Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Highbourne Cay

[We haven't had a decent wifi connection for a while so I'm posting a blog entry that I wrote last week]

It feels so great to be back in the Exumas!  We arrived at Highbourne in the late afternoon on Saturday.  I’d forgotten just how stunningly beautiful the water is here. I was surprised how many boats were anchored on the NW side of the Cay. The other surprise is how many big, big boats we’re seeing. Like the reality show “Below Decks” :)  They’re the big 100+ ft boats with huge center console tenders, jet skis and, probably, lots of crew.  There were almost a dozen sailboats and catamarans, 3 big motor boats, Vector and us in the anchorage.

Blossom anchored at Highbourne Cay

Martin and I dropped Petal as soon as we arrived. We had drinks over on Vector and then went to the marina to have dinner at Xuna, the “new” restaurant (it wasn’t there in 09’). The food was very good, the view was excellent, and it was so nice to celebrate being here!
Louise at Xuna
View from Highbourne Cay
Nurse Sharks at the dock waiting for fishermen to clean their catch

The next morning Sean & Louise headed south to Warderick Wells and then on the Big Majors the next day. They need to get down to Georgetown by the 16th and we’ll be meeting up with them there just a couple days later. The weather window isn’t looking very calm until after the weekend and since we don’t absolutely have to be there, we’re going to take a bit more time.  While it doesn’t look dangerous this week, it’s definitely rough enough that my sea sickness will be an issue. Waiting a few days also gives us the opportunity to slow down and even make fewer stops along the way. We do much better moving farther, fewer days, and having some down time in between.  As it turns out, we’re going to go straight to Big Majors tomorrow and Sean & Louise are going to stay since we’re on our way. So we’ll be able to hang out tomorrow night together.

Martin and I enjoyed our time at Highbourne. On Monday we took the tender up to SW Allen’s Cay to see the iguanas. There are two cays where the protected iguanas live. They’re very used to people visiting the island and feeding them – as soon as you approach in the dinghy they all come out onto the beach.  We’ve seen several tour boats bring people over and feed them grapes.  The guide books say not to feed them, so it’s curious that it’s part of the local tourism industry. I admit, we brought some lettuce that had seen better days and they seemed to appreciate it.

Heading over to see the iguanas - it really looks like this!
SW Allen’s Cay


Martin feeding iguanas
Martin & dinghy

On Tuesday we spent a few hours going over charts, tides and weather forecasts. We narrowed our route to Georgetown down to one of two cuts, Dothum or Galliot, depending on the day and weather conditions when we decide to head south. We also figured out what anchorages we’d like to stop at along the way south that have protection from the forecasted winds. It’s been really, really windy and it’s expected to continue up to and possibly through the weekend. We’re trying to anchor in places where we’ll have cell reception so we can keep up with the weather more easily.

Tomorrow we’ll have about a 6.5 hour run down to Big Majors.  That anchorage is known for two things – the pigs that live on the island that enjoy the handouts cruisers tender in to offer them, and Thunderball Grotto, an amazing snorkeling site that was featured in films, including the James Bond film, Thunderball.  In ’09 we stayed in the nearby Staniel Cay marina. We’re far too big and deep drafted for that marina now so we’ll enjoy hanging on the hook and feeding the pigs.

Boat Business: Martin also got a few boat chores finished while we were at Highbourne. 

Water makers. Both of our water makers needed their pre-filters changed out. We’ve been running them frequently and they pick up junk and need to be rinsed and replaced from time to time. We’re spoiled pretty rotten with 2, 35 gallon/hour watermakers.  Making 75 gallons an hour means we keep our tank topped off at all times. We rarely have less than 700 gallons of water on board. 

Flopper stoppers.  Our flopper lines drop the fish down to about 14 feet under water. It’s so shallow on the Bahama bank that we won’t be anchoring in anything deeper than 12 for a long time. They don’t do much just sitting on the bottom except maybe help keep up from sailing around quite so much! So Mart put a loop in the line to raise it up, it now sits about 8.5 feet under water. We deployed the port stopper and it’s been helping a lot in the 20+ knot gusty winds we’ve been having. 

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