After 450 miles of cruising from Stuart we have roughly reached the midway point of the Exuma Cays. The trip so far has been exciting, interesting, entertaining and a visual feast for the eyes. The nature of the cruising is quite different from anything we have experienced so far – very long open water passages, shallow ‘visual piloting rules’ (VPR) routes around and between large and small cays, swift currents, and ever present wind. We are very fortunate to be part of the PDQ flotilla, which is comprised of cruisers with a wide range of experience, from novice to expert. The group’s diversity and camaraderie has definitely made our introduction to the Bahamas that much more relaxing and fun.
Because good wifi access is rare and relatively costly in the Bahamas (not to mention there are so many other great things to do!) the text portion of this post will be short, and we’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Here we go again, this time with friends; buddy boat Tiger leads the way.
A neighbouring yacht at our New River moorage located right in downtown Fort Lauderdale; there are mega-yachts galore along this stretch of the iCW to Miami.
We spent a few days in Ft. Lauderdale, enjoying the spectacular beaches and lively nightlife of Los Olas Drive (respectively only a short cycle and short walk away from our moorage).
Entering downtown Miami harbour.
For the 200 mile crossing from Miami to Nassau (via Bimini) we were joined by good friends Doug and Roslyn Pringle.
The 50 mile stretch of the Gulf Stream from Miami to Bimini can often be very rough, but ours was glass smooth; the flags are the quarantine (yellow – flown until we clear customs) and Bahamas courtesy (flown while visiting the Bahamas).
Our first gathering of the PDQ gang, in Bimini; eventually a total of 19 boats will participate in the Exumas trip.
Crossing the Bahamas Bank from Bimini to Nassau; because the weather window was forecast to close, we made the 140 mile run in one day.
Nassau Harbour was a welcome sight, as we encountered some fairly rough seas for the final 40 miles.
The breezy weather continued for a week, so we had plenty of time to explore the Bahamian capital, including a visit to the impressive Atlantis aquarium (that’s a live conch, plentiful in the islands)….
…..and a bike ride to spend the afternoon at beautiful Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island.
Finally the winds abated enough for the fleet to make the 40 mile trip from Nassau to the north end of the Exumas chain; this is our first anchorage at Allans Cay, where we encountered…..
…..iguanas! They inhabit only a few of the cays in the Exumas, are protected, but not shy of human visitors.
This is the view from the top of the hill from our next stop, Highborne Cay.
Some of the ladies out for a morning walk on the beach at Highborne.
At Compass Cay, the Captain got to swim with the sharks (fortunately, harmless nurse sharks).
The PDQ fleet anchored at Warderick Wells Cay (His Idea is top right); the picture was taken from the top of Boo Boo Hill….
…..where it is tradition for passing cruisers to leave a driftwood sign recording their visit.
The Admiral loved her ‘private beach’, which was just a short swim beyond His Idea’s stern: it appeared each morning with the outgoing tide.
While on a hike around Warderick Wells Cay we encountered a Laughing Gull’s nest, chicks and all.
At Big Majors Spot we visited and fed the gang of (not very) wild piggies…..
…..who had us all in stitches with their antics.
We’ve now arrived at Staniel Cay in the Central Exumas, home to the Thunderball Grotto; this is the view from the top of the grotto and for the next post we’ll have more from this very neat place (cue Bond music)…..
We hope to provide the next post from Georgetown, our southern terminus in the Exumas chain.