Pipe Cay

January 20 – 21.

An osprey has taken up residence on one of the Decca Station dolphin pilings.

We have spent our last night in the Exuma Land and Sea Park, leaving Bell Island and crossing the invisible boundary to where only the luckiest conchs die of old age and fish may fall prey to the enticement of tasty snacks only to be reeled out into the suffocating air to their fatal end. We have left behind the mostly uninhabited cays of the park preserve and have entered the central Exumas, dotted with settlements, grocery stores, marinas, resorts, rental cottages, bars, and restaurants. Civilization is so close, but first we stop at one more uninhabited island.

Pipe Cay was once the home of a US Navy Decca station. Abandoned, the ruins still stand along with dolphin pilings marking a channel from the Tongue of the Ocean to a small cove where the deserted buildings of the station stand on the west side of the island. There is a concrete wall inside the cove with enough room for two 40′ boats to tie up to.

We explored the ruins then worked our way through the thick scrub to a trail leading to the east side of the island. Child-sized footprints led us down the path and across the beach where they disappeared into the water. From this vantage point we could see several boats anchored a mile away on Pipe Creek, a narrow waterway nestled between several cays bordering the Sound to the east and the Banks to the west. The water was so shallow here, it looked as if you could almost walk to one of these boats at low tide.

On the east side of the island we walked along the coast finding many small conch shells ashore, caught on land by the ebbing tide, ending their conch lives way too short.

The next day we explored the west coast of Pipe Cay where we found starfish, mangrove swamps, beaches, and small reefs we viewed while we rowed over them in Fever through clear quiet still waters.

The remains of the Decca Station.
People leave their mark inside the Decca Station. Grafitti is a good indication how long a structure has been abandoned. The oldest date I saw here was 1984.
Giant gold cleat at the Decca Station dock.
Remains of a wreck in the Decca Station harbor.
This fish must have not realized that he was not in the protected area of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. He let me get practically on top of him to take a picture.
The eastern shore of Pipe Cay was littered with young conch caught at low tide.
East Coast of Pipe Cay.
A different kind of mangrove in the swamp on the west side of Pipe Cay.
We saw a few of these small starfish on the west coast of Pipe Cay.

3 thoughts on “Pipe Cay

    1. Thanks for the info, very interesting. My Father worked for the Decca station at Pipe Cay. I have slides of my father working there.

  1. I was stationed on Andros Isl in the early 70s. One of my tasks was to inspect the Decca stations twice a year. We usally flew in a Grumman goose. A lot of pleasure mixed in with the business.

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