Pinned down in paradise by north winds in Compass Cay Bahamas.

recognizably It’s Monday morning and we are anchored in a lovely spot in Compass Cay for the third day.   We arrived from Staniel Cay where we left to avoid the coming west winds that would have made anchorage uncomfortable given the exposure there.  This harbor offers much better protection from nearly all directions than most harbors in the Exumas.

carefully Staniel Cay is a very popular stop and was particularly appealing to the big boy yachting set given a planned James Bond Casino Royal charity event.  Staniel Cay is home of Thunderball Cave, of the James Bond film of the same name.  Attendees of this charity event were encouraged to come dressed the Bond part.  There were plenty that would fit that mold and a number of “bond girls” too.  Unfortunately, we had to leave due to the weather and missed the big event.  There were at least a dozen big yachts in town with the largest at 220′.  That one had an enclosed launch, actually referred to as a “limo launch” to get the guests to the event.  These mega dinks, cost as much as several, no make that a half dozen, Pandora’s. I can’t imagine the cost of keeping these babies on the move. ” If you have to ask, you can’t afford it”, they say.  OK, got it.

Since my last post we have begun our run north through the Exumas with the goal of stopping at some of the spots that we missed on our way south in January.  This time of the year we are supposed to be seeing more easterly trade winds which make travel north and south easy.  Unfortunately, it’s not looking like we will see much other than northerlies for much of the week.   Given the fact that all the islands we want to visit are north of here, we won’t be sailing there any time soon.  Perhaps, if the winds cut down a bit, even if they remain from the north, we will motor somewhere in a day or so, depending on the strength of the wind.  The good news is that the islands are very close together in this area so we wouldn’t have very far to go.

Happily, this spot, Compass Cay,  is very well protected and quite pretty with long sandy beaches and mangrove swamps that you can take a dink into at high tide.  I expect that we will enjoy doing some beach combing and sightseeing for the next few days here.  There’s even a small marina nearby where we will be able to have a lunch out.

Speaking of spending money,  we are running short of cash as there aren’t any banks in this area.  Having said that, there’s not much to spend money on anyway as only a few of the islands have any sort of settlements.  The good news is that most places, where there are inhabited “places”,  take credit cards although they charge an extra  5% for the privilege.   Oh well,  we have to keep our strength up so an extra  5% it will have to be…

The spot where we are anchored is about 20′ deep and is surrounded by flats that nearly dry out at low tide.   The water color ranges from nearly white in the shallow flats to a deep blue in the deeper spots.  It’s quite dramatic.  The tide really rips through the deeper areas so we tend to point toward the current, not the wind.  That can make for Pandora laying at some odd angles to the wind but keeps things interesting.  The views are beautiful and you can walk for several miles, on the flats, in water that is less than 1′ deep at low tide.   It’s still pretty shallow at high tide as the range is only a few feet here.   All over the flats, there are loads of sand dollars and really interesting starfish.    Brenda and I enjoyed posing with some of our new “friends”.  (Editor:  No starfish were harmed taking this photograph.  Traumatized yes, killed, no.)   And yes, the water was very warm.

We are still buddy boating with our friends Loreen and Miles of Ariel and one daily activity for us is to find a shallow spot near the beach to sit and enjoy staying cool in the water.  Me?  I have trouble sitting still for very long so I tend to abandon the “sitters” and walk along in the shallow water with my glass bottomed bucket looking for shells.  I have also been successful in finding palm fronds for Brenda so she can continue to make her baskets which are getting better and better every day.Conch and discarded conch shells are everywhere here in the Bahamas but this is the first, and certainly largest and most colorful, hermit crab that I have found.   Actually, I have never ever found a hermit crab even close to this size.   I guess that if there are big shells, there will be big hermit crabs.

With about six weeks left for our visit to the Bahamas, our thoughts have turned to logistics for our return to Essex.   Brenda will be flying out of Marsh Harbor Abaco on or about the 9th of May.    A good friend of mine, Craig, will be flying down to spend a week sailing with me after Brenda’s departure and after that I’ll have crew coming down for the run back to CT.

My good friend Chris from CT will be joining me for the run north and perhaps one other.   Logistics are always an issue when it comes to moving Pandora but I am used to that after years of practice in getting from points A to B.  I am hopeful that the weather will cooperate for our run north to the Abacos, Brenda’s departure, crew arrival and the run to CT.   Details, details…

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