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  • Katharine Hesmer

DAY 84 | March 27, 2022

Warderick Wells to Pipe Cay to Staniel Cay (AGAIN!), Exuma Cays, Bahamas


I'm continuing to play "catch up" on my blog from KORKZcrew's adventures in the Exuma Cays last spring. Please bear with me as there'll continue to be posts "from the past" that chronicle our journeys through early May 2022. Ron began "Round 2" of KORKZcrew's Bahamian adventures on 11.5.22. He's guest posting until I join him in the Abacos in December. You can find his blog posts beginning here. For more "real time" updates, follow me on Instagram here. I typically post current news about KORKZcrew in my Stories.


KORKZcrew is the blue dot on the map

One of the many fabulous features of traveling by boat is the flexibility to change your plans, so after thinking we'd already begun our journey north, lo and behold we read about a beautiful spot just south of us that sounded worthy of a closer look. So, Pipe Cay, here we come. 🤷‍♀️ When you're vacating a mooring ball at the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park, you have until noon to depart, so we had hoped to snorkel one last time this morning. Alas, the weather had other plans. Conditions were too windy and the current too strong, so we decided to go ahead and make our way south . . . again!

The passage to Pipe was beautiful, and we arrived to find Clarity and one other boat anchored there. You might remember our encounter with the friendly owners of Clarity in George Town as well as on Long Island. Nick and Meghan O'Kelly have a YouTube channel we've watched routinely over the years, so it was admittedly pretty wild to actually meet them in person and see them repeatedly throughout the Exumas. We made a conscious decision not to bother them at this anchorage out of respect for their privacy, and also out of a desire NOT to come across as creepy YouTube stalkers 😜.

Timelapse of KORKZcrew arriving at Pipe Cay

Dinghy ride to the Pipe Cay sandbar

We took the dinghy to shore and beached it on a sandbar just across from Little Pipe Cay, a private island that was for sale for a measly $100 million in December of 2021. Gulp. From what I found about it online, it looks like they can accommodate 22 guests with 11 bedrooms and 14 full- and 3 half-baths. You too can stay there for only $75k per night. Gulp x 2. 😳

You can see part of Little Pipe Cay on the left side of this drone photo. That's KORKZcrew's dinghy circled near the bottom left of this photo, looking rather speck-like.

Here's a dizzying (!) 360 drone video of the Pipe Cay sandbar and the Little Pipe Cay Motor Lodge 😜. The first sailboat you see in the video is Clarity, and KORKZcrew is visible just two boats away.

Our sandbar visit was such an important opportunity for Steve to stretch his legs. At the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park, dogs are allowed, but only on the beach, and only on a leash. It's completely understandable as to "why", but this was a great chance for him to finally run around to his heart's content. Skeet didn't mind it either!

I pity the poor groomer who has to tackle Steve's hairdo once we return to Wilmington. He has the tightest curls imaginable as it is. Combine that furry feature with several months of swimming, rolling around in the sand and god knows what else, and he is on the fast track for what we affectionately (?!) refer to as the "Shave of Shame". 😳

Several live conch sightings on the Pipe Cay sandbar

We took "the long way home" to get back to KORKZcrew. Exploring by dinghy is the BEST.

After enjoying Pipe for a good while, we pulled up anchor and made a plan to find a nearby anchorage with a decent cell signal so we could watch UNC play St. Peter's in this afternoon's NCAA tournament game. Initially, we thought we'd found just the spot a little south of Pipe Cay, and anchored near a beach just off of Over Yonder Cay. The buildings on this island were so interesting looking I did a little research to learn more, and discovered that it's a private island that's home to an eco-friendly resort.

You can learn more on their website, but here's a screenshot showing you the solar field and wind turbines on the property. We anchored near what looks like a marina in the foreground, which if I'm not mistaken is also where seaplanes can land and take off.

From the website:

"We welcome parties of up to 30 guests in four uniquely designed villas, all with private beaches and breathtaking views. A former remote fishing outpost, the island has been transformed into a unique eco-friendly haven for those seeking authentic and sustainable barefoot luxury. Full island rental rates include full use of the island’s extensive amenities, activities and facilities. Over Yonder Cay is powered by a state-of-the-art renewable energy system, which includes three wind turbines and a 1.5-acre solar field.

It didn't take us long to figure out we'd chosen an anchorage situated near boat and sea plane traffic, which didn't help the already-rolly conditions. We also realized we had zero cell signal, and decided to once again make a beeline for Staniel Cay. We knew the restaurant at the yacht club had large screen tv’s, so we anchored near our previous "parking" spot from a few days ago and took the dinghy to shore. Unfortunately for us, all of the tv's had CBS blacked out as I'm guessing the Bahamas didn't have permission to broadcast the tournament. All was not lost though, as we ordered takeout dinner which involved DELICIOUS grouper fingers, and headed back to KORKZcrew for the night.

As we scrambled for a way to watch the game, Skeet gave us the play-by-play using ESPN's GameCast. At halftime, we moved anchorages because once again we were rolling around too much. We anchored just behind Thunderball Grotto, at which point for some unexplained reason Skeet was able to load video of the game on my laptop, and we were then able to share it to the tv and watch! All was now right with the world, and we were ecstatically happy for Hubert Davis doing so well in his first NCAA tournament as UNC's head coach!

5 hours underway; 30 nautical miles traveled

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