- Katharine Hesmer
DAY 29 | January 11, 2022
Updated: Jan 21, 2022
Norman's Cay to Hawksbill Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
KORKZcrew is the blue dot on the map.
Ron and Steve and I took the dinghy to shore this morning and took a long walk on the beach on the west side of Norman's Cay - probably 2.5 miles or so. Felt so good to stretch our legs as we realized we hadn’t really walked around off of the boat since January 8. I have yet to have the feeling like I’m going stir crazy or like “get me off of this tiny boat”, but I definitely realized what a difference it makes to actually have the opportunity to MOVE in wide open spaces. Our previous anchorage at The Pond didn’t really have a beach, so it’s nice that today we have that option. It’s also REALLY good for Steve as you might imagine. Ron and I were saying we should make it more of a priority to get to shore if we are able to, just to give all of us a chance to move around a bit.
You can tell Steve has already enjoyed exploring at this point, with that gigantic pine needle hanging off of his muzzle 😂
First, we walked south on what was a stretch of predominantly uninhabited and gorgeous beach. Then we stumbled across the charming cottages of MacDuff's, which is a tiny resort and restaurant with the most spectacular views of that irresistible Bahamian water. I don't know much about it, but the reviews seems pretty favorable, so if you're looking for a true get-away-from-it-all destination, this might be the one!
After reaching the southern tip of the beach, we retraced our steps and walked north past where we'd pulled our dinghy onshore, and could see Skeet on the bow of KORKZcrew.
Along the way, we encountered several artistic and intentional rock piles, and from the limited search I did online, they're apparently called cairns. If anyone knows more about their meaning, specifically as they relate to Norman's Cay, I'd be interested to hear. Here's one interesting tidbit about cairns I found online:
"Cultures from all over the world have long been influenced by rock stacking. In order to balance stones, you need to be patient and exert physical effort. It is this intention of grace that each rock represents, which can be a symbol of thanks or help to another."
Took a short dinghy ride back to the boat where Skeet helped us tie up. Then it was time for the daily brainstorming session about weather, wind, and swell predictions for the coming days, determining whether it was best to stay put or keep heading south. Not sure if this is a Ron saying or just a boating-in-general saying regarding the liveaboard lifestyle, but Ron frequently reminds us that “the worst thing you can have on a boat is a schedule”. It's just so true. Mother Nature always has other ideas, and you can really get yourself into trouble if you go into a trip like this with a strict itinerary. It makes sense to have a loose overall plan and end goals, but being inflexible can truly make you vulnerable to the elements, which is not a great position to be in.
It’s really interesting to be a fly on the wall for these father/son conversations because they truly rely on each other, and do a great job collaborating. It’s not as if Ron is simply trying to make Skeet feel included or validated — Ron really relies on and values his input. Both Ron and Skeet find the information they're looking for on Windy.com, and Skeet also consults Google Earth and The Waterway Guide.
I overheard Ron asking Skeet about a potential destination, and Ron said “what else have they got going on down there?” Skeet answered, “nothing … just scenic beauty.” Enough said!
At noon, we pulled up our anchor and headed south for Hawksbill Cay It was a relatively easy ride, but incredibly windy. That didn't take away from the eye-popping "scenic beauty", as promised.
These videos and pics are from the southern tip, where we tried to anchor. The color of the water took my breath away. Even Steve was impressed.
This will give you an idea of how much the wind and current "had us" as we attempted to anchor at the southern tip of Hawksbill Cay. The chart plotter marks our "footprint", which in this case just looks like a gigantic scribble. 😂Some of this is Ron putting KORKZcrew in gear to fight the elements, but some was simply the movement of the boat under these conditions. We finally gave up and thought it was too much of a gamble to park there, fearing the anchor might not hold, and that we might endure a rather uncomfortable overnight stay.
KORKZcrew ended up on the west side of the island, just north of that gigantic scribble spot, which is where we spent the night.
You can see the threatening clouds in the distance which made the sunset that much more spectacular, but brought us our first true storm of our month-long trip: howling winds, rain, and lightning. We had to close the windows and hatches, and luckily have the luxury of being able to turn on the generator and AC, which makes all the difference in the world. We still slept comfortably in spite of the weather, and I have to say there's something lovely about the sound of drumming rain on KORKZcrew as you head off to bed.
1.25 hours underway; 8 nautical miles traveled