Haunted Places, Mangroves, and Sunken Planes
Updated: Jun 9, 2020
April 24th- April 28th
Cruising in unfamiliar locations always comes with making multiple decisions. Where should we go next? Will it be choppy or is it protected from the wind? Is there a lot of current? We have found that anchorages in the Bahamas have a lot of current so your boat can swing 180 degrees within an hour. What is the depth of the anchorage and where should we anchor based on the tides? Normally, we wouldn’t mind making many of these decisions to explore new areas but with the Covid lockdown, there is a continual heaviness in our hearts and minds which adds to the stress and makes it difficult to ever feel completely carefree. We do have our cherished moments and hope to have many more in the future but the uneasy feelings are pervasive on a daily basis just like the rest of the world.
We continued on and spent a couple of nights in the Exuma Park. First stop was Pasture Cay near the Aquarium. The winds were up but we found a large sandy spot on the north side with good holding. We headed ashore but there were signs that it was a sanctuary for iguanas. We did see one! We then dinghied over to some beaches and sand flats across the way and ultimately snorkeled a place called “The Aquarium” when the winds died down a bit. Fish were everywhere! Sergeant Majors came right up to your mask and there were numerous Queen and French angels. Due to Covid, it was eerily quiet. Being in the park we were also a little concerned of the BVI park rangers making us move or ordering us to stay on the boat.
The next day we scoped out Sandy Cay but settled on another anchorage off of the northwest side of Hall Pond Cay. There was an abandoned development here along with some abandoned trailers that looked like they had been used for workers at some point. Several of these cays are privately owned by billionaires and some of the estates are quite impressive. In fact, Johnny Depp owns the cay adjacent to this one. I wasn’t very fond of this anchorage. In fact, it felt haunted. Heard many odd noises that night including what I thought was someone walking on our boat. Spooky! We were outta there…
We continued to make our way through the Exumas, entered Cistern cut and made our way to Hawksbill Cay first. We passed Little Cistern Cay and made a note to anchor here in the future. What a gorgeous spot. We wanted to continue a bit further so we went into the northern anchorage on Hawksbill Cay and tied up to a mooring but winds were out of the south and it was way too rolly and choppy. Too bad because there were some great ruins and hikes we missed. Have to catch this area next time!
Looking at the charts again we found a place that looked like it would protect us from the south winds. So we headed to Shroud Cay and anchored north of the mooring field tucked up behind the arm of the island. We had to squeeze into between coral heads but it was a sandy bottom of about 6 feet so it was a great anchorage. There are unique creeks here that take you up into the mangroves so off we went to explore by dinghy. We traveled way up into the mangroves and almost reached the other side of the island. We passed a couple of rays and several turtles. The water was very shallow with strong currents at times but crystal clear. Definitely best to go at high tide! Beautiful place. Many beaches to explore too but we had to be on the move again.
We exited the Exumas park and the next two nights we spent at Norman Cay in two different anchorages. The first night was spent near the crashed plane sight on the southern end of the island. Lots of current and fairly shallow but very protected. Lots of sand flats. Norman Cay is famous for it once being used to transport tons of cocaine into the US. Taken over by a drug lord with connections to Pablo Escobar. Rumor has it this is one of Pablo Escobar’s planes that crashed. Still it was a plane from World War II that was really fun to snorkel. It likely crashed in the 80s but it was great to see all the coral and fish that established themselves in the fuselage. Our second night was spend on the southwest side of the island near Skip Jack Point. There normally is a great restaurant known as MacDuffs here. Too bad it was closed due to Covid! Beautiful walking beach. Last night in the Exumas. Time to head northwest tomorrow to gradually make our way closer to the states.