On Holiday in the Exumas

11 March 2019   Stocking Island to Ray Cay, Exumas
The weather forecast was for lighter winds tomorrow, so we took the opportunity to sail downwind to the cays to the north of Georgetown with the plan of motoring back tomorrow in the calmer conditions.  We had a pleasant 4 hour broad reach to Leaf Cay where we anchored at 23°47.06N 076°07.75W in 3.5 metres, good holding.

After lunch, we took Craig and Kristen to the beach on Leaf Cay.  We hadn’t told them about the Pink Iguanas, so they were thrilled to see and feed them with pieces of fruit.  After 15 minutes of staring at iguanas, we went snorkelling near to the yellow navigation pole, which again was very good with crystal clear water.  We were lucky enough to spot a lovely small Green Turtle who wasn’t too bothered by us.

Leaf Cay

Back on the boat, we decided that the anchorage would be a little too bouncy, so we motored out of the pass and along the coast to Rat Cay, where we anchored at the same place as before - 23°43.89N 076°02.94W in 3.5 metres of water.  Surprisingly, there’s no one else here and we’re very happy to be alone in this beautiful anchorage.

12 March 2019   Rat Cay to Elizabeth Island, Exumas
There was hardly any wind and the sea was flat calm, so Craig and I went hunting lobster.  We had a look by the small rocky islands to the north of the anchorage, but there was a strong current ripping through the channels.  We headed down the windward side of Rat Cay, stopping to have a look at the reef, which is mostly flat rock at 5-10 metres depth.  

We eventually stopped at a place where there were some promising looking small overhangs.  On my second dive, I spotted a Spanish Lobster, which is an ugly looking thing – like a large underwater woodlouse.   After a couple of dives, I managed to snare it and also another one that was in the same little cave.

I had a look at another ledge and found a large Spiny Lobster lurking in a cave.  It was deep inside its dead-end cave, but after a couple of attempts and by stretching my arm at full length, I managed to snare its tentacle and pull it out.  With three lobsters in the bag, we gave up hunting and went for a snorkel just south of the pass into Rat Cay.  The seabed on the wind ward side is flat rock, but we found good snorkelling on the leeward side.  

Successful Lobster Hunt

After lunch, we left Rat Cay and motored south in calm seas back to Elizabeth Island, where we anchored at 23°30.25N 075°43.66W in 7 metres.  It took us two attempts because the first one was on rubble.  The anchorage was flat calm with about 8 boats at anchor.

13 March 2019   Elizabeth Island, Exumas
Morning brought us light north-east winds and a peasant day.  Glenys and I went snorkelling with Craig, leaving Kristen to chill-out reading a book.  We dropped our anchor at the side of a shallow reef to the south of the boat channel, which was pleasant with nice coral heads and loads of soft coral.  In the afternoon, the clouds built up and the wind increased to 15 knots, so we stayed on the boat.  

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working on a little software project, which I’ve decided to write in Java, which is a new language for me.   Craig’s a professional Java programmer, so I persuaded him to spend all afternoon sitting below, while I asked loads of questions and he handed out welcome advice on my coding.

The wind continued to increase and it was blowing a hooley after sunset, so we sat down below having a super Indian curry and then played cards until late. 

Having guests always puts a strain on our toilets.  We’ve been using the front heads for No.2’s because it has a holding tank, which we like to empty after dark – it’s not pleasant seeing sewage drifting around in a crowded anchorage.  Unfortunately, we’ve developed a blockage in the system and we weren’t able to empty the tank this evening.  We’ll have to just use the aft toilet and I’ll sort out the problem when Craig and Kristen have left in a few days’ time


14 March 2019   Elizabeth Island, Exumas
It was a very bouncy night with 25 knot winds.  I just HAD to get up at 04:00 to check that we were still anchored in the same place - I don’t think that any of us slept very well.

By morning, the wind had abated a little, but it was still overcast, so we went for a walk on the south end of Stocking Island.  We found a path that took us along the windward shore; then cut across to Sand-dollar beach; and finally led us back to where we’d left the dinghy – it was a nice 90 minute walk.

The occluded front that has been giving us the windy weather finally passed over in the early afternoon, leaving us with nice, blue skies.  The wind is forecast to drop further overnight, but we moved in towards the shore to give us a little more protection from the 15-20 knot winds.

We all went for a snorkel on the coral heads close to the shore, just to the south of a lime coloured house, which was surprisingly good. Craig found a Yellow Stingray and I found a Giant Hermit Crab in a Queen Conch shell.  The wind dropped enough in the evening for us to have dinner in the cockpit.