April 24 – 26 — To the Exumas

The glassy water at Davis Marina.

On April 24th, with wind starting from the west and shifting to northwest, we decided to sail from Governor’s Harbor to southern Eleuthera, the jumping off place for the Exumas. We wanted to stop at a marina in south Eleuthera to top fuel and water. We don’t usually spend the night at marinas, but there are no good anchorages on southwest Eleuthera. There are two marinas, though.

The Cape Eleuthera Yacht Club charges about what you would expect from a world class marina. But they do advertise mooring balls for reasonable rates. Duwan had emailed the dockmaster for details on the mooring balls. He said they had been hauled off by hurricane Irene, but we could anchor at his marina for free. He sent a picture of the building we could anchor in front of.

We started at sunrise, and with 17 knot winds sailed the 25 miles to the protected marina. When we got inside there was no room to anchor. We opened the email and finally found a building whose backside matched the picture the dockmaster had sent. The mooring balls had been out in the ocean! No wonder Irene had taken them.

So we sailed an additional 11 miles to Davis Harbor, our backup option. Irene had taken some of the entrance markers there, and we couldn’t raise anyone on the VHF, but we managed to get in.

The dockmaster at Davis Harbor was busy running the marina and a gas station by himself. He still got us situated, and after we took on fuel and water, your’s truly treated himself a very long, hot shower. We had been rocking for many days. It was nice to spend the night in a spot where the water was as smooth as glass.

The next morning we left early for the Exumas. There was a very light northeast wind now. We originally started toward Warderick Wells, but decided with this wind we might not make it there before dark. Instead we steered directly west toward Highborne Cay. The wind increased to 12 knots and we made the 33 mile passage, went through the tricky cut, and anchored by 4pm.

Highborn Cay at twilight.

The Exumas are a long string of cays. There are few people here, but plenty of rugged, unspoiled beauty. There is no way we can explore every island. We did want to visit the national park headquarters in Wardrick Wells, but now we had a chance to stop and explore a bit on the way.

So the next morning we sailed south, passing the large Norman and Shroud cays, and stopped at Hawksbill Cay. This was almost a twenty mile trip. We made it by 3pm, in time to do a little exploring.

A view north from Hawksbill Cay.

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