If one looks carefully, a tiny strip of red is barely visible above the murky water in Stuart. Typically there’s about 4″ of bright red shining above the waterline. However, our tanks are filled to the brim with fuel (1760 gal) and water (400 gal). Our guest stateroom is packed with books to donate and supplies/crates for the Humane Society in Georgetown. We have 25 cartons of almond milk, 19 cans of mushrooms, 5 bags of soy curls, 83 cans of various types of beans, and 44 jars of salsa stacked in the pantry and under the settee. The freezer is stuffed with coffee, fruit, veggies, walnuts, and 15 containers of tofu. Most importantly, we have untold quantities of dark chocolate for me and plain M & M’s for Scott nestled into nooks and crannies throughout the boat!
And so we began our journey southward. I had anxiously awaited this return since May 13 last year when we left the Bahamas. I absolutely could stop thinking about the crystal clear blue waters, the sandbars at low tide, the flying sting rays, the gorgeous fish and so many other visual treats!
Immediately upon entering the channel from the marina, 3 dolphins joined us which I took as the sign of a great day ahead! Our cruise to Lake Worth was uneventful and we enjoyed a calm night. In the morning as we untied the lines I realized how much I had forgotten during our 3 months of sitting in a marina. I need constant reinforcement of my boating skills so Scott will need to give me some knot-tying refresher courses.
Our intention this year is to take some different routes and visit some new places. With this in mind, rather than heading south to Key Biscayne then crossing to Bimini we decided to try a different route which would eliminate several days. We exited Lake Worth Inlet and angled across overnight to Great Harbour Cay Marina in the Berrys. This was a busy course as there were often as many as 5 cruise ships visible, not only on the radar but lighting up the sky like a big city. Once across the gulf stream we had to slow down in order not to arrive at the marina before dawn. This option saved us at least a week.
I had ordered a MyIslandWifi device while in FL so we would have phone and data in place upon arrival. They were back ordered and are still back ordered so we brought down our bikes and rode to get our BTC SIM card. Once we were connected we felt settled into one of my favorite Bahamian Islands. We actually felt like we were on vacation and we could SLOW DOWN our pace! One of my very favorite beaches is on the east side of Great Harbour where I found 12 sand dollars in one day last year. As we walked to the beach this time we kept wondering where were the winds? There was supposed to be a front approaching that would keep us in one place for an entire week. Just as we turned east and approached the gorgeous beach prior to low tide, we saw the dark clouds, the winds picked up, and the temperature dropped, DANG, we had to go right back! We did see scads of huge sand dollars but they were all alive and we don’t take anything that’s alive.
The next morning while I cooked breakfast Scott studied a multitude of weather sources. At 9:30 as we sat down to eat Scott announced that winds had calmed sufficiently and we should head out today. He set a goal of leaving at 10:00. It usually takes him that long just to eat his breakfast. Somehow we managed to eat, pay the bill, put away the bikes, and drop the lines by 10:15. Not bad! He was ready to try a different route around the west side of the Berrys and visit Chub Cay located at the southern end of the chain of islands.
Chub Cay Marina and Resort seemed to cater to fishing boats and was quite lovely, albeit lonely, which translates to pricey. This was not our typical stop but in a blow it was nice to be protected. There is absolutely nothing on Chub Cay except the resort and housing for the staff. There’s no town, no nothing.
Surprisingly, we were fine with that. We attended a unique church service in a lovely chapel. The visiting pastor was from Haiti and only spoke creole so one other person did his best to translate with his own heavy creole accent. I sat entranced by the melodious sounds of the creole language. There were only 6 of us in attendance, including the pastor, which gave us an opportunity to chat with the friendly congregation.
The humongous infinity pool looking over the beach was a sight to behold. We enjoyed lunch on the veranda near the pool then Scott swam laps and I collected some shells.
But my favorite part of Chub Cay was the FARM!!! While checking out the gift shop two different employees asked if we had seen the farm and claimed it as their favorite part of the island. Seemed weird to me but what the heck? When a staff member offered to take me in her golf cart to meet Lance, the head farmer, I couldn’t turn her down. Boy, was it impressive. They had every vegetable you could think of and some young fruit trees. Typically I complain about the lack of produce, especially fresh produce, in the Bahamian stores so this was a sight for sore eyes. The staff here are the luckiest Bahamians! While I was paying for my produce who would appear but the baker with a batch of warm coconut bread! I couldn’t resist…it’s the best coconut bread I’ve had!
After hanging out with new friends, Mike and Molly, on Castelemmare for three evenings we moved on to anchor on the west side of New Providence for one night and one night anchored at Highbourne Cay.
Finally, onward to our favorite part of the Exumas…the pristine Land and Sea Park.