Monday, March 5, 2012

Update: Exuma Cays – Highborne, Hawksbill and Warderick Wells

Capt. Ray (left) and Capt. JP discussing the Nassau Exit Strategy 
During our crossing from Miami a weld on our dinghy davits broke and I was able to lash it together with rope for a temporary fix to get us to Nassau. After the welder I scheduled to repair the davits didn't show Saturday morning I was able purchase stainless steel parts and permanently repair the unit with a mechanical joint verses a weld.  Work ethics and peoples word is not what it used to be. Anyway, we stayed in Nassau due to high east winds an extra day. One day we went bar hopping in downtown Nassau and the next day we had to change slips because we were in a Big Dogs slip and the Big Dog was coming home. Guess that means we are little dogs on the proverbial block. No illusions here, especially when you are docked next to yachts so big we could be their dinghy. Oh well maybe I will amount to something in my next life and be able to afford one of those floating art galleries with anchors hanging off the bow.

Tuesday morning we shoved off from Nassau around 10:00 am for Highborne Cay. The forecast was for 10 to 15 kts out of the ESE for our crossing of the Yellow Bank. I should actually say skirting the western edge of the Yellow Bank as I set a route to bypass the coral heads. The Yellow Bank is a relatively shallow sand bank with lots of coral heads to dodge. One needs the sun high in the sky and relatively calm seas to be able to navigate across the bank. As we approached the western edge of the Yellow bank we did see a few coral heads and were able to navigate around them. We also got lucky and passed between two squalls although we did have 30 kt winds for a brief period. Around 4:30 we set the hook at the western Highborne Cay anchorage. Mother nature blessed us with a nice rain shower to wash the salt off Wind Dust.
Anchorage off the Beach on Highborne Cay, Exuma 

Wednesday had us moving and anchoring “Wind Dust” close to the beach. We rode into Highborne Cay with our friends from Megerin and had lunch at the restaurant. What a picturesque place. Wednesday afternoon we had a Sun Down beach party and met some other cruisers in the anchorage. These gathering are always fun.
Cruisers Sun Downer on Highborne Cay 

Mega Yachts in Highborne Cay Marina 

Ginny cooling her heels.  

Not a bad place for a drink and lunch. 

The Beach in front of Highborne Cay Marina. 

These guys are eating lunch too. 

Thursday we were off to Hawksbill Cay. Hawksbill Cay is part of Exuma Land and Sea Park which was established in back in 1958. The Park encompasses a number of cays and is approximately 8 miles wide by 20 miles(+-) long. Fishing & shelling are strictly prohibited so the park in effects acts as a breeding ground for fish, conch and lobster. Some of the tagged Park fish have been caught 100’s of miles from the park. Hawksbill Cay in inhabited and the surrounding waters are absolutely stunning. Ray and Sandy from Megerin picked us up on their dinghy and we explored the southern end of Hawksbill and it’s Cay’s. We had a nice evening on the hook with the moon and stars providing a nice light show. The anchorage was a little uncomfortable due to the southeasterly wind and surge so we left for the Warderick Wells-Emerald Rock mooring field around 9:30 am.

Hawksbill Cay, Exuma 
Mouth of a Interior Tidal Creek, Hawksbill Cay 
Interior Tidal Creek 
South End of Hawksbill Cay, Exuma 
Capt. Ray enjoying the views. 

Happy Hour on the Hook 
The trip from Hawksbill to Emerald Rock was approximately 15 nautical miles and we arrived around noon. The wind was on the nose the entire trip and seas were a little bumpy. We picked up our mooring with “Megerin” right behind us. As Ray and I were shoving off for the office to sign in our friends from “Goose Bumps” came in to the mooring field.

With the impending blow coming in we decided we would hunker down at the Emerald Rock Mooring Field. It’s a good place to sit out major wind from the North to the east. We had to put up with a couple of days of light South-Southeast to south wind though and it’s not real comfortable bouncing around. Last year we weathered a big blow up in the North Mooring field and didn’t like the wind against tide in the slew so here we are.

Our Back Yard at Emerald Rock Mooring, Warderick Wells 
Last night (Sunday March 4th) the front came through around 7:30 pm. It was amazing to watch the black frontal boundary approach (even with low light conditions at night) and feel the wind shift from South-Southwest to North-Northeast in about two minutes. With the North-Northeast wind at about 35 to 40 kts it didn’t take long for the mooring field to lay down from the rolling conditions of the South wind to a smooth comfortable spot well protected by the rock cliffs 500 ft to the north of us. The wind piped up all night as forecast, however was a higher velocity than predicted. We clocked sustain winds from the North-Northeast at 30 to 35 knots with gusts to 40. God made this mooring field for North-to-East conditions and we are glad to be sitting here safe and comfortable in it. More of the same high wind conditions in the forecast through Thursday of this week. 

Our Buddy Boat waiting on the Front. 

Guess it’s time to kick back and read a book, watch a few movies and have a few let’s say cold ones.


1 comment:

  1. Hey Guys! Nice blog entry! So glad you're hunkered down and safe!!! We're having fierce winds here today (Tuesday). Stay safe! We remember that tidal creek well, we dragged our dinghy most of its length!


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