No wifi in paradise for over a week so here’s an extra long post:

We had a couple of perfect calm days anchored off of Sampson Cay.  One day we followed Gigi’s Island and Victoria Gaye in our dinghies over to Pipe Creek to snorkel.  We’ve never been in there and the guides describe it as a tricky spot for anchoring so it was a good to see what it looks like.  I snorkeled over a colorful reef just off of Rat Cay and the Mice—a small string of cays in shallow water.
Snorkeling in Pipe Creek
Snorkeling in Pipe Creek

We joined Joe and Melanie (Onward) for dinner and watched a full orange moon rise over crystal clear waters.  Yes, it’s confirmed that since Melanie joined Joe on Onward, romance is in the air!

It was so still in the morning that I could see our entire anchor chain snaking under our boat.
Sitting on top of our anchor chain

We motored up to Cambridge Cay to do some exploring there and wait out the next front coming through.  On the way we experimented with a cruising concept that neither of us have tried but it’s something that I’ve noticed as a common theme on blogs and wondered about—clothing free cruising!  I have to say that it’s nice on a warm day when there’s no one around.  I’m afraid of getting skin cancer from exposing parts that have never seen sun.  Other than that, it was quite cool and comfortable on a hot sticky day!

The moorings at Cambridge Cay are protected on all sides.  Volunteers Dave and Beth on Grateful Attitudes came over to collect the mooring fee for the park.  We enjoyed seeing them again as we had met in Green Turtle.
Little Bell Rock at Cambridge Cay

Cambridge Cay is a beautiful setting with one of my favorite beaches.  We picnicked on Honeymoon beach where the water drops off just off the beach into a deep blue hole—a perfect spot!
Honeymoon Beach
Honeymoon Beach
Floating in paradise
Floating around on a perfect day

The moorings were full the evening that a sundowner party was planned.  We got to meet lots of new folks and share our cruising stories.  That’s what we do.  Alice from Lucky Bird had a good approach.  She asked Skip to tell his story in 2 minutes.  What would you tell someone about your life in just 2 minutes?  It was fun!  We also met Christian and Mary on IWanda who are friends of George and Julie (Seaquel).

The squalls that were predicted ahead of the cold front hit just as we were returning from the beach on Saturday afternoon.  Maybe a walk and picnic weren’t such a good idea but we knew that we probably wouldn’t get off the boat until the front passes—maybe Monday.  The winds came up Saturday night and the boat was spinning around the mooring.  We were secure and relatively comfortable although I felt a little seasick by the end of the movie we were watching.
Stormy Skies

There was some excitement in Exuma Park on Sunday.  We heard on the radio that a boat of Haitians landed on the Malabar Cays (small uninhabited cays just off of Emerald Rock.)  The boat was about 35 ft long and had 97 people on board (15 women and no children.)  According to Chris (Deputy Park ranger) the conditions were horrific as well as the smell.  The boat was sinking as the Park staff and the Bahamian Defence Force handled the situation under terrible weather conditions—choppy seas and strong, stormy western winds.  Sadly, the Bahamas sends the people back to Haiti as they don’t have the resources to take in refugees.  It’s a real human tragedy when conditions are so bad on Haiti that people are willing pile on top of each other and take such a perilous journey.  Apparently, their hope is to land on an inhabited island where they can just blend in with the population.

I was in a baking mood on Sunday and made some cranberry orange scones and mondel bread.  Joe is always making biscotti so I decided to try my mother’s recipe for good, old-fashioned Jewish mondel bread.   It’s just like biscotti.  I added almonds and covered them in cinnamon and sugar.  They came out delicious (and made the boat smell good!)

It was much calmer Monday as the wind shifted to the north east so we went ashore to help Joe with his table project.  The night we joined the other cruisers for a sundowner party Dave and Beth were dismayed to see that the table was no longer around.  Joe decided to make a new one with driftwood found on the beach.  He brought his tools and we all had fun helping to design the new table.

Melanie and Joe working on the table project

Bailey has a new nickname, “The Calzone Bandito”.  Joe brought some freshly baked calzone to share for lunch on the beach.  While no one was looking Bailey sneaked a slice.  I heard Melanie yell and saw Bailey running off with something in his mouth.  I grabbed him before he could gobble it down and he had the funniest look, like “darn, I almost got away with it!”

I used the radio to catch up with several boats that we know.  I talked to Hank on La Belle Helene, a Sabre 402 from our club in Annapolis.  We’ve kept in touch via email and hope to meet up with them while they’re visiting the Exumas.  I also talked to Sarah on Spartina and we hope to see them again soon.  It’s fun to hear people you know on the radio and reconnect with them.  There are a lot of boats spending time between Exuma Park and Black Point so we’re bound to keep running into the same folks.

We decided to stay longer in Cambridge Cay since a front with strong squalls was predicted to cross on Wednesday.  We lucked out and the storms went further north.  The day was nice and calm so I went with Joe and Melanie to snorkel at a spot aptly named ‘The Aquarium’.  It’s at the north end of O’Brien Cay in sight of Johnny Depp’s island.  There were so many fish teeming around me that if I moved my hand around I could touch them!  They were used to getting fed and swarmed around us.  I saw a spotted eagle ray swim past along with a rather large, pissed-off looking barracuda.  I haven’t seen any lobsters or lion fish yet but they hide under the rocks and are hard to spot.
Where's Nemo?
Where’s Nemo?
Snorkeling at the Aquarium
Nibbling Fish

In the evening we took the new table over to Mailbox Cay and christened it with appetizers and drinks.  The party was also a ‘farewell’ to Dave and Beth (Grateful Attitudes) who were the volunteer mooring field hosts at Cambridge Cay for the past few weeks.  While we enjoyed dinner on Onward we watched the lightening flash from far off to the North.  Some people were getting bad weather but not us!
Vicky (Victoria Gaye) , Melanie, Joe (Onward) and Gigi (Gigi’s Island) – Christening the new table
Sundowner party
Sundowner party on Cambridge Cay
Joe and Skip work on their 'bro-mance'
Joe and Skip work on their bro-mance
Cambridge Cay
Another beautiful sunset

Since our friends on Gigi’s Island and Victoria Gaye arrived on Wednesday we decided to stay an extra day and go snorkeling with them.  Light winds from the North made it possible for us to snorkel in the coral gardens just south of Cambridge Cay.  I have never seen such beautiful stands of elkhorn coral before.  They were all different shades of yellow and brown and teeming with brightly colored fish.  I saw a huge Nassau grouper lurking under the rocks.  We had a little sun but even with cloudy skies the reef was amazing.
Yours Truly
That’s me trying to swim underwater. The wet suit is very buoyant!
Coral Gardens - Cambridge Cay
Coral Gardens
Elkhorn Coral
Elkhorn Coral
Elkhorn Coral
Layers of elkhorn coral

Okay, I have to take a break before posting the rest…