The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma; Exumas, Bahamas

2-23-11 to 2-25-11

We left Lee Stocking for Great Exuma Island and Georgetown. On the way, we radioed a marina just north of Georgetown that the Cleveland couple had told us about. They had said something about free laundry and said that it was a beautiful place to stop and a must see. We found out that we could stay there, tied up with no electric or water, for $1/ft each night. There is complimentary laundry machines, showers, and a club house with a pool table, tvs, dvds, board games, good internet, and a printer. We decided to stay for a night and try it out.
We’ve been here for 2 1/2 days! Needless to say, we have been very pleased with the Marina at Emerald Bay, though we never really considered ourself resort people, let along Sandals Resort people. We rented a car yesterday and explored the southern part of Great Exuma and Little Exuma. We lunched at Santana’s in Williamstown, Little Exuma. The food was of a local flavor and very good. Good enough for the stars even, as it is here that Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom came to eat and chill sometime during the filming for Pirates of the Caribbean. Next door Santana’s mother sells bread and other baked goods. The coconut bread is to die for!

In Williamstown there is a large salt lake where plantations used to harvest sea salt. A large stone pillar sits atop a hill on the east side of the island, beckoning boats in to come and get their salt. No one officially farms the lake today, but locals will still collect the salt and process it to sell as souvenirs. Kris and Gary decided to harvest there own salt. They mucked around in the lake, picking up handfuls upon handfuls of salt. Who needs to buy fancy sea salt when you can just scoop it right off the ground!

Georgetown is a little smaller than we expected it to be, but from the few hours we spent there, I’d say it was laid-back and a good place to chill. The anchorages all around are packed with cruising boats! We’ll have to explore the town more later.

Today we used our remaining time with the car to explore northern Great Exuma. We went a little further down the road from Alexander and found a man who builds and repairs small wooden sailboats for a living. We searched for an alleged fruit and vegetable market, but a dry spell had killed most of the crops this year.
The remainder of the day was spent straightening the boat up, filling up on diesel, and relaxing. Tomorrow we will probably leave the marina and take the boat over to Stocking Island and Georgetown.

Lee Stocking Island; Exumas, Bahamas


We left the Darby Cays this morning for Lee Stocking Island. There is a research center here, so no lobstering Gary! Unless you go out of the protection zone. You don’t want to ruin the research projects being conducted.
There are staghorn corals, stromatolites, and an abundance of sea life here. We saw many colorful fish, starfish, sea cucumbers, huge southern sea rays, nurse sharks, and more!
The highest point in the Exuma islands is here too. Kris, Spinny, and I climbed up to the top later in the day and beheld another beautiful view, the islands stretching out before us.

The wind completely died later in the day and the water was so still, it looked like glass. you could see the bottom as if there were no water between you and the sandy surface. We could see the keel of the boat just barely touching the bottom, Ooops, but not too big of a deal, as the still water would not be bouncing us up and down and repeatedly hit the keel into the sand. We just balanced, still and silent, on the bottom.

While at Lee Stocking, we met a few fellow Lake Erie travelers – a couple from Cleveland down in their C&C. They came over in the dingy and we chatted for a bit. It was nice to meet someone else from Ohio!

Just after the sun had set in a rainbow of colors, the sound of a bow sliding across strings came wafting through the still air. Shane was practicing his violin over on Moonshine. The sound was erie and soothing at the same time. It’s not every night that the sound of a fiddle comes playing over the water. For a minute I almost expected to see the ghost of a sailor lost at sea walking over the glassy bay.

Cave Cay and Darby Cay; Exumas, Bahamas


Today we sailed from Black Point and pulled in to Cave Cay Marina. We were greeted by three huge German shepherds – Lobo, Pancho, and Bella. We put in for $2/ft on floating docks, with complimentary laundry and shower facilities, as well as access to a budding garden. It was a wonderfully deep and protected harbor. The floating dock was an amazing relief to us Lake Erie sailors, not used to the tides as we are. We were quite pleased with our stay.

We took the time we had in a quiet marina to scrub down and polish up the back outer ports. We had them shined up and looking like brass once more. Compare these ports to the forward ones that still need scrubbed and polished (a photo of which is included in the gallery).


We took off today for Rudder Cut Cay, but once we were there, decided that the anchorages did not have deep enough water at low tide for our 6 ft draft. So we moved down to Darby Cay instead. We found a narrow but deep inlet between Darby and Little Darby. In front of us is the Darby Cay Research Center, but no one appears to be home except a few chickens. The rooster was crowing earlier today. That should be fun in the morning!

We took off exploring later in the day. Mike and Gary took the Moonshine dingy and Kris, Shane and I took ours. We explored a few nearby caves and tiny rock islands. Once such rock that I had named “cupcake rock” had an osprey nesting at the top. Shane decided to climb up through a hole we found in an outcropping. Kris terrorized us on the waves in the dingy. Shane was having a ball, holding the forward line and standing up like he was riding a bucking bronco. I was clinging for dear life.

We made our way in on the other end of our inlet. On the way we met a couple of big spotted eagle rays. We chased them about in the shallow waters.

We pulled in as the sun was beginning to close in on the horizon, and prepared to head over to Moonshine for dinner.

When coming back home to Horizons, later tonight, we looked up at the sky. It had been transformed into a deep black cave, glistening with millions of tiny quartz crystals and diamonds. When the moon is not yet up and you are far away from any large cities or towns, the sky explodes with stars! I wish I could take a photo of it for you all, but my camera does not quite have the capacity.

Black Point, The Exumas, Bahamas


Sailed over to Black Point, today. Well, more like motored over there. Gary and Carol worked on cleaning and straightening the cabins on the way over, while Kris taught me a bit about navigation and plotting one’s position well underway.

Once on the island, Carol and I were excited to see that there was a laundromat. Hooray for clean clothes! We headed over there and met up with the Mounts. While the clothes dried, we stopped at a local restaurant for dinner. Shane, Kris and I found some good pizza at one restaurant. Thicker crust and just the right combination of sauce, cheese, and toppings. I highly recommend it.
Now we have clean laundry and full water tanks (it’s good to have a water maker on board!). We’re ready for tomorrow!


In the morning, Gray and Kris came back from taking Spinny out for a walk. They’d found another bow hole, and this one was really going! Kris took me over there and I had fun taking a few photos. Kris had some fun too, and I got a little wet getting up close and personal with the hole’s spray.

After lunch, Gary and Mike headed off early today on another great lobster hunt. Carol stayed on the island with Chrissy to look into getting a Bahamian cell phone. Kris, Shane, Spinny and I headed for the beach. We spent hours flying the kite. Well, at least Kris and Shane did. Spinny and I played stick for a while and I took video of the boys’ shenanigans. Later in the day we made a short film of it all. Kris loaded the video up on the previous blog post.

Mike and Gary’s lobster hunt was unsuccessful, but Carol and Chrissy got their cell phones! We all met up at Scorpio’s Restaraunt and Bar for happy hour and 2 for 1 rum punches. Yum! After the party was over, Kris helped Shane with his trig while Carol and Gary relaxed with a movie and I dove into my book. After a long day, we were all tired out and glad for a bit of rest.


Today was to be another day of fun in the sun. Gary and Mike headed off once more to hunt those dastardly lobsters. Actually, as Kris pointed out, with the borderline crazed motivation with which Gary hunts these lobsters, he’s more like Ahab after Moby Dick rather than Elmer Fud after Bugs. So, with Hawaiian sling spear in hand, Gary was off on the hunt once more.

Kris, Shane, Spinny and I headed off to the beach once more. After Spin and I took Kris’s smaller one string kite for a fly, Kris convinced me to give the power kite a try. I let it drag me through the water, body surfing style, just as he and Shane had all the day before. Just after a long and wet run, we heard shouts from the shore. We had company! Four local brothers clamored over the rocks and toward us, shouting “Wow! Can we do it?!” Kris gave them all rides, having then lock their arms around his waist while he had the kite tow them through the water. The boys stayed on the beach with us, building a village in the sand, playing fetch with Spinny, and riding around on the surf board when the kite lost their interest. I learned three of their names, Greggory, George, and little Katwaun, who at 6 years old became my instant friend.

After a hawk had taken a dive at the kite, Spin was completely soaked and tired out, and Kris and Shane tired of flying the power kite, we headed back for the boats, waving goodbye to our new little friends. We rested up on our respective vessels.

While resting, we heard a shout from the water. It was Mike and Gary back in our dingy. In the boat with them were 8 small but fresh lobsters! Guess what we’re all having for dinner tonight?

Staniel Cay, Bahamas


Morning. Time to sail to Staniel Cay. Winds: 10-15 knts NNE. Guess who’s sailing the boat? Why, it’s Carol and me! Carol took the helm and I set all of the sails…ALL of the sails – mizzen, main, staysail, and genoa. Wow, that wears you out! Kris and Gary get endurance points for doing it so often.

Once in Staniel Cay we met up with our new cruising friends the Mounts on their sailing vessel, Moonshine. Shane took Kris and I on a tour of the island, including the lay down on the grocery stores to go to (much to Carol’s delight). “Don’t go to the pink grocery, go to the blue one. The yellow one has good bread, and the multicolored one has good milk and ice-cream.” Apparently everything here is color-coded!

We set ourselves up on a mooring ball just north of Thunderball Cave, the cave that was used in the James Bond movie Thunderball, full of underwater harpoon gun fights! There would be time to explore the cave later, as it was getting late. We finished off the day by going into town and ordering hamburgers at Taste and Sea. It was a Jimmy Buffet end to another day in paradise.


Time to explore Staniel Cay! We met with the Mounts and split off into three groups. Carol and Chrissy went of to town to do some grocery shopping and the shipment of goods had just come in. Gary and Mike took our dingy and went on a great lobster hunt around the island. That left Kris, Shane, and I with Moonshine’s dingy. Where did we go first? Why, into Thunedrball Cave of course! It was low tide and plenty of other snorkelers where there when we arrived. The cave was absolutely beautiful. It looked like it might be tight inside, but the water was sufficiently deep and the ceiling opened up into a large cavern once you were through the opening. Rays of light poured in from openings in the ceiling and underwater in the sides of the cave. Large schools of fish swam around inside and out, their interest held by the corn and bread people brought to feel them. You could swim along side of the fish, a hugely awkward addition to their group. Underwater the world sounded like a bowl of rice crispies. The snap, crackle and pop of the fish munching on the coral at the cave floor surrounded us. Our trio stayed in the cave until the current running through it became stronger and our wet suits no longer kept us nice and warm in the water. Then it was back to the boats to rinse off, warm up, and eat a bite of lunch.

Shane, Kris and I then headed out to find the two airplane wrecks that were around the island. We found them, a big sea ray, and a rocky beach and island hillside to explore. Later, it was time to meet up with the others. The girls had come back with some good produce, but the men had not seen a single lobster. We all prepared to head over to Big Majors Spot to search for the large pigs that roam free on the island there.

Our pig hunt started out slowly. We did not see any on the first beach, so we headed over to the second one, stopping on the way to explore a little cave we found in the side of the rock. When we saw no signs of the pigs at the second beach, we went back to the first and went ashore to explore. All we found at first was a pig trail and a boat wreck, but no pigs. We let Spinny out of the boat for a game of fetch. Just when we were getting ready to head back out, Spinny’s ears pricked up. A younger male hog came charging out of the trees. Quickly, Spinny, Gary, and I hopped back into the dingy with Kris and Carol. Chrissy was left with the Moonshine dingy as Shane and Mike made their way back from the other side of the beach. A huge sow came charging out from the trees then, and luckily all the Mounts made it into their dingy in time. From the water we fed the pigs carrots and bread. The sow was the bravest and she came swimming up to our boats. Gary even fed her by hand, and Shane gave her a pat on the head. She was large and powerful, and we felt a little safer on the water and in a fast dingy. Spinny behaved herself well and there was thankfully not a dog-pig fight out on the water. It was a fun but serial kind of experience. Once the food was gone, we bid the pig goodbye and slowly motored away. She swam back to shore, satisfied
with an evening meal on the go.

Anphibious Shark…We’re gonna need a bigger boat…

We finished off the evening by inviting the Mounts over for a full ham dinner (not a pig from Big Majors, but appropriate after the pig hunt nonetheless), complete with a large salad (a luxury in the Bahamas), and finished off with coffee and homemade pineapple upside-down cake. Delicious!

Valentine’s Day on Warderick Wells Cay


Our Valentine’s Day was simply packed! We started off searching for lobster that we could not catch. Gary had found 3 on a coral patch nearby. But we could only look, not touch, as we were in a protected park.  We settled for exploring the island paths further instead of lobstering. Kris flew his kite for a bit on the beach. He got a few nice jumps in there, as well as a couple crashes.

After kite flying we caught up with Carol and Gary who had hiked to the top of a nearby hill. Climbing is very interesting on these islands as they are made of a sort of limestone “moonscape” rock that is very porous and light, but full of sharp peaks and points as well. The island is littered with large holes here and there, some with water visibly at the bottom. These must be the wells the island is named after. The view was beautiful from the top! Kris and I explored a few other paths, coming upon the Pirate’s Lair as well as a couple little lizards. Gary and Carol took the dingy out to torture themselves by finding more lobsters.

Later Kris stayed on the boat to study for his captain’s license and the rest of us went back over to Boo Boo Hill to see the blow holes. Carol and I walked back down the trail to the park headquarters, hoping to see the little birds that inhabit the island. It wasn’t until we got to the office itself that we found the birds. We fed them cake mix that we’d brought along. They loved it, as they seem to be primarily nectar feeders and the cake mix is nice and sugary.

Just before sundown, we left the birds reluctantly to go and get Kris so that he could see the little guys. By the smile on his face, I’m guessing it was well worth it!

That night, Gary and Kris took Spinny for a night walk on the nearby beach and they came upon the little rodents that live on the island. They looked like a mix between guinea pigs and rats. I thought that they were adorable!

Well, from all of us at Horizons, happy Feb. 14th!

Safe in Staniel Cay (Details to Come)


Hello all! Just letting you know that we have been safe at Staniel Cay for the past couple of days. I will have more details for you about our days here and our last day on Warderick Wells later (hopefully by tomorrow). The days have been just packed and I have many photos to sort through so that I can post the best on the blog. Today was another busy day full of shopping, snorkeling, dingying, climbing about, feeding and running from pigs, and cooking a delicious dinner! Now the wind is howling on this windy Wednesday night, but we are secure on a mooring ball close to Thunderball Cave (yes, that’s the James Bond Thunderball, incase you were wondering). Blog to you soon. Wish us good weather tomorrow morning!

Highborn Cay to Warderick Wells Cay


We left Nassau later in the morning and headed out toward the Exuma Cays. The wind was parallel to our course, so unfortunately we had to motor our way over there. Spent most of the day crossing the Exuma Bank, watching for coral heads along the way.  We stopped at Highborn Cay, in a nice little cove to the north of the island. It offered good holding and a SW to E protection. We had to steer around some little reefs, but the cove offered clear water to a nice, sandy bottom. A big, wide beach was available for taking Spinny ashore, and later, for flying Kris’ big green kite. All were very pleased with our find.


Today we spent the day over on the neighboring islands of Allens Cay, home to a subspecies of Northern Bahamian Rock Iguana found no where else in the world. The iguanas clammer over to the beach when you land your dingy, looking for food (many visitors like to feed the iguanas things like bread and dog food). We were told not to feed them or bring Spinny over as the iguanas can get aggressive. A couple of iguanas tried to toughen up and make a move on us, but all you had to do was stomp on the sand to let them know who was bigger.

The iguanas were not the only inhabitants of Allens Cay. We also saw a few tiny lizards, an osprey, and a few conchs in the water. It was a wildlife excursion! Gary snorkeling off the north eastern end of Highborn later that day and saw a few colorful fish, eels, but no lobster (to Gary’s dismay). Later we took a walk into town and continued the wildlife safari at the marina where we saw a few small barracuda, a couple of colorful fish, and a large sea ray in the marina water. What a day!


We awoke to high winds out of the north this morning, along with dark grey skies. Where had our beautiful, sunny, 80 degree weather gone? Our cove didn’t serve us much protection and we had to move on.  We made our way down to Warderick Wells Cay, and even got a nice sail down, hoisting up the main and the mizzen and unfurling the staysail.  At the start of the sail the winds were clocking around 15-20 knts and built up to 20-30 knts by the end.  That was exciting!

WWC offered good N and E protection, just what we needed.  We heard tell that there are many different types of birds on this island, but it was much too windy to see any of them!


Today was another grey and windy day. We took the opportunity to explore Warderick Wells further.  We signed up for internet from the park and then took a walk over to Boo Boo Hill, and haunted part of the island where blow holes littler the NE coast and the hill there offers a beautiful panoramic view of the islands. Atop the hill is a pile of driftwood with peoples’ ships’ names painted and carved upon them. We have to find our own piece of driftwood and leave our marker on Boo Boo Hill.

Kris and I explored the island further, traveling to some old plantation ruins further south on the island.  Then we were off to Escape Beach on the SE side. On the far shore spray from the waves shot up 10+ feet into the air. We discovered a tunnel and blowhole further down the little island. We only saw a few birds, as most of them where all still hiding from the wind.

We like it here and may stay another day. The weather is supposed to start clearing up. Maybe we will get to see those birds tomorrow!

Nassau, BS – The Reunion

Hello! This is Emily posting here! Did you all miss me? It’s great to be back on the boat! Carol and I flew into Nassau yesterday afternoon and met up with Gary and Kris at the Yacht Haven Marina.

Nassau is certainly a busy island city! Cars are constantly going faster than the 25mph speed limit, beeping and shouting to the people walk about everywhere. Everyone seems to know one another around here. Well, it is an island after all. I do love the colors of the city though. Having come from the white and frosty world of Ohio, Nassau, and the Bahamas in general, were a feast to my eyes! Green, blue, and bursts of colorful flowers. It’s like the world was remastered with Technicolor.

Today we explored the Atlantis Resort on Paradise island, which is right next to Nassau. I will describe it in a few words. Fancy. Expensive. Exclusive. And, according to Kris and Gary, “hoity toity”. It was very nice, if you have a lot of money to spend on your vacation. There is plenty to do: visit the aquarium, swim with dolphins, go see a movie or a comedy show, shop at the multitude of shops at the resort, or place a couple bets at the casino. The whole resort reminded me a bit of a Disney World resort…minus the giant character actors and plus a giant casino.

We are planning to sail to Allens Cay tomorrow morning. We may not have internet for the next few days, but I will be sure to post here when we do and tell you all about it.  Wish the good winds are way!