Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cat Island

Little San Salvador

From Nassau we headed across the banks to the top end of the Exumas at Allans Cay.  It’s a well protected anchorage and has some good lobster hunting nearby and we were very excited about starting the new season.  We anchored where we normally do and went for an hunt bagging a lobster for dinner.  We went to bed very happy and looking forward to tomorrow. 

During the night we were woken by a bang and the feel of the boat moving.  It felt like the rudder had hit something solid, but there was no obvious thing it could have hit, we had 12’ of water at the stern, checked with a lead line.  I shortened the anchor rode juts in case and we went back to bed with no further incidence. 

In the morning it all became clear, right behind the boat submerged in the water was a large dump truck!  It wasn’t there last year and has somehow appeared in the water at a small isolated cay in the middle of nowhere!  The damage to the rudder was minimal, just a small nick off the trailing tip, and soon repaired temporarily with underwater epoxy, but we were lucky it wasn’t worse.  Any ideas on how this truck got there gratefully received!

After a few days of hunting there and enjoying the Exumas we decided it was time for a change and headed over to Cat Island, our first visit there.

We passed an excellent 10 days, we were the only cruising boat there so had all the anchorages to ourselves.  We met some very kind expats when we anchored off there gorgeous house at Pigeon Cay, and as a result got to tour to a really nice resort on the NW tip for dinner.

Cat Island is also home to the highest mountain in the Bahamas, all 63 metres of it, atop said mountain is The Hermitage, a true hermitage built by Father Jerome a priest who had spent many years in the Caribbean building and designing churches.  In 1940 or so he retired and was granted the land on the hill by the Government and built his retreat.  It looks like a huge imposing building on a big hill:


But when you get close you realise it is a tiny, low ceilinged cramped single bedroom hermits house on a very small hill!  Still it’s not often you scale the highest peak in a country, especially in flip flops!

Half Moon Cay_011From there we went out to the small island of Little San Salvador, up until 1997 a remote pristine cay, but then bought by the Holland America cruise ship line as a day stop for their cruises on the way from Nassau to the Caribbean, and subsequently renamed half Moon Cay. 

So now there is a replica pirate ship on the beach, Half Moon Cay_015sailing dinghies, kayaks, 1000’s of sun loungers, horses etc etc to amuse the passengers. 

We had one day with just us and two days with ships there, and in fairness despite the delivery of humans the resort is run well and if you closed your eyes you wouldn’t know 500 people were sharing it with you!

Still the lobster hunting was excellent and despite being slightly rolly the anchorage was amazing at night when the ships had gone, sitting under the stars in our own private island

To cap it all off we even caught our first fish of the trip on the way back to the Exumas, a nice big Mahi Mahi.

Half Moon Cay_018

So now we will hang out in the Exumas until the New Year, and then start the trip south to the Eastern Caribbean.

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