The “Exuma” Queen…

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February 1, 2013 by Last Star blog

29 January

After two days at Highbourne Cay it was time to push south and continue the odyssey.  We felt we needed water and since rain is scarce around here we would have to go get some.  The marina at Highbourne sold reverse osmosis (known as RO around here) water and that looked like our best bet for a while so we motored to the dock to take water and fuel, oh, and bread and limes.  The fuel was a five minute deal, 14.5 gals after 11 days was pretty good use of fuel and mother nature’s winds to get around.  Then we started to fill the water tanks.  That took some time as the hose for the water is your standard garden variety hose and we run it through a filter.  When that was said and done we needed about 70 gallons.  Again good for two folks for 11 days where we don’t feel we cheat ourselves on the fresh water usage (we’ve run into cruisers who are on a even an odd day shower schedule; harkens back to the Gas Rationing from the Carter Administration).  Now here’s the rub, the water here in the Exumas goes for about .50 cents a gallon.  Not a back breaker for us for 11 days.  But let’s look at that again.  In the states I suspect you pay about .3 cents/gallon, maybe less.  Water is a valuable commodity here and it is NOT wasted.  You see all the homes have the gutters going into cisterns.  Some islands have power plants to run the RO plants to provide the water.  A gallon of “drinking water” goes for about $2.75.

Well we finally pushed off from Highbourne and headed south to Normans Cay.  Normans used to be the main base for a big drug lord in the ’80s.  He was eventually brought to justice, the area cleaned up but it still has the stigma from the drug lord; there’s a C-46 still in the water off the end of the runway that they used for drug running.   We tried to go there for lunch but the Beach Club near the airport was under renovation and we couldn’t eat there….dang.  Now off to Shroud Cay.  Shroud is in the Exumas National Wildlife Park so no fishing in the boundaries, only for looking.  Shroud has a narrow channel that cuts from the bank (shallow) side to the sound (ocean) side.  We approached as close as we could with the mother ship but still were a mile off shore in 6 feet of water.  So the dinghy ride was a bit longer than we hoped for with chop.  Then we started the trip up the “river”.  I had visions of Cagney and Hepburn in African Queen.  I don’t think they had sharks to deal with though–yes there were sharks in the channel

Shroud Cay Channel Entrance

Shroud Cay Channel Entrance


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Shallow water...guess who's riding?

Shallow water…guess who’s riding?

The beauty was amazing and only surpassed by the opening to the ocean.  Again more breathtaking hues of blue and amazing beaches….

approach to ocean from channel

approach to ocean from channel

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach

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We left the boat at 3:00 PM and the tide was working against us as we went to the ocean.  We couldn’t stay too long on the beach as I wanted to be back at the boat by sunset.  Too many hours playing pessimist in the aircraft had me seeing us trying to find our boat a mile offshore in the dark (with no lights on) and the outboard failed.  We would be back with time to spare.  It all worked out.

Can't leave ya without a sunset photo

Can’t leave ya without a sunset photo

After Shroud we had a rough trip south into the wind to Warderick Wells and the Park HQ.  We took a mooring ball and had a great 2 days.  The snorkeling photos are amazing.  Tune in tomorrow.



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