Exploring Eleuthera

Saturday morning we were up early and picked up anchor for the 38 mile passage along the coast of Eleuthera towards our next destination Hatchet Bay / Alice Town.   The sail was just perfection – a reach across beautiful blue waters – and all too soon we were getting close, were dodging fish trap floaties, and approaching the narrow entrance into Hatchet Bay.

Beautiful coloured water Approaching the cut into Hatchet Bay

The entrance is carved though a high rocky cliff and you only spot the opening when you are almost upon it.   We put away the sails, turned in, and went for it – avoiding the shoals and rocks on the starboard side as you enter – meaning we were pretty close to the cliffs on the port side.

Not a lot of room Not a lot of room 2

Once safely inside the ‘pond’ as the locals call it – we worked out way towards the Government dock to pick up a mooring.  Still having a poorly outboard we want to get as close to the dinghy landing as possible. The moorings are reasonably priced and although the ground tackle was good the painter wasn’t – so we ended up doing a dance backwards and forwards to get two ropes through two separate swivels attached to the ball to give us some peace of mind.  Great – job done.   What a nice chilled place.

Morphie tied up....

We were surprised to see the huge Nassau ferry in port – how does he get that boat through that cut???!!!???

Nassau ferry

We had been contacted by the Front Porch via the VHF as they now own the moorings. So we nursed dink around the back of the ferry towards the dinghy landing – bit of a different view looking up through his hulls….   We also went past a few old boats that have definitely not moved for quite a while – and one actually had a bird sitting on her nest on the anchor roller…..

He's a big boy Nexting in a bow roller

We tied up and went ashore and up to the Front Porch. Which is actually a really nice seafood restaurant overlooking the pond.

Front Porch, seafood restaurant

So that was it – we decided to stay – and had a fantastic meal. I had the grouper with the mango salsa and Richard ate the biggest stone crab claws I had ever seen!   Great food and service and we returned to Morphie pretty full up for an early night.

Grouper dinner Size of that crab!

On Sunday after a leisurely start we went for a wander around Alice Town – the settlement that is on the south eastern shore of the pond.  On the way we admired the dead boat tied to the harbour wall – not sure why they just leave them there to rot….   And we liked the official ‘welcome’ to the Home of the Country’s Safest Harbour which sat on the roundabout to the Queen’s Highway.

Dead boat Welcome

This is the first Bahamian village we have come across that is visibly poorer than other communities we have visited so far – the housing is wooden, old, with many boarded up and abandoned…. Lots of abandoned building projects too….  Those homes that were occupied were very shabby and it was clear that many of them did not have running water inside their homes as the washing up was being done outside on tables along with hair washes etc.

Abandoned or partially built Poor housing

Moving on we came to the Seaside Bar and Takeaway and went inside but, as usual, full of men. The advantage of this place though was that there were some benches overlooking the ocean so we sat down and enjoyed the view with a cold beer.   Whilst we were chatting we realised that the boat tied to the tree was taking on water in a big way.

Taking on water

Richard told Kevin – the bar owner – and he rushed off to tell the owner of the little speedboat. By now the water is lapping the speakers in the cockpit and a few things have floated away. Then two jeeps drove up at speed and two guys jumped into the water…. But they were clearly struggling to hold the boat into the waves while attempting to get the pump running etc. So Richard did his international rescue thing by holding the boat for them so they could man the bilge pump…..

International rescue

Of course this attracted an audience and Kevin came and sat with me while all this was going on – and I found out that his family have owned this bar for three generations and his eldest son will inherit, once he has retired from the police force. He is actually in the Police Band that we saw in Georgetown at the family regatta – what a small world eh???   Anyway…. Back to the rescue…..   Richard is finally told to let go while the guy takes off and the rasta heads off in his truck. Did they say thank you? Of course not….   But the rest of the audience were impressed by my very wet hero and Kevin actually gave him a beer for free…..   So at least someone appreciated his efforts!

The soaking wet hero Kevin the bar owner

Heading back – with Richard drying out as we went – we went into the Front Porch for an internet fix and a final beer. But the internet there is really quite poor – great speed one minute, drops out the next. All very frustrating as I wanted to phone my mum but this just wasn’t a decent enough signal.   Oh well, will try again tomorrow.

Monday morning and we are gave Morphie some love – this time it was the varnish ‘keepers’ that kept us entertained.   Later on we headed back into town and spotted the fantastic antique fire engine – obviously very cherished as all its metal was sparkling.   We also admired the great trees on our route and the view of the gap in the cliffs back out to the banks – which looks much bigger from this angle.   Nothing was open as it was a Bank Holiday – not sure if they celebrate the US’s Memorial Day or the UK’s Whitsun – but we’d completely forgotten about that.

Fire truck Love these trees Love these trees 2Gap out of the bay from the road

We found another bar tucked away – and enjoyed all the comings and goings of the crew and guests who were waiting for the ferry to leave.   We enjoyed just sitting and people watching – and eventually headed back to the Front Porch to try the internet again.   Rubbish – no good – sorry mum!   We had really enjoyed our time here in this very quiet little hamlet.

Two Brothers bar

Tuesday morning and we left Hatchet Bay bound for the Glass Window, a short 10 mile passage.

Goodbye Hatchet Bay

Along the way the western coast has miles of rugged imposing bluffs with the occasional tiny beach emerging behind the rocks.   We spotted one area which looked like a very nice holiday resort – a lot of houses built into the top of cliffs – and Gregory Town just visible behind a small natural basin.   Great scenery……and another great sailing day….

Coast of Eleuthera Great sailing Coast of Eleuthera 2

The Glass Window is a distinctive geographical feature in North Eleuthera which is a bridged breach at the island’s narrowest part. On its Atlantic Ocean side – where the reef is not continuous – the waves gnawed at this weak point and broke the island’s natural bridge in two.   A bridge was then constructed but this got hit by a huge rogue wave in 1991 and was knocked seven feet to the west.   Hard to imagine the power of that wave!     We went as close as we could in Morphie – but the water is pretty shallow here – and unfortunately the waves were not really hitting the Atlantic side so the full impact wasn’t seen of the view across the banks to the rough waters beyond.

Glass Window

Having taken in the sights we dropped back down the coast to Goulding Bay and found a fantastic beach to anchor off of…..with protection from the easterly tradewinds.   We anchored, relaxed for a while, and then went ashore. There were a few people about from the private houses that were dotted along the shoreline – but for the most time we had a private bobbing paradise.   Fantastic – thoroughly enjoyed ourselves….

Private paradise Bobbing Own private beach

Quiet night on board after a moody sunset.

Goodnight Eleuthera

This morning (Wednesday) we picked up our anchor to make the 34 mile trip to Spanish Wells.  This requires going through the Current Cut which needs to be carefully timed to ensure the currents are right….   The wind was much stronger than forecast – again – and the seas were pretty lively.   We had a very rolly downwind sail and, as we approached the cut, we spotted something in the distance and couldn’t work it out…. It looked for a while like a seaplane….   Eventually we realised that it was a fishing boat and it was in the cut – not great for us – so we radioed him to see what his intentions were. And, of course, they declined to answer.   We carried on navigating through the channel towards the cut and then realised that, actually, he was anchored just outside of it so nothing to worry about. Phew!

Fishing vessel

Richard was concentrating hard on the helm while I just watched the depth constantly…..   We were an hour before low tide so had some current running with us and we met a trawler coming the other way – but got through easily and admired the view of the constantly moving shallow sand flats along the coast.

Concentrating! Heading towards current cut Turning into the cut Shifting sand flats

We then had to punch our way into the wind – which continued to strengthen – and was now gusting 27 knots.   And the seas were pretty big too….   Not sure why this keeps happening to us LOL.  Anyway… we managed to make it to the eastern end of Charles Island, through the bonefish flats, and picked up a mooring ball in the anchorage. There really isn’t anywhere to anchor close to Spanish Wells and we can’t do a long dinghy ride at the minute.

View across to Spanish Wells

We are hoping to be able to get our outboard fixed here – but have just found out that Wednesday is half-day closing – so we’ll not bother going ashore today….. Hopefully we’ll get things organised tomorrow and looking forward to exploring this town and the nearby Harbour Island – looks pretty prosperous from what we can see here in the anchorage.

Bye for now


The Exumas to Eleuthera

Sunday morning we watched the sunrise over Highbourne Cay before we motored our way out through the narrow and dog-legged cut for the 45 mile run to Eleuthera.

Sunrise over Highbourne

The forecast was perfect – 15 knots of breeze from the South East and small seas.   The minute we cleared through the cut we realised that the forecast was a tad optimistic.  The wind quickly picked up to 20-25 knots from the North East and the seas were big….

Big seas

This meant that our rhumb line was pretty much direct into the wind – so we raised reefed sails and attempted to climb above it. This put us straight into the rough seas and we took green water over the bow many a time, making slow progress although being pushed down.   We then tacked hoping for better boat speed as the waves were hitting our port quarter rather than stopping us head on. But it was dire and a storm was brewing ahead of us, the wind was steadily increasing, and it was looking really nasty – and our ETA was now into the hours of darkness….

Here comes a storm

We decided to abort – this is madness – and ran for cover.  So we checked the nearest widest cut back onto the Exumas bank – which was Wax Cay Cut. And, of course, by now the tide was ebbing into a strong North Easterly which meant standing waves at the cut – no choice got to get to shelter – so we motored through some horrendous conditions and breathed a very big sigh of relief to get back into the relative calm of the Exuma banks once again.

Horrendous conditions

We decided we might as well carry on back to Warderick Wells to improve the angle of our future sail to Eleuthera, whenever that might be!!!   So we enjoyed brisk sailing conditions and picked up a mooring ball behind Emerald Rock at 2.30 pm – a 39.3 mile passage to nowhere!!!   The sun came out temporarily for a photo opportunity but then the heavens opened again – you really cannot believe that it was the same day.  We ended up with a wet, windy, miserable afternoon and evening on board but at least we were safe….Safe behind Emerald Rock

Monday morning we listened to Chris Parker on the SSB and the weather forecast was looking good so decided to try again…… and the rainbow suggested better weather ahead.

Rainbow to wake up to

We slipped our mooring ball at 7.15 and motored our way out through the Warderick Wells Cut in the Exuma Sound. By 9.00 am we had a squall coming at us……and then it cleared…..and then another one brewed. We were beating into the wind at 45 degrees and were having a good sail but were getting a bit fed up with the constant reefing of the genoa to cope with the erratic wind speeds.   So we decided to put it away and sail on staysail and double reefed main only. Well, it worked like a dream, the boat flattened, we picked up speed and made good way into quite a big bouncy sea…

Bouncy conditions

We were enjoying ourselves – although we recognised that the conditions were not ideal so were wearing life jackets and were harnessed into the cockpit – and I even got a picture of Richard smiling…..

Happy sailor

At noon we had land ahoy – Cape Eleuthera – and finally had our anchor down in Rock Sound, Eleuthera, at 4.30 pm having completed a quite challenging 50 mile passage. We had an early night having watched a lovely sunset.

Cape Eleuthera

Goodnight Rock Sound

Tuesday morning and we nursed dink ashore – tying to the broken down pier remains – and wandered into the settlement.  We spoke by phone to a recommended mechanic but he wouldn’t travel to us – and we were quite a long way away from him – so we decided to leave it for now. We found a nice coffee shop that had wifi so got ourselves caught up.

Rock Sound Morphie in the anchorage

Coffee and wifi shopThen we filled up our diesel jerry cans and took them back to Morphie. Then we walked to the supermarket, the bank, and the liquor store – wow, it was a long way – but pleasantly surprised by the size of the store and the reasonable prices!!!   On the way we came across a hearse that looked like something straight out of the Blues Brothers.

Main road Blues brothers Proper shops

We stocked up on drinking vouchers and then went shopping before making the very slow and hot walk back to the dock – our knuckles were grazing the floor by the time we got back to dink LOL….   But the occasional shower cooled us off!   Jobs done – back on board and purchases stored – and we went back out again. This time we found Sammys Restaurant and had a fantastic very late lunch and a few beers before heading back to Morphie for another early night….

Wednesday morning and we headed into town to talk to the tailor we had found.   When we had Morphie fitted out for cruising we had sunscreens made – and chose a wide meshed product. Well, we made a mistake….. They do keep the worst of the sun out but it doesn’t give us a shady cockpit.

Sun blinds before

So when we were home we managed to buy some rip stop material to line them with and have been looking for someone to do this for us ever since….   Gibson and Sons were happy to do it – for a reasonable price – so we dropped the stuff off to them. Oh yes, and I ordered two cockpit cushions at the same time as they had plain dark blue sunbrella material in stock – something I have wanted for a long time, but Richard always thought they were too expensive for what they were.   Well, this time the price was right, yay!!!

We then went to the laundry we had found the day before and enjoyed our chat with the guy who owned it.   He was very proud of his British education, his sporting achievements and his daughters who were all professional women – as in teachers, doctors etc.   We also found out that the lack of rum shops and bars was due to the very (diverse) religious upbringing of the local Bahamians. In fact this island was originally settled by British Eleutherians seeking religious freedom.  Finished with the laundry we headed off back to Sammys again and, although we weren’t planning it, we couldn’t resist the pull of their great food…..   Back on board we went without dinner before retiring for the night.

Thursday morning and we put ourselves to work.   Morphie has looked after us really well in recent times…. so it is time she got our attention. We did a spring clean down below including polishing all the wood – and did most of the stainless.   In the afternoon we went back to the tailors and he had finished – yay – and they looked fantastic!   Very pleased we returned to Morphie and reinstalled the screens – what a difference. We now have a cool shady place to read in the afternoons and really nice cushions to lean on too…

Sun blinds after New cockpit cushions

New blinds make shady cockpit

Later on we headed back into town and wandered around admiring St Luke’s Anglican Church, the beautiful flowers and manicured gardens, the ancient old buildings and the broken down abandoned properties….. They do like their bright coloured buildings too!!!

Ancient homes Flowers Post Office Flowers 2 Abandoned old house Flowers 3 St Lukes Flowers 4 Bright colours Old houses

We then went to the Ocean Hole – 600 feet deep linked to the ocean via caverns so is filled with salt water – very strange to see saltwater fish swimming around inland – check out the beautiful French angelfish.

Ocean Hole 1 Ocean Hole 3 Ocean Hole 2 Ocean Hole 4

We then went back to Morphie for a quiet afternoon on board reading in our cool shady space.   Very happy crew!   We didn’t go ashore again – had dinner – and watched the most spectacular sunset which came before the formation of storm clouds away in the distance and we then witnessed lightning strikes on the sea but, thankfully, this storm headed away from us.

Goodnight Rock Sound 2 Goodnight Rock Sound 3 Storm clouds forming

This morning – Friday – and we are still working hard.   Stainless steel polishing is finished and Richard has just returned from the liquor store laden with wine – so we are fully provisioned up again now LOL as we got rum and beer the other day.   The birds are in the rigging again – they are pretty and very tuneful – but they do make a mess as they leave us presents on deck!

Bird in the rigging

We plan a relaxing afternoon before heading over to Echo Echo – an Australian boat – who have invited us for sundowners later…..

Tomorrow – in our sparkling clean boat! – we are heading off to visit Alice Town followed by a stop at the Glass Window, a local beauty spot.   Looking forward to more exploring….

Bye for now


Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

Sunday afternoon we went beach bobbing as planned – to a little spot called Pirate’s Island.

Pirates Island

We anchored dink off and bobbed in the beautiful water. We chatted for a little while to another couple who then left us to our own devices. Shortly afterwards another few dinks came in – this bobbing lark is catching on LOL. We were very surprised when Scott and Paula come ashore – a couple we had last seen in Grenada.

Scott and Paula

They have a tiny little Jack Russell – called Jack – who seemed to LOVE Richard. They had a great time playing together in the water……

Richard having fun with Jack Richard's new friend Jack

We had a very social afternoon with quite a few people before returning to Morphie for a quiet night and reminiscing about our two Jack Russells Penny and Sandy – RIP girls.

Goodnight Piggy Beach

Monday morning and we picked up our anchor – said goodbye to Piggy Beach – with our chosen destination Bell Island.  We had a great 10 mile downwind sail across the shallow banks and managed to dodge the occasional rain squall.

Sailing downwind

As we approached Bell Island we realised that there really wasn’t that much protection to be found – other than off the rather nice beach –  this is a private island with signs of private luxury around so we didn’t think they would take too kindly to us anchoring there for the night.

Private island luxury Private island luxury 2

So we temporarily dropped the hook – checked the charts – and then picked up again to motor our way three miles around the corner, through the shallows and keeping away from the shifting sandbars, to O’Briens Cay.  Was shallow too – only a foot under the keel at one point.

Shifting sand bars

O’Briens Cay is part of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park which is 22 miles long and includes 15 large islands and many more tiny ones. This was one of the first protected land and sea park areas ever established back in 1958.  Many of the islands are privately owned (including one that belongs to Johnny Depp) and access on land is by invitation only – such as Bell Island – and others are uninhabited.

We managed to get a good anchoring spot in all sand and watched the clouds roll in – then it rained – never mind, at least it cleaned the salt off Morphie.

Cleaning off the salt

After a while the skies cleared so we went snorkelling – the first stop was to view the wreck of a drug plane. In the middle of a channel with 20 feet of water above it, the coral was in good shape – but the currents were way to strong. We had to swim hard to just stay in place – so a few photos later we gave up and clambered back into dink.

Dead drug plane Dead drug plane 2

We then went across to Pasture Cay and snorkelled there instead.   Very shallow and rocky with hard sand and grassy bottom – but lots of bait fish around, a grouper hiding in the rocks, and a turtle who shot off too quickly for a photo opportunity.

Snorkelling O'Briens 2 Snorkelling O'Briens 3 Snorkelling O'Briens 4 Snorkelling O'Briens

Back on board we enjoyed the sunset before turning in.

Sunset O'Briens

Tuesday morning and we headed off towards Warderick Wells Cay.  We had made a mooring ball reservation and were hoping to get allocated one – although we knew quite a few had been turned away the day before as the preferred northern mooring field only has 22 balls. We were having another great downwind sail and had identified an alternative anchorage if we were unlucky but, yay, we got a ball although weren’t too sure about being allocated no.13!   We arrived at 1pm to an anchorage which has a dark narrow grassy channel winding alongside a very shallow sandbar that dries at low tide – just stunning……

Entering the channel at Warderick Wells

The strong current was pushing us along into the anchorage and we had the tricky job of doing a 180 degree turn to get head to both wind and current to pick up the ball. Thankfully we managed it without any difficulties and we quickly settled in and looked around us.  Amazing place!

Anchorage at Warderick Wells

We were just chilling in the cockpit and Don and Glynis came by from Agua Therapy – so we arranged to meet on the beach for sundowners.  We went in to the warden’s hut to pay our fee and admired the views of Morphie and then checked out the skeleton of the sperm whale that had beached here in the 1990s.

Morphie sitting in front of the sandbar Sperm Whale that got washed up

I had made some popcorn to keep our hunger at bay until we had dinner later – and it came in really handy!  The birds loved it – and so did the Hootiers – little hamster-like rat-without-tail type animals. Oh yes and so did the curly tailed lizards…… Quite a menagerie we had around us – was a great evening with lots of laughs.

Feathered friends Hootier Curley tailed lizard Goodnight Warderick Wells

Glynis and Don

Wednesday and we went hiking along the Boo Boo Trail – named due to the wandering of ghosts who sing hymns from missionary souls who perished here in a shipwreck…. We walked across the top of porous volcanic and limestone rocks which have been eroded over the years, into the creek where a number of different types of mangroves are sprouting, and up a sand path to the top of the hill between palms and heavy foliage.

Boo Boo Hill trail 1 Mangrove nursery Boo Boo Hill trail 2

The trek was worth it – the views were spectacular – wow!

View from Boo Boo hill View from Boo Boo hill 2 View from Boo Boo hill 3 View from Boo Boo hill 4

Later on we went snorkelling. We were hoping for a shark encounter but sadly they skipped town every time we got close to them…… But we did come across some good coral and met a few nice sized fish – and fed the sergeant majors with old soggy Ryvitas. OOPS we found out later that you are not supposed to feed the fish here. Doh!

Snorkelling Warderick2 Snorkelling Warderick 5 Snorkelling Warderick 4 Snorkelling Warderick 3 Snorkelling Warderick

Heading back to Morphie we chatted to Island Breeze – the Island Packet on the ball behind us. So we all headed over to the beach later for sundowners and a bit of bobbing with Larry and Annette. Was a lovely end to a great day.

Panorama of the anchorage Larry and Annette

Thursday morning and we dropped our mooring ball for another 15 mile downwind sail to Hawksbill Cay. As we went in to anchor it was much shallower than we expected from the charts – both electronic and manual – so we had to anchor quite a way off the beach leaving us a bit exposed.  We weren’t really happy as there were a few squalls around with strongish winds so after a few hours we decided to move the three miles up to Shroud Cay, towing dink behind us.

Towing dink behind us

As we came close to the anchorage the skies turned black – so we got our anchor down as quickly as possible although still managed to get soaked when the heavens opened. But at least we were secure and protected. We decided not to explore and spent the rest of the afternoon on board.

Bad weather ahead

Then just as the sun was going down a boat came in – a bit of a mess to be honest – and the guy went forward to ready the anchor keeping his head down the locker while his partner / wife took the helm. She decided to drive very close to us rather than keep equidistant between the anchored boats – he dropped the hook – and then looked up and realised. Well – all hell broke loose – he screamed and shouted, she backed down hard and went sideways. Anyway, they eventually got set but were way too close and the guy took off his gloves, threw them down in anger, and he carried on shouting and screaming and throwing his toys out of the pram whilst readying fenders, just in case!

Not wanting to make the situation worse by asking them to move – we picked up and moved ourselves away from them…. Nicely settled into a new spot we opened a bottle of wine to celebrate! This couple were clearly inexperienced and out of their depth – as evidenced when they later turned on their navigation lights rather than an anchor light before they retired for the night.

Goodnight Shroud Cay

Friday morning we did some boat jobs and made more water.  Then we went exploring the coastline of Shroud Cay in dink…..  Shroud Cay is largely rocky outcrops surrounding a mangrove creek.  These rocks hang over the beautiful blue shallow water looking a bit like gargoyle sentries.  We enjoyed dinking around and looking at the sandbanks that completely dries at low tide – not to mention the picture-perfect desert island retreat for someone….. Morphie is enjoying the clear blue water beneath her too. Stunning place.

Rocky outcrops Sandbanks appearing at low tide Perfect desert island Panorama of Shroud Cay anchorage Dinghy exploring 1 Rocky outcrops 2

Anchored off Shroud Cay

We then headed to the north of the island – there is a mangrove passage that leads right through to a beach on the Atlantic coast. We timed it for almost high water – so the current was running against us a little – and enjoyed the adventure, with Richard looking the dinghy captain part in his Outback Adventurer hat.

Outback Adventurer

Into the mangroves Into the mangroves 2 Into the mangroves 3

High tide in the mangroves

We arrived at the cut to the beach and the water is absolutely churning – so we pulled dink up and tied him to a rock – and went exploring along the beach for a little while.

Atlantic side beach 3Atlantic side beach 2Atlantic side beachWater rushing into the mangroves

We then went bobbing in our very own natural Jacuzzi / bubbly pool as the current raced in and swirled around. We were joined by four guys who had come in via jet skis and chatted to them – turns out they were on a large yacht (which they owned) and invited us aboard for more beers later. We didn’t go – but was a lovely offer nonetheless!

Own personal jacuzzi Bobbing in the jacuzzi

This morning – Saturday – and we picked up anchor and headed out on the 15 mile run to Highbourne Cay across the banks. This is still within the park and a private island – but, unlike many of the others, they have a shop, a bar, a marina, a restaurant, a long beach and visitors are welcome ashore – there is also a BTC tower so hoping for internet on board!   Seems like a long time ago we were connected…. We waved goodbye to our fancy new friends in their large motor yacht called Childs Play and set the sails….

Childs Play

Full sails

We then realised we were in a race with Shango who had picked up behind us – so we started tweaking sails and getting into racing mode. Sadly they were a bit bigger than us and had a larger genoa so they did overtake us but never really pulled away – we managed over 7 knots at 60 degrees to the wind in only a 13 knot breeze….so felt we did OK LOL. Was great fun.


We have now anchored off the beach (opposite the BTC tower!) and watched this very large yacht come in – and within 10 minutes of them settling a seaplane landed behind them and deposited guests – and then buzzed them as they took off!   Plus we have had a 5ft shark swimming under Morphie already.

Sea plane delivering guests Goodbye!

We have just tried to get ashore but encountered a lot of tide coming out of the cut.  We accelerated to try and punch through it but our little 9.8hp outboard didn’t like it and something went pop!  We have limped back to Morphie and are now going to be leaving here in the morning for Eleuthera hoping that we can get it fixed there…..  Shame – we were looking forward to visiting Highbourne Cay Marina.   Never mind!

Bye for now


Great Guana Cay, Staniel Cay and Big Majors Spot

Wednesday afternoon the weather brightened considerably but we thought we’d better stay on board just in case, so we watched another movie.     The evening was still so the mossies came out to feast but we enjoyed the stormy sunset before heading down below to escape the bugs… Stormy sunsetDuring the night we had another thunderstorm that passed five miles away from us and ran out into the Atlantic ocean – but we did get rain and wind effects up to 30 knots – although nothing to worry about after the last few days.   But another broken night’s sleep….. yawn……

Thursday morning and the difference was impressive – looks like the bad weather has finally moved away – the sun was out and boats were on the move. We decided to stay put and let them all move around and we’ll take it more leisurely on Friday.  What a difference a day makes – although the town dock had got smashed up a bit….

The morning after the storm Town dock damage

We went ashore to the laundry – voted the best in the Bahamas and I can definitely see why! – I had a haircut while Richard caught up with the internet. While in there we met some cruisers who had sat out the storm in Staniel Cay – a few miles away – and had registered 70 knots on their windex.  More bragging rights LOL?  Oh yes, and we had a fly past of some old military aircraft – not sure what was going on – but perhaps heading to Nassau for the regatta???

Fly past

Thursday afternoon we went to a little sandy alcove and went bobbing in the crystal clear water – using dink as a floating bar…. Really enjoyed chilling out after the event of the last few days and today’s bit of excitement was a small shark circling us whilst we were bobbing!   Funny thing is we didn’t pay him any attention and he got bored and swam away….

Time for bobbing Bobbing selfie Dink the floating bar

Back on board and we enjoyed a spectacular sunset before having an early night.

Black point sunset

Friday morning we were up early, listened to the weather, and yay – looks like we are in the clear. The storm has got a name – Ana – and is heading to the east coast of the US…. and we have settled weather here for a while now, allegedly. We picked up anchor and motored – in no wind whatsoever – the nine miles to Staniel Cay across the shallows of the Exuma Bank. We managed to anchor behind some large rocks / cayos away from the main channel, behind a sand bank and opposite the Staniel Cay Yacht Club.

View from the bow Staniel Cay Yacht Club

Going ashore we parked dink in the Staniel Cay Yacht Club and admired the clarity of the water – the sting ray (missing a tail) looks like he is on land rather than in four feet of water.   Dink has a shark and ray security patrol to keep an eye on him while we headed off into the settlement.

Sting ray without tail Shark Watching dink

We wandered around and picked up some provisions – horrified by the prices!  Then we went into Staniel Cay Yacht Club for a look around.   Was quite a nice place but not what we were expecting – although the air conditioned restaurant looked really nice, so we booked to return later for dinner having pre-ordered our food.

Beer at Staniel Cay

Back on board quickly and we got into our swimmers and headed off in dink to the natural grotto which is famous for its inclusion in the James Bond Thunderball movie – and is now called the Thunderball Grotto.   We anchored dink and found the entrance into the caves. We are on a falling tide – but not quite slack – so a little bit of a current running through. Inside it is spectacular with holes above you giving rays of sunlight where coral can be found growing beneath.   There are loads of fish waiting to be fed – we didn’t bring anything, so they lost interest pretty quickly.   We thoroughly enjoyed our snorkelling adventure.

Snorkelling 7 Inside Thunderball Grotto Snorkelling 1 Inside Thunderball Grotto 2 Snorkelling 2 Inside Thunderball Grotto 3 Snorkelling 3 Inside Thunderball GRotto 4 Snorkelling 4 Inside Thunderball Grotto 5 Snorkelling 5 Snorkelling 6

Back on board for a quick shower – amazed by a 60 foot English Oyster yacht who struggled to anchor in this softest, easiest spot we’ve ever been in.   How embarrassing darling!!!   After five attempts they got it…..

Back out to town and into the restaurant.   The entrée price included soup, salad, main course (which we’ve chosen) and a desert.   We were seated, we got our wine and water, and then we people watched.   The soup turned up pretty quickly – bean flavoured – not my favourite, but Richard enjoyed it. Then the salad and then we waited….and waited……and waited.   Everyone – bar one other couple had their mains – in fact some of them were on their deserts by now. We asked – and finally we got our dinner. Was very tasty and well cooked – but slightly ruined by everyone paying bills, leaving the restaurant, and them clearing Richard’s plates and the rest of our table while I’m still eating…… Our key lime pie desert followed about as quickly as could be – and we were eating this while the staff were cleaning tables and laying up for the next sitting all around us.   All a bit school dinnerish in terms of service and not quite the fine dining experience we had been expecting!!!!   Never mind – was a lovely treat.

Dinner at Staniel Cay

Saturday morning and we picked up anchor – having done numerous 180s in the night in the strong currents – and moved around the corner a couple of miles to anchor off the beach at Big Majors Spot.   This is commonly known as ‘Piggy Beach’ as there are wild pigs living here, famous for their swimming skills…..   We watched the pigs – and the tourists who turn up regularly to feed them – through the binoculars.   Sooo funny……   Oh yes and we met the crew from Agua Therapy who are friends of Evensong who came by to say hi – small world eh???    We waited until all the boats had left the beach and went over to meet the pigs. They swim out to you as you dink up – and are quite keen to see what food is on offer.   I gave the first pig a cabbage leaf and he spat it out.   Hmmmm…..obviously overfed!!! Doesn’t he know how expensive cabbage is here???!!!??? Then he picked it up and ate it and came back for more. The mango skins and cabbages were the favourite – not so keen on onion and pepper peelings LOL.

Swimming pigs 2 Swimming pigs 3 Swimming pigs 4 Swimming pigs 5 Swimming pigs 6 Swimming pigs 7

Saturday night we spent on board having bobbed for a little while on the transom before the sun went down.   Had been a really good day.

Sunday morning – today – and we’re up early and looking at charts.  We’ve decided to stay here today and get back into the routine – boat jobs in the morning, fun in the afternoon. Today’s fun is going to be beach bobbing again….but not with the pigs….  Tomorrow we are going to be moving on to the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.   We’re hoping to visit a number of anchorages along the way to explore….. Not sure if we can get internet for a while after today as many of the islands are uninhabited and are unlikely to have a BTC tower…. So please be patient.

Bye for now


Black Point, Great Guana Cay – the boat that rocked!

Sunday afternoon it was hot and humid but dry, so we went exploring.   There really isn’t much to see wandering the main road and sand tracks until we ended up looking over the Atlantic coast. The rollers were running in fast and furious onto the beach and the blowhole was emitting spray at regular occasions.   The sea was looking pretty rough and treacherous – glad we weren’t out there. Above the beach was a pasture of what looked like long grass and I wondered whether this was the raw material for the straw handicrafts that are on sale here?

Atlantic sideAtlantic beachBlow holeGrassy meadow

We walked back to the main settlement and admired the sand flats that had been uncovered by the low tide…. What a contrast to the Atlantic side.

Sand flats Sand flats 2

The town itself was closed – but we ended up in Lorraines Café for a little while just cooling off from the walk.   Then we went back to Morphie for a quiet night on board listening to the rain beating down on the coach roof.

Monday morning and it was raining – hard….   And that was it for the day.   So we did a few jobs and decided to have a movie afternoon.   I even made popcorn!   We watched two good movies and then managed to get a few hours in the cockpit between showers later on in the evening.   Fingers crossed for better weather soon.

Rainy day

Tuesday morning and it was cloudy and overcast. The forecast was for more of the same – intermittent rain with occasional squalls and thunderstorms.   Oh well, another day on board then… Sigh…. The wind was swinging around quite a bit and we had the occasional shower but nothing too heavy.    Richard topped up the diesel tank from our jerry cans and we made water and ran the generator – yesterday’s non-sun and non-wind day had drained our batteries so we wanted to top up.   We were watching a huge thunderstorm out on the horizon but it was not coming at us – thankfully.

Storm coming

Then the wind swung – to a westerly direction.   Oh no… this anchorage has protection from all wind angles EXCEPT from the west.  We are now anchored in front of a rocky lee shore – with the wind picking up, the rain getting heavier, and the seas building from across the banks. We have no choice but to sit it out – so we get everything down below and batten down the hatches – just in time for the first squall to hit.   It was dramatic – the sea started foaming – the waves are picking up to three to four feet and the wind was so strong it was ripping the heads off the top of the waves…..   Up to 35 knots … up to 38 knots … then the wind dropped, the rain subsided and it looked like all was well.   Sigh of relief.

Storm 2 Storm 3 Storm 1

But then it started again in earnest….. 20 knots…. 30 knots…. 40 knots…. 50 knots…..   The lightning was striking the sea all around blinding us and the thunder was so loud it was like someone bashing cymbals in our ears….  The wind was coming horizontally and when the rain hit you it stung like mad.  We had the engine on to keep Morphie heading straight into the waves to take the pressure off our anchor / windlass / snubber and to give us a ‘get out of jail free card’ if the anchor dragged.   The rocky shoreline with waves breaking behind us was a terrifying sight and a big incentive to keep focused. Then we heard this terrible thrumming noise – the wind generator is about to blow a gasket – so we quickly switched him off. Finally – after a dramatic one and a half hours when we saw 54 knots on our windex – the wind subsided and we heaved another sigh of relief.   That was something else – and I asked Richard how he rated it compared to our horrible night on the Caicos banks – and the answer was 10 times worse.   I agree!    Phew….. time to get dry…. We were both soaked through…. But we took time out to have a celebratory cuddle.  We were safe – yay!

Once the storm had passed there was an eerie stillness and a milky sun tried to shine through the clouds…. There was quite a few boats in the harbour around us but thankfully nobody dragged although a couple left immediately after the storm had gone through – not sure where they were going to though…. The radio was alive with chatter – with one cruiser reporting 65 knots on his windex – think there may be bragging rights with this one LOL.   Later on we picked up anchor and moved deeper into the anchorage – to get us further away from that shore in case the wind swung westerly again. Then the sun came out and the clouds indicated that we had seen the worst with the front moving away from us….. Can’t believe these pictures are from the same day!

Eerie calm Milky sun Storm moving on Goodbye storm

The forecast is for easterly / south easterly winds but obviously these storms can build from any direction – there is no other anchorage nearby to run to which would give us shelter from any direction, so we have decided to stay put.   In fact boats are turning up here from other places looking for a safe haven so looks like we have made the right decision.  The current weather system looks like it is going to be the first named storm of the 2015 hurricane season – errrr – the season starts on 1 June so a little early!!! A few hours later the heavens opened again – so we settled down to watch another movie, without the popcorn this time.   Then we had an early night – had been quite a day. The only casualty of the storm was our Ensign….

Casualty of the storm

About 10 pm, lightning lights up the cabin. We are up and out of bed, dressed, got our jackets and life jackets on and we’ve battened down the hatches – this time we removed the canvas from the bow as well.   We sat in the cockpit and the thunderstorm got closer and yes the wind went west again.   This is much more threatening in the dark …   The seas and wind picked up to 30 knots for a short period, the rain came down and we had the engine and instruments on and ready to go. Thankfully it was short lived as the storm tracked along the land and behind us before we finally decided the danger was over and returned to bed at about 1am.

Today, Wednesday, and the sky is grey, the weather is close, the humidity is draining, and the propagation is so bad we couldn’t hear Chris Parker’s weather forecast.   We log on and check it out – and it looks like this weather system has stalled just north of us – and at that point we hear thunder in the distance.  This system is now being tracked on NOAA’s National Hurricane webpage with a 60% chance of developing further – but models are putting it to travel north and west away from us – fingers crossed!  We are sitting tight on high alert again in case we get another direct hit…..   The rain has started coming down and we are monitoring radar to watch the thunderstorms skirt around us.

Wednesday morning

And here it comes…..   Up in the cockpit – instruments, engine and jackets on…..   Another direct hit by a thunderstorm – luckily it went by very quickly and only lasted for 20 minutes – with wind speeds up to 40 knots and from the south this time.   So we had some protection from land and the waves didn’t build as big – we weren’t worried after yesterday – that was OK!  We’re just brewing a cup of coffee to celebrate and warm us up…. Oh yes, and we can’t believe that a couple behind us abandoned their boat to fend for itself during that storm – we can understand that they might have been scared after yesterday but they put other boats in peril if it drags…..

Looks like another day of fun and games on the good ship Morpheus.   Don’t worry about us – morale is high as this boat rocks!

Bye for now


Great Exuma, Lee Stocking Island and Great Guana Cay

Tuesday we didn’t go ashore at all because the sea was really rough in the channel between us and Georgetown so we stayed on board and did boat jobs and made water.   A lazy day all round – but were excited to find out that our package had arrived – wow!   Can’t believe it…..

Wednesday morning – up early – and crossed the channel to be at Forbes by 9.00 am to pick up our UPS package.   Yay – we can move on now……   We went to the Redboone Café for internet as we needed to pay some bills, activate the cards, and generally catch up.   We had a toasted breakfast sandwich which was a strange concoction – hot egg, melted cheese, hot ham with lettuce, fresh tomato and mustard.   But surprisingly tasty and great coffee!   All done we headed to the bank for some more drinking vouchers – then into the supermarket for bread and diet coke, liquor store for more beer and to the petrol station for a top up of petrol. Final job was to get our propane gas tank filled – which had run out whilst I was cooking dinner the night before…   As we were finishing up we bumped into Kirk and Chrissy from Ocean Quest – the last time we had seen them was in January at the Beans Pirate Show in Virgin Gorda – and we weren’t expecting to see them as they make their way home to Maine so it was a lovely surprise.

Package arrived

Arrangements made to get together we went back to Morphie for a few hours before heading to the Chat ‘N’ Chill beach for sundowners.    Was a very buggy afternoon so we decamped back to Ocean Quest for two more beers…..   Their boat is a custom UK-built boat that was set up for a circumnavigation by the previous owner – and it is beautiful – we were very envious of the work room and the large engine compartment!

Kirk and Chrissy

We had a few drinks while the skies grew ominously dark around us and the rumblings of thunder could be heard quite a few miles away. We were just thinking about returning to Morphie when the storm picked up, the wind howled at over 35 knots, and the heavens opened with both fork and sheet lightning all around us.

Skies looking ominous Lightning!

So we stayed put for a little while longer while Kirk and Chrissy kept us royally entertained and hydrated.   Needless to say, I was quite nervous about Morphie bouncing around out in front of us on her own and didn’t enjoy the lightning show at all!   After a while the rain subsided so we made a run for it.   We got back just in time for the heavens to open again – we got soaked putting dink up on his davits – and settled back on board. The storm continued for almost five hours before we finally retired for the night.   Was not a restful one that’s for sure!

Thursday morning and we waved goodbye to Kirk and Chrissy.   Was great to have caught up with them, albeit briefly.   We have decided to leave Georgetown on Friday and have been checking out tides, currents, distances and options….. In the meantime we did some hand washing and made some water….   We couldn’t be bothered to go ashore having got all our clothes salt free from the constant running back and forth to town and thought about going to the beach for the final afternoon. Of course, the weather had a different idea.   As we just got the clothes dry and down below the heavens opened and it poured, giving us a white out view across the bay.   Decision made then! Down comes the rainWhiteout over Georgetown

We had a lazy afternoon, had dinner, and were just chilling in the cockpit waiting for the sun to go down when the sky darkened ominously and the thunderstorm show started again in earnest.   Really do not like this!!!!   After a few hours of the show we headed down to bed.

Up Friday morning very early to listen to the weather forecaster Chris Parker on the SSB radio – just to check to make sure that our chosen anchorage is safe from a wind perspective. Most anchorages here do not offer protection from all wind angles so it is important to know what is going on before setting ourselves a final destination. Looking good so we picked up anchor – said goodbye to Georgetown – and headed out on the dog leg passage towards the Conch Cay Cut to take us back out into the Exuma Sound.

Goodbye Georgetown Heading towards Conch Cay CutIt is important to time these movements as most cuts have strong currents with the ebb and flow of the tides – and we were pleased to arrive just after high water at the Cut, so we had a very slight current running with us.   As we were going over a number of contours in the sea bed Richard decided to try fishing again……so the lure was out behind us.   We safely navigated the cut and headed off towards Adderly Cut which would take us into our destination behind Lee Stocking Island for the night.   The sea was flat flat calm, there wasn’t a breath of wind, so we ended up motoring the whole way.   Then – woo hoo – we have a bite and Richard is excited. Another Mahi Mahi?   Maybe a small tuna? Of course not, it was another barracuda.   Photo opportunity taken and we returned him to fight another day…..


We arrived at Adderly Cut just in time for low slack water and as we made our way through we passed Adderly Cay which has a stone beacon on top of it. We are not sure of the historic significance of these beacons – presumably they are ancient maritime markers – but they are pretty sizeable.

Ancient ships marker

We round the point of Lee Stocking Island and picked up a free mooring ball finishing this 29 mile run. This area is a Marine Research Centre and we were hoping for some good snorkelling – unfortunately the wind picked up almost immediately we were settled while the sky gave us some great cloud shows.

Lee Stocking Island

Bad weather approaching

Later on it rained again for most of the evening / night but thankfully minus the thunderstorms.

Saturday morning and we listen to Chris Parker again – there is some real ugly weather forecast to come our way – so we need to find a place to tuck into and hunker down.   Lee Stocking Island isn’t really the right place sadly so we have decided to move on again – this time to Black Point on Great Guana Cay, another 29 mile sail away.  We dropped the mooring ball – admiring the cloud formations and the beautiful coloured water behind us – and worked our way out the dog leg to the cut at high tide.

Beautiful morning

Amazing sky Colour of the sea behind us

The wind had moved north but that was fine – we had 60 degrees to the wind – so up go the sails….. and we are enjoying a lovely sail.   The skies were leaden with clouds and the sea lost its blue hue for a grey colour….. the squalls started and the wind backed….. directly onto our nose.

Under sail Laden skies

So almost 10 miles away from our destination we are beating into an increasingly nasty sea – was not pleasant…. Oh well – never mind.  We arrived at the transit to the Dotham cut – and turned with the sea onto our side – was a bit like being in a washing machine. Oh well….

Motoring towards Dotham Cut

We navigated safely through the cut and spotted a dead yacht washed up on the shore – always a sober reminder of the power of the ocean. Dead boatBut we motored through – thankful that we had still managed to get here at slack water – and came through into the beautiful azure flat calm sea behind the island.   Yay!   The bay is wide open with loads of room so we dropped anchor into sand and relaxed for a little while.  We eventually went ashore – wandered down the main road of the settlement – and admired the views out to the anchorage.

Black Point anchorage 1 Black Point anchorage MaIn road Abandoned buildings

The settlement

We spoke to a few people – purchased a fresh loaf of bread – and ended up in DeShamon restaurant where we had a very late lunch and a couple of beers. Back on board we enjoyed a spectacular sunset before having an early night.

Morphie at anchor Goodnight

This morning – Sunday – and the winds are howling already with the occasional rain shower and the sky looks laden again.

Bad weather coming

The worst of it is supposed to come through Monday / Tuesday so we are hoping to go exploring later today if the weather holds…..   We’ll probably sit here now until this front has moved away from us but we are in a safe place with loads of swinging room and chain out so don’t worry folks!

Bye for now