- Katharine Hesmer
DAY 25 | January 7, 2022
Palm Cay Marina, Nassau, Bahamas to Highbourne Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
Topped off the water, unplugged the power cord, paid the marina for our slip, and prepared the boat for our 6-hour journey to Highbourne. Highbourne is considered the gateway to the Exumas. It's typically the first stop for charter boats and cruisers coming from Nassau. It is only 3 miles long, and at 100' above see level has one of the highest elevations in the Exumas. We left Palm Cay at 8:15, and enjoyed a really smooth passage to the Exumas. Two hours later, we still had a cell signal which was surprising because you couldn't see land anywhere around us.
We made it to Allen Cay around 12:30, famous for its endangered and HUGE iguanas that are endemic to this area. They are harmless, but when we visited this same island in 2019, one took a firm chomp of part carrot, part Christine’s finger, so I wasn’t in a big hurry to return. But it’s so good to see that incomparable Exumas water again. There’s blue water, and then there’s Exumas water. The only other water I’ve seen that’s this beautiful is at Anegada in the BVI. It’s just breathtaking.
We headed just south of Allen's and anchored for a bit at an uninhabited island. I say uninhabited, but it turns out this one has gigantic iguanas as well, which we didn’t realize until we’d already dinghied over there and let Steve out to stretch his legs. Turns out he stretched his legs alllll the way out of sight and wouldn't come when we called him. Gave me heart failure. I can’t speak for Ron and Skeet, but I thought if those iguanas like carrots and human index fingers, they’re gonna LOVE the tasty treat known as Steve. I asked Ron to take me back to KORKZcrew where I promptly began reading about how to fly the drone I got for Christmas. Yes I did. 🙄 And I’m too chicken to fly it, and now I’m thinking I might need to be the eyeballs to help locate what’s left of Steve. 😭 Not the greatest position to be in — complete loss of confidence in drone operation, AND needed to … operate a drone.
Ron and Skeet took off in the dinghy to look for Steve around the other side of this tiny island, and I promise you as soon as they disappeared around the point, I looked back and saw Steve back on the beach. 🙄 I called to him and of COURSE he looked straight at me, paused, and promptly ran off again. Selective hearing. I texted Ron, not knowing if he even had his phone, but they finally came back around to the boat and I flagged them over to me to tell them I’d seen Steve. Long story short, they retrieved our retriever who seems devoid of iguana chomp marks. I couldn't believe it. I was terrified I’d be writing Steve's obit today and feeling BEYOND irresponsible for putting the poor dude in that predicament. No telling what he encountered on his free-for-all on that island, but I think it’s best that I don’t know. Ron said Steve was exhausted when he finally came back to the beach, and so hot that he went for a swim to cool off. Oh to be a dog. Who freaks out his owners even temporarily and remains clueless to this moment. Must be nice. (It was a relief putting together this post and reading that these lizards truly are harmless . . . even if they aren't so great at distinguishing carrots from fingers.)
We went swimming ourselves for awhile, and used our masks and snorkels just to check out the area. Not much to see in the way of sea life but it was therapeutic just to float around in that gorgeous water.
Decided to make our way over to Highbourne Cay and seek out a good anchorage for the next few days. Apparently there are high winds coming in on Sunday, building up beginning tomorrow, so we're trying to be parked in a nice protected spot before the wind kicks up. Ron looks at tide charts and at an app called Windy to figure out our best options. We have to know we’ve chosen a spot that’s not only protected from high winds and rough seas, but also deep enough that we aren’t high and dry at low tide. It’s a lot to think about but fun to hear him bounce things off of Skeet and/or me to determine our best options.
We anchored KORKZcrew just off of Highbourne Cay Marina, and dinghied into the harbor. On our way in, we passed the huge nurse sharks just off the pier that we remembered from the last time we were here, along with a gorgeous parrot named Luann who’s got some really big pipes.
A nice marina attendant greeted us and said he’d need to either see our Bahamas health visa or a copy of our negative Covid tests in order for us to access the island. It's a tiny but lovely area where you follow a little path under an arch of trees and can visit their marina store, hang out on the beach, or climb the steps to Xuma, Highbourne's scenic restaurant, perched on a bluff with a nice view of the harbor, and of KORKZcrew!
We opted to pay a visit to Xuma and had drinks at the bar while we watched the sunset.
Passing the marina store on our way back to the dinghy dock
See ya later, Luann!
When we made our way back to the dinghy dock, we quickly realized that maybe the term for ours should be "dinky". Look at the size of THIS thing!!😳
On our way back to KORKZcrew, we decided to take a closer look at those nurse sharks by the pier. This is where people clean their catch of the day, and the nurse sharks are there for the action! The dock even has a sign that says “CAUTION! PLEASE BEWARE OF THE SHARKS.”
Say no more! Actually, just say “sharks” and you’ve pretty much got my attention. But nurse sharks are for the most part harmless to humans, unless they are bothered in some way. They are bottom-feeders, and can be up to 14’ long!
Last side note for the day: when we made our grocery store run, Ron thought it would be smart to buy an inexpensive butane stove. That way, we don't have to crank up the generator each time we need to use KORKZcrew's stove, and it'll be a lot less expensive to replace the butane cylinders than to burn the diesel we've got on board. Makes sense to me, so we'll see how that works out. We are honestly having trouble keeping our battery bank "topped up", and are trying to cut back on anything that might draw too much on the batteries.
(I'd like to have a word with whoever named this contraption.😳😂🙄)
4.25 hours underway / 31 nautical miles