We’ve been holed up in George Town pushing a month now and that means it’s been WAY too long since we’ve done some diving and fishing. When our friend Craig on the cat, The Lucky One, sailed up and dropped hook in our anchorage bringing with him a large freshly caught (and deliciously cooked) tuna that he shared, we got all the motivation we needed to get moving again. Thank you Craig! We prepped to get underway the next morning except the next morning it was windy so we stayed holed up-for just one more day. We did get out the following day. Well, out to the main Harbor, we were still in George Town but at least out of the hidey hole. The plan was to go enjoy the reefs and beaches at Lee Stocking Island, just a few hours north but the weather reports started shaping up for a mean front to come in a few days packing 30-35-40 knots of wind from the west- again. (Finding anchorages with protection from the west is difficult here, hence our long stay in said hidey hole) Fresh fish, hidey hole. Fresh fish, hidey hole. We chose the fresh fish!
The sail north was just perfect. Here in the Exumas most of the traveling is done in the Exuma Sound which is thousands of feet deep as opposed to in the Abacos where the sailing is on the bank where 12 feet is deep. On the sail up we started second guessing our choice, probably because we checked the weather again. 30-40 knots is a lot of wind. We waffled between going to Lee Stocking that has some west protection, but no south and we haven’t been then there before so not so sure how good or how many boats it would hold. Eh, or, another option was just a few miles further north to Rudder Cut Cay. The main anchorages are open as far as the eye can see to the west, BUT there is a pond in the middle of the island with a narrow dredged channel. The island is private but we had gotten several recent reports that it was OK to anchor in it. Oooooohhh…..another hidey hole! If that didn’t work, our guide book talked about a narrow dredged channel that would offer good protection between the Darby islands. Options are good. During our decision making struggles a Mahi bit our lure. Fish on! We got it onboard, always a chaotic event, and Keith says “we can go back now, we got a fish”. Now we struggled we three options, at one point I turned off the autopilot and was about to tack the boat around and head back to George Town but we didn’t. We kept sailing on right past at least two dozen boats going the other way.
At Rudder Cut Cay, we rounded the entrance to find the entire beautiful island all to ourselves and the water was so brilliantly aqua and clear that I have no way to describe it. SO, SO beautiful! We got in the dinghy and scoped out our two options for the front. First up the Darbys, supposedly at one time the small island was owned by a man who was sympathetic to the Germans and had the narrow cut dredged with the intentions giving refuge to U-boats in it. Surely if a U-boat could fit, we could fit in there. We pulled in, looked at each other “Oh Hell No” is all we’ve got to say. Not for us. Second up the pond inside the island, it definitely had all-around protection but immediately was saw long drag marks crisscrossing the entire pond, not so reassuring. Keith dove in to check the bottom, at first we thought it might be rock but instead he was able to push his spear easily five feet down into soft muck, it had the consistency of pudding. Curious, we gave it a try. For the first time ever we were able to drag the anchor, even if for only two or three feet, while backing down with the motor. We decided it was like trying to anchor in a box of packing peanuts. We would have stayed, maybe putting out our storm anchor but we were really afraid that at the last minute some other boats would come in and anchor too close to us and we would be worried about them dragging too. We went back out of the hole, enjoyed the serene outer anchorage and our Mahi dinner and in the morning sailed back towards George Town.
In attempts to not feel defeated we convinced ourselves that we meant to just take an overnight fishing trip. And it was a successful fishing trip. On the way back we got two Mahis on the poles at once. Reeling in one fish brings us to an excited chaotic frenzy, two fish was over the top for us. They crossed lines and we did lose one, but got the second one onboard. Sweet!
At George Town instead of going back to our hole we chose another spot by the entrance with plans on leaving out again the next morning. There are a couple hundred boats here now so good anchorages can get filled (overfilled) quickly. We found a solution, just anchor in front of the ugliest scenery possible. We had the spot near the commercial dock overlooking a sunken tug, several sunken barges, a pile of wrecked cars, a gravestone, and a handful of dilapidated shacks. There were no other boats around us, however just a little ways over in front of the pretty little beach the boats were stacked in on top of each other, no thank you. Of course we have discovered that the shacks house night clubs and we got free entertainment, disco balls and all, until 2am.
The front ended up not having the punch expected and we barely saw winds above thirty, so I guess there was no need to come back to George Town after all. And unfortunately as much as we wanted to head back up to Lee Stocking this morning the wind was blowing right on the nose and it is expected to be windy and west-ish all week-again. El-niño, you suck. This morning we are back in our hidey-hole-again. The scenery is pretty, though, and so is the water. Plus, our friends are here too. Life is good.