On our last night at Cambridge Cay I planned a dinner aboard Moondance and invited the Onwards. My scheme was to let Skip make Manhattans so he would get loose enough to play his guitar. It worked! He played after dinner and we all had fun singing along. He was definitely suspicious when I suggested the Manhattans (I don’t like them and he always make them too strong.) Now he’ll be on to my tricks and I’ll have to think of a different scheme!
Plotting a course through the south end of Cambridge Cay we made our way through shallow water towards the entrance to Compass Cay. It was only 4 miles—barely enough to charge up our batteries. The entrance to Compass Cay is well marked but narrow. We didn’t have any problems getting in at just past low tide. Onward was in front of us and bumped once when he strayed too far from the channel.
The anchorage just past the marina is in a spot that’s wide open to the east but protected from the swells by multiple reefs. The current is very strong. Monday morning we awoke to swirling chop as the wind moved east. Note on chart — Do not anchor here if the wind is from the east!
We dinghied into the marina where we met the owner, Tucker, and his brother, nephew and son. Everyone here is very friendly and the grounds are extremely well-kept. The walls are covered with colorfully painted signs made by visiting boaters. Large nurse sharks and schools of bonefish surround the dinghy dock. They’re used to getting fed when people clean fish and conch. When the tide is high you can actually pet the sharks! I did and I’m not very brave when it comes to sharks. (I grew up in the era of Jaws!)
I touched a shark!
A friendly nurse shark
Skip had to sample the cheeseburgers and provide a rating for Joe’s website. They were delicious! After lunch we walked the beautiful curved white sand beach on the Exuma Sound side of the island.
Skip supervises the hamburger grilling
Lunch at Compass Cay Marina
On Saturday we hiked to the north end of the island to Rachel’s bubble bath, a shallow pool that is fed by waves coming over the rocks at high tide. Compass Cay is much more lush and green than Warderick Wells. It’s striking when you see how much deforestation has occurred there due to the hutia—small furry native mammals that were re-introduced to the island. They’re reproducing so much and without any natural predators, they’re eating through all of the greenery.
Rachel’s Bubble Bath
It was a good, strenuous hike that primed us for another cheeseburger lunch. We hung around the marina all afternoon drinking beer and using wifi. I went back to the boat for Bailey so he could run on the beach. He’s so funny now. When he gets tired of fetching the stick he wades in the shallow water to cool off.
Hike to the North end of Compass Cay
The only reason that we know when it’s Sunday is because Chris Parker doesn’t provide weather information at 6:30 am. It’s the day to sleep in! Skip made a cranberry quick bread mix for breakfast–perfect for a lazy Sunday morning. After lunch we all dinghied over to Pipe Creek and landed on Thomas Cay. The short hike to the beaches on the Exuma Sound side brought us to a treasure trove of great beach finds. I filled a bag with sea glass and unusual shells. I just happened to kick over what I thought was a rock and discovered the shiny coral teeth of a small queen helmet shell.
The wind piped up in the evening but that didn’t keep us from happy hour on Lady of Lorien. They also invited Tom and Christine from Polar Pacer who shared some funny cruising stories. After 2 rousing games of Farkle we reluctantly rode back to Moondance in windy, sloppy waves.
As I said earlier, this morning we awoke in the early morning to uncomfortable seas. I moved from the V-berth to the settee at around 4am because it was unbearable to sleep in there. Needless to say, we pulled up the anchor early to head for calmer seas.
We came into the fuel dock at Sampson Cay marina and were met by Hank and Ellen Lucas (La Belle Helene) who are staying there a few days. After filling up the tanks we anchored and met them for lunch. They’re friends from the Sabre club in Annapolis and it’s their first time cruising in the Exumas. It was great hearing about their travels. Of course we had to agree with them on how great it is to cruise on a Sabre!
We’ll stay here for a few days before going to Black Point to do laundry. Plans are all set for Jen and Bill to meet us in Staniel Cay on February 11th. We’re very excited about showing them all of our favorite spots in the Exumas!