December 14 – 16.
We love the wind. It fills Blue Wings sails and propels her as she glides through the radiant blue waters of the Bahamas. It spins the blades on our wind generator charging our batteries which power our refrigerator, computer, GPS, lights, and everything else electrical we rely on. And it blows across the boat’s cockpit and through her hatches keeping us cool in the warm tropical sun. But some days the wind fails to exhale its favor on us and the waves that usually lap at Blue Wing’s hull flatten out like the smooth facet of a diamond. The clear water becomes a window into a sub-terrestrial landscape of aquatic life. This is exploring time.
We left Cambridge Cay in the afternoon of December 14th with the high tide and motored down to Pipe Cay. The anchorage there was surgey and Blue Wing rocked and rolled and pitched and heaved. It was growing dark by the time we dropped the hook, so we had little choice but to rough out a sleepless night. First thing in the morning we moved around the corner to a much more settled spot nestled between the south east corner of Pipe Cay and Little Pipe Cay. From there we looked out what is known as Pipe Creek. Finally, new territory.
Pipe Creek is a wide swath of shallow and extremely shallow water bordered on each side by several cays. Most of these cays are privately owned Which means they are off limits to us, but our chart book showed a few that weren’t marked private, so after resting up we packed a lunch and headed out across the Creek to see what we could find.
Our first stop, Joe Cay, was busy with construction. A sign asked us to respect the privacy of the new owners and politely told us to go away. We rowed Fever down to the next island, Thomas Cay, soaking in the beauty of Pipe Creek as we went. Here we had better luck, no sign of civilization except for a boater’s art construction with a sign declaring this the “Pipe Creek Yacht Cub.” We ate our lunch using a couple of old crates for seats and set out exploring finding a trail across the island and down the iron shore of the Exuma Sound.
I think we planned to move on the next morning, but we awoke to a dead flat calm and decided to stay another day and dink back across the Creek to explore more of Thomas Cay. On our trip there and back we peered into the glassy water and saw many small reefs, fish, starfish, a ray, and a turtle. Like a gift of the absent wind, the sea floor of Pipe Creek opened its arms and let us in on all its little secrets, welcoming us to its home, and nothing was marked private and there were no signs telling us we didn’t belong.