Saturday, April 18, 2015

Windy winding ways at Lee Stocking

Our last evening in the anchorage, enjoying cocktails from the flybridge

Emerald Bay Marina, in need of landscaping!

Blossom and Vector nose to nose

A week ago, last Saturday, we headed out of Elizabeth Harbour to Emerald Bay Marina just 13 miles north.  We needed to go there so we could pick up some diesel and gas and decided to spend the night there so we could better time our arrival into Adderly Cut the following day. We spent one night at the “no services” dock (no water, electric, pump out, etc) and docked right in front of Vector. We all went to dinner at a local bar/grill and got ready to head north the next day. The marina has very nice floating docks and facilities but it looks undone - they ran out of money before the landscaping was finished. I understand that the marina is currently for sale. 

We left the marina the next day and arrived at Adderly Cut in the afternoon. Vector was able to squeeze through and anchor right in front of the now defunct marine research center on Lee Stocking Cay. They only saw a bit over 7 feet as they went in and it was high tide so we decided to hang back and anchor a bit farther north.  We anchored in a spot that Michel  & Caroline from Sea Turtle pointed out to us where they used to anchor their 7’2” draft sail boat.  We’re backed up close to a sand bank but have plenty of swing room. 

Blossom art, drawing faces
Anchor track, doing the figure 8s

We’re having a very strange phenomenon happen here though.  Normally in high winds or with a strong current, the boat will pull out to the end of the anchor chain and you swing back and forth at the end of the chain. If winds are light, we tend to meander and sail quite a bit, resulting in a messy path as Blossom does a walk-about through the anchor circle.  In this spot, on the rising tide, Blossom is caught in an OCD-like pattern of pacing around in circles making a figure 8 over our anchor. Petal flips back and forth, lying sideways to Blossom on the port or aft side as the lee side changes. It’s the strangest thing we’ve seen yet at anchor.  Obviously there’s a strange fight going on between current and the wind and/or we’re lying in a strange eddy. You can see that we let out more chain after we went out in Petal to make sure we wouldn’t wash up on the sand bar with more scope.

To the west, you can see how the sand bar cuts the outgoing current so the sailboat is comfy.

Anchorage to the east where Vector was anchored.
Blossom at anchor

It was quite windy here until the last couple of days. Now it’s finally calming down a bit.

We’ve been here now for 5 full days and we’ve had a great time exploring.  I managed to capture most of our explorations with photos…

They have a pretty pinkish hue

These two were circling each other, having a standoff it appeared
Big, big guy
Martin on the beach after the iguanas got tired of waiting for food

We visited Leaf Cay and were mobbed by pink iguanas as soon as the dinghy landed. We didn’t bring food so I felt a bit bad but we saw a tourist boat come after we left so they got their snack!  These iguana were bigger than the ones up north and a bit more bold.

Even the birds were bold!

We spent a couple of days snorkeling around the area. We found a nice spot on the west side of Norman’s Pond. We saw a tour boat snorkeling there and returned some pool noodles that were making a break for freedom. When they left we checked it out.

It was a shallow reef area with lots of juvie fish
It’s a bad picture but that’s a file fish
Shark! (He’s small, about 3-4 feet, but still!)

One day we went out looking for a snorkeling spot off the cays near the cut. Then we found a small shark swimming in the shallows who was also looking for fish and that kind of killed the mood for me.

There’s a salt pond in the middle of Norman’s Pond Cay that we checked out one day. The entrance is too shallow, even for our dinghy, so we returned at high tide with a kayak (Martin) and a SUP (me). You enter through a shallow canal lined with mangroves and it opens into a very large, shallow pond. It was tranquil and beautiful. The canal was a nursery for fish. We had hoped to find conch shells there that had died of natural causes so they’d have no holes. (We want to make a conch horn). But it seems all the conch were harvested long ago – we only saw a few small live conch and a few decent old shells that had been harvested. We did manage to find a couple that might work. They’re soaking in bleach now.

The entrance to the pond
A huge ray came by to watch Martin anchor the dinghy
The mangrove-lined canal
Baby barracuda (about 6 inches).

He was just as curious the adult barracudas seem to be. He followed us a bit through the canal.

The salt pond

A couple people have asked me why I don’t have pictures of me in the blog more often. Here you go!
Exiting the canal

We did some exploring by dinghy to check out the neighborhood. 

There are a few beautiful beaches along the east side of Lee Stocking Island.

We also went out to see the “tug and barge” cays that sit off to the southwest of the anchorage. There wasn’t much there but we did see a gorgeous osprey eating a fish. I wish I’d been quick enough to catch a picture of him as he flew away with this lunch. I don’t think he was happy we were there, he was quite vocal about our approach.
We managed to find the “submarine cave” on Norman’s Pond Cay after looking for it a couple of days. You need to be at low tide, and it helps if you see a family of cruisers who’ve just found it! I jumped in the entrance but had no desire to check out the 250 feet below!

Living creature or fossil?

Blossom in a ray of sunlight during a rain shower

We’re leaving this afternoon to go to Rudder Cay, about 10 miles north of here. Sean & Louise went up yesterday so we’ll be meeting them there.  We’re looking forward to exploring the area and checking out the mermaid and piano snorkeling site.

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