exumas anchorage 1 Exumas anchorage 2

Bye for now


From the T&CIs to the Bahamas – now in Long Island

Saturday morning we said fond farewells to South Side Marina, Provodenciales, and motored out the 18 miles across the pristine waters of the Caicos banks to the coast of West Caicos, taking the opportunity to make some water along the way.

Goodbye to South Side Marina Crossing the Caicos banks

We had heard about the large development – Russian cash allegedly – that had been stalled part-way through and was surprised at its size.   Rumour has it that Putin has frozen the owner’s bank account as it may be from ill-gotten gains…. so unlikely that it will ever be finished. Shame because it looks beautiful.   As we cleared the shallows into the deep coming off the banks Rocking B passed us under sail.

Abandoned building project Rocking B passing us

Along the coast there are dive mooring balls that we are allowed to use overnight – as anchoring is prohibited in this area – so picked one up and decided to go snorkelling.   Not much to see in this sparkling clear water – clearly the dive spot is behind us into the blue – but we came across a couple of cute critters hiding in the soft coral-encrusted rock.

Snorkelling WC Snorkelling WC 2 Snorkelling WC 3

Coming back to Morphie we checked on our mooring ball rig and were not impressed by the frayed rope which looks like it has been propped – so quickly we got back on board and moved to another one.

Mooring ball about to fail

After an early dinner we headed over for sundowners on board Rocking B – chatted to Ken and Margaret and had cuddles with their two dogs……   We watched in awe the formation of an impressive water spout out at sea behind us – not sure we would have been quite so laid back had it been coming our way!!!!


Sunday morning at 6 am we slipped away from our mooring ball under a moonlit sky into the deep water for the passage across to Mayaguana, our first Bahamian island.

Moonlit departure

We started out with reefed sails and watched the spectacular sunrise……

Sunrise at sea Sunrise at sea 2

The seas weren’t too big and the wind wasn’t too strong so we quickly shook out our reefs and enjoyed our first beam reach under full sails for a while…   Absolutely lovely!   52 miles later we entered Abrahams Bay.   This is a huge anchorage behind a reef but, as you can see from the chart extract it needs careful eyeball navigation.

Mayaguana anchorage

As we didn’t get there until almost 3pm we decided to just go in enough to get shelter and anchor in soft sand. The anchor dug in straight away and we enjoyed the view – fantastic.

Panorama of Mayaguana anchorage

We had a quiet night on board listening to the wind howling through our rigging and watching the sun going down.   Sunset is much later now and it doesn’t get dark until about 7.30 pm which is nice……

Bahamas sunset

Monday morning we picked up our anchor and worked our way through the rocks, coral bombies and shallows to get closer to the settlement.   Of course, closer is relative – we still had about a mile to dinghy in – but we were happy….

Navigating the shallows

We dropped dink and followed the markers to the Government dock which actually almost dries at low tide.   We tied up dink and admired the view out to the anchorage and across to the bonefish flats….

Dinghy path through

Bonefish flats

Dink on the dock

Then we wandered the hot and dusty sand road into the settlement – to find, as expected, the customs and immigration were shut because of Easter. But the friendly locals all told us it was relaxed here and we could wander without being cleared in if we wanted to. Well we did – so we found a local store and bought bread – and then the local hostelry where we enjoyed our first Bahamiam brew Bush Crack. Not sure about the name – although the taste wasn’t too bad LOL.

Road into town The town Local beer

While in the bar we were chatting to Lloyd and he said there was good diving here – we were excited until we realised he meant free diving.   Errrrr…..don’t think that is for us – thanks, but no thanks!!!!   After a while chatting we headed back to Morphie for another quiet night – and spectacular sunset – on board.

Bahamas sunset 2

Tuesday morning and we were up and back in town to get checked in.

Back into town

Because of the Easter holidays the queue was long – this office is the Post Office, the Customs / Immigration / the magistrates court and just about anything else Governmental that you can think of.   So it was pretty busy – particularly with people wanting to cash cheques. We got our forms – started filling them in (using carbon paper) – and admired the respect that everyone has for each other….   Good morning “Mrs B” etc…   Finally we were legal – with cruising and fishing permit in hand – and we wandered off again, this time finding another convenience store which sold Ginger Nut biscuits and fresh potatoes and cabbage.   Nice….   Everyone is so friendly here – we stopped and chatted to many locals along the way.   We finally ended up in the Batelco office – the Bahamas telephone company – as we need to sort out internet access while we are in the remote areas to be able to stay in touch.   Unfortunately Audrey was sick – too much partying at Easter?!? – so we were asked to come back another day.   No worries – we headed out through the shallow dinghy track back to Morphie.

Dinghy path through 2

We got back on board – raised our Bahamas courtesy flag – and decided to snorkel around the boat in the afternoon. It is all sand with nothing to see apart from the odd conch – but we did have some fun in the water. Check out the photos and see how shallow and clear it all is……..   Another quiet night on board with fresh veggies! Yum….

Good anchor set Hi Morphie Richard under Morphie Richard under Morphie 2

Wednesday morning and we returned to Batelco – unfortunately Audrey was still sick. So we decided to head back to Morphie and leave Mayaguana – destination Clarence Town on Long Island.   We passage planned – made food – and were underway by 11.50 am having found that my lifejacket had fallen apart whilst being stored – not good!!!   So Richard and I are going to have to share his for the night passage when doing shifts – not ideal – we do have others on board but we don’t like them although they would be adequate in an emergency.   Looks like another thing to add for the list for when we get to Florida….


We said goodbye to the shallow anchorage, ran alongside the coast of Mayaguana under full genoa downwind – we even gybed to follow our rhumb line – and then, of course, the wind shifted and we ended up beating into it!   Oh well – never mind.   We pulled out the main and got on with it – then after about two hours the wind clocked again – and we are now on a beam reach…. Unfortunately the wind is a little light at only 10 knots so we have slowed down – but hey we are having fun so who cares?!?

Leaving Mayaguana behind

The sun went down – another great sunset at sea – and was very dark until the moon came up later.

Sailing into the sunset

We had some usual night traffic – one tug, one cruiseship and one tanker this time….   We left Plana Cays, Acklins Island and Crooked Island to port and continued on into the morning…..   At 2.20 pm – on Thursday afternoon – after a 127 mile passage, we dropped our anchor behind Strachan Cay and opposite Clarence Town.   Beautiful anchorage…..

Clarence Town anchorage Clarence Town anchorage 2

After getting ourselves cleaned up we headed into Flying Fish Marina to enquire about laundry, taxis into Deadmans Cay, internet access etc.   They weren’t particularly helpful as we are not marina guests.   We then wandered to the marina’s restaurant where we had a couple of beers and an early supper whilst we caught up using their internet. While we were sitting there a big fishing boat came in and started to cut up the catch – and throwing the remains into the water – obviously a regular thing as the sharks were waiting for the feeding to start….

Shark feeding in the marina

We headed back to Morphie and had a very early night to catch up on our sleep after our overnight passage.

This morning – Friday – I got up early to blog while Richard cleaned salt off the rail…..  Later on we are heading into town to see if we can get a hire car to do a bit of exploring – and to visit the ‘flagship’ BTC store to sort out internet access…..  Fingers crossed.

Bye for now


Out and about in Providenciales

Tuesday we enjoyed a lazy day on the internet, reading, cleaning and generally just chilling…. and thoroughly enjoyed it. In the evening we popped up to Bob’s Bar which sits above the marina and had a nice couple of hours chatting to Bob, Cam and the two dogs Effie and Gemma.   We also met our marina neighbours Ken and Margaret who are cruising on their large catamaran called Rocking B. The views out across the channel and further out to sea are quite beautiful…..

Bobs bar Channel into the marina View from Bobs Bar

Wednesday we took Bob up on his offer to take us into town to visit the IGA supermarket – so we quickly took the opportunity of topping up drinking vouchers at the ATM – and got some basic provisions.

Huge supermarkets

Arriving back in the marina and Effie and Gemma were disgusted with our efforts – no dog treats in the bags…. Must try harder!    We also investigated doing some diving – $160 each for a two tank dive using our own gear. And one of our pet hates is a very busy dive boat, so I watched carefully when they left and counted 18….   We are not sure we want to spend $320 for the experience – and don’t forget we’ll have to pay the $300 cruising licence to stay here.   Hmmmmm….not sure…..

After a long debate we decided to wait to go diving until we get to the Bahamas – so close geographically it can’t be that different….. Disappointed but never mind.   Morphie quite likes it here……..and I quite like not having to climb up or down onto huge concrete docks either.

Morphie at South Side Marina

In the marina there are a couple of mangled large props sitting around – and they belong to a $5mn motorcruiser which was put up onto Molasses Reef by the delivery captain at 25 knots having only 40 hours on the engine since new!   The bottom was ripped out and they have filled it with plywood and epoxied over it to make it waterproof – but it is a right off and will never go to sea again probably.

Damaged propeller Boat that owns the propeller

What a sorry tale and certainly puts our bent anchor into perspective – oh yes, and we’ve got it straightened…. Yay!

Straightened anchor

In the evening we went to a pot luck BBQ at Bob’s Bar and met a lot of locals and more cruisers who are in other small marinas dotted around. Was quite a lively and fun event but eventually torrential rain stopped play….   Bob is a real character – born in the UK, raised in Canada, and moved here almost 40 years ago….  Here is an old photo of him with the dogs.

Bob and the dogs

Thursday morning and we headed out to hire a car and explore the island.   We arrived at the rental place to be told you can’t hire a car without a credit card – not here, not in the Bahamas and definitely not in the USA.   Damn….this is going to be difficult going forward….   Eventually the guy said – OK take the car we’ll take cash – and we got away with it. But not sure that is going to happen anywhere else – once we get to Florida we’ll have to stay put long enough to get the replacement cards sent to us……   Our little hire car was adequate and pretty reasonable at $49 a day – so we headed off.   First stop was the port to get our departure papers……and then we drove the whole length of the island.

Our small hire car

We headed out on the main dual carriageway – and Richard enjoyed driving on the left and having proper roundabouts again – eventually we arrived at the Blue Haven resort where the brand new IGY marina on the Leeward end of the island is located.   The marina was spectacular although the entrance is tricky through the extensive reef and they send out a pilot for all the boats coming in.   A bit disappointed that we didn’t get to stay here but, to be honest, it was all a bit sterile and totally lacked any ambience whatsoever.

Driving on the left New IGY marina New IGY marina 2

Moving on we admired the canal system and the very large homes that were built along the waterfront.

Waterfront properties

Then we came to the main tourist spot – Grace Bay – and it was full of large resorts with most of the big hotel chains present with very few public accesses to the beach. The beach is stunning – beautiful blue water lapping onto white powder sand…..

Grace Bay Big resorts

Panorama of Grace Bay

Not that many tourists around and certainly no small vending operations set up by locals although I did see some jewellery sellers and one hair braiding lady in operation.   All the action is in the hotels it would appear… Driving back towards downtown Providenciales we saw the huge mall – yep designer shops again – and noticed the stark difference between the opulence of the homes and the poverty that the locals clearly live in…… This may account for their less than friendly attitude we have encountered so far here in Providenciales.

Huge houses Huge houses 2

Poverty for the locals

Moving on and we drove around the flamingo lake – yes we saw two – and continued on the dirt roads which are littered with rubbish thrown out of cars.


Only the main roads have tarmac Trash just thrown out of cars

The interior of the island is virtually desert sitting on a limestone base with scrubby vegetation and swamps – the beautiful manicured grounds all belong to the hotels and the luxury houses. And money does not equal taste – some of them were downright ugly!   The scrub land was all parcelled off into lots ready for development which seems to be a theme on this island with Sotherbys offering every other house or lot for sale…

Barren lands Building lots waiting to be sold Huge houses 3 Provo 1

So what do we think? Well, actually we are not impressed…… If you came here for a relaxing hotel holiday on a fantastic beach then I think you would enjoy it a lot.   If you went all inclusive so you could actually afford to go diving then yes that would be great too!   But overall Providenciales has little charm and is a bit soulless….

Friday morning – today – and we were supposed to be leaving to stage for our passage to the Bahamas.   But the weather is not good – strong winds and squalls – so we told the marina office and they said that customs will not force us to leave into bad weather as they would have some liability – don’t worry about it, have a good day and enjoy yourselves. So we extended the hire car and took ourselves off to that stunning beach armed with a cooler and went bobbing….   Was lovely!

Bobbing time Day on the beach Laughing gulls are back Bringing the beer

Back in the marina now – and we are definitely leaving tomorrow and should arrive into Mayaguana, our port of entry into the Bahamas, on Sunday.   But, of course, it is Easter Sunday so we don’t know whether we can actually check in or not – and also whether we can get any internet access either…..   So just to manage expectations we’ll be back on line the minute we are able.

Bye for now