After our day of rest in the Great Harbour Cay Marina at the Berry Islands, we were back to hustle and bustle the very next day. We refueled and moved Rode Trip from Great Harbour out to Bullocks Harbour. At Bullocks, Brian was able to get back in the water for some much anticipated fishing. That evening we dined on lobster tail and lion fish, delish! The next morning, from Bullocks Harbour, we caught a southeast wind to sail up and around the northern end of the Berrys; then motored straight into bashing waves down the east side of the islands for several miles to land at the Market Fish Cays for the night where we dropped the hook behind Soldier Cay. This area had a great swell, but supposedly does have great fishing. We had no time to fish since it took so long to get there against the wind and we’d dropped the hook at sunset. Bright and early we moved once again, a shorter trip but still motoring against southeast wind, from Market Fish Cays down to Little Harbour Cay. Little Harbour looked like a nice nook on the chart, but there was a great swell here too. We did spend the afternoon exploring by kayak and Brian was able to fish. After much hunting, he’d finally retrieved two conch from the bottom and made a conch chowder for supper. The next morning, you guessed it, on the move! We hauled anchor by 7:45am to get moving toward New Providence Island (Nassau). The forecast didn’t pull through and we motored the entire passage, fortunately there was little to no wind and the seas were glassy unlike the bashing waves we’d had the previous two moves. We anchored just before sunset at Rose Island for the night. One more trip to go and the forecast was in our favor! Northeast winds had us smoothly sailing all the way from Rose Island to Shroud Cay in the Exumas.
We’d made it to the Exumas! I really wanted to explore Shroud Cay, but we only had one day to spare and a few errands to tend before our friends’ arrival. So the next morning we hauled anchor again at about 7:45am – this time with a brief visit from friends who were passing by in their dinghy. We’d met s/v Ramone last year and now were both back in the Bahamas and both anchored at Shroud! Ron and Simone recognized us the evening prior when we’d sailed into the anchorage and dropped the hook under sail. “Of course, that must be them!” Ron had said. We also had a suspicion that we knew the neighboring catamaran, which was confirmed for us when their dog, Skipper jumped into the dinghy for his evening trip to shore. It was great to see s/v Ramone and we’ll be spending more time with them since our plans for traveling the Exumas coincide. From Shroud Cay we had a strong northeast wind shifting to east by mid-day. Rode Trip sailed beautifully! We screamed down the island chain, and with a reefed main and the jib we hadn’t seen any speeds under 6 knots! In half a day we’d made 34 miles and once again sailed into the anchorage and dropped the hook at Big Majors Spot.
We had traveled whichever way the weather allowed; motored, sailed, it didn’t matter because we were finally at our rendezvous location! Now we can kick back and resume island time!
Leaving the Berry Islands we had smooth sailing with a northwest, 20 knot wind all the way to New Providence Island. We’d been cautioned that Nassau was not the safest location for cruisers and offered expensive marinas as refuge. The favored items for theft are apparently outboard engines; but taking a close look at our dinghy we hoped nobody would waste the effort on our Nissan 5hp which barely pushes us around but does so reliably. Everyone knows how I feel about our poor dinghy…”I hate the dinghy!” …being our only motorized mode of transportation though I sure didn’t want to risk it. We were in desperate need of groceries and so we’d planned this brief stop to reprovision. Nassau would have the best prices on groceries being the hub of shipments prior to items being shuffled out to the other Bahamas islands. On a tip we anchored on the Paradise Island side of Nassau harbor; being lined with resorts and gorgeous homes it seemed a quieter, safer side.
We found dinghy dock access at the Texaco station on the New Providence Island side. Through the clear water we saw the bottom littered with trash and tires. We locked the dinghy with our super tough cable that only the finest wire cutters would snip in an instant, and clamored up the ladder to shore. Our first mission was to acquire cellular service by getting an account with Bahamas Telephone Company (aka BaTelCo, aka BTC). We found the BaTelCo store easily and buzzed ourselves in through the locked and security guarded door. Here we were able to purchase a SIM card and 30 day data plan for the iPad. Hooray! Reconnected with the world!! We do not have a cell phone however are able to use a 3G connection to make and receive calls via Skype (this had a great voice connection, not great video). Our second mission was to acquire groceries. We found a great store in the Harbor Plaza back near the Texaco station. It was fully stocked and we felt as through we’d just walked into a Wegman’s. We’ve decided to test how well we can eat without ice and so made our selections accordingly. We also got some sharable snacks so we can keep on socializing with style.
During both of the two evenings that we spent anchored at Nassau, we spent time with Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) commodores, Murray and Heather aboard sv/Windswept IV. We’d met Murray and Heather in the Berry Islands and were now getting acquainted and soaking in all the knowledge they were able to share about cruising in the Bahamas. Our first evening’s cocktail hour lasted four hours and we so enjoyed each other’s company that we entirely skipped dinner! Our second evening was all about business as we compared our NV Charts to the Explorer Charts and took notes on all the hot spots in the Exuma Islands. We invited along friends, Ryan and Tasha aboard sv/Hideaway after learning they were also in Nassau having overheard them on the VHF. As it turns out our NV Charts are spot on! We added a few additional anchors per Murray’s recommendations and took good notes on those hot spots to explore. Thanks very much to Murray and Heather! We’re looking forward to more fun times during our travels!