May 23, 2013 by Last Star blog
Don’t be a Stranger….
So after Allens Pensacola we pulled anchor and were now off to Carters Cay for another night as we visit the northern most Bahamian islands bordering the Sea of Abaco. These islands are not stops in general for most cruisers. It’s geographical for the most part. When we entered back in December we left West End and made a bee-line east to get across the Sea of Abaco and heading southeast towards Green Turtle and points south. Well when we told folks we’d stop here on the way back they all said “oh, you say you will but you’ll just sprint for the States and blow them off….” Well if I say it, I’ll do it so here we are.
Getting to Carters Cay was pretty simple, well it should have been. The wind was dying during the entire 22 mile trip and seemed to dog us with a perpetual tail wind. We tried all combinations of sail and could barely manage 3.5 knots so we finished with the diesel. Now Carter’s is uninhabited except for a “fishing camp” there where the fishermen will overnight before returning to more distant villages or settlements. Our issue was the water was too shallow to get near it in the big boat and we didn’t want to dinghy to it so we elected to go explore Yankee Cay as we were parked just to the south of it and it had a little channel that connected it to the Atlantic just like Shroud Cay in the Exumas….. Well it was not quite the same, the opening was without a sandy beach and 100% iron-shore. We elected to row back through it for some exercise and when gliding quietly without the motor we see more wildlife. The area was rich in Bone-Fish, tons of them in the flats.
As we were getting closer to the Last Star we saw this little idyllic beach…. OK, maybe not so idyllic but i-dullic. There was a nice rusting refrigerator, some plastic buckets, loads of sea grass and little else. In hindsight the Palms could have used some pruning and benefitted from it but I didn’t see that until the photos. Next time I’ll bring a machete–garden tool “par excellance”!!
Well after we left the i-dullic beach we were back to the boat…in 18 inch chop topped with whitecaps! What the hell? This was evidently all the wind that was missing in the morning now delivered in one big dose. The Last Star was hobby-horsing at the end of her tether and after one look at the open expanse of water in front of us and then a look at one another the next question was “where to now?” So I popped below and opened Garmin’s “Homeport” software to find another place to duck into. Stranger’s Cay was on our way for the next leg to “Double Breasted” (immediate positive prospects in that name I’m thinking). So we could duck into Stranger’s in about an hour, have protection from the southeast (current prevailing strong wind) so off we go. During our little short one hour of motoring (the first time we had to change plans so far on our Bahamian trip after anchoring) we felt we were late on Happy Hour so cool beers were in order to help pass the time. As we motored and sipped Kaliks Patricia got out the “Book of Hyperbole” to see what it said about our next stop. Well there is a short paragraph capturing four cays; Big Romers, Rhoda Rocks, STANGERS, and Joe Cays. It says and I quote “…a difficult area of banks, shoals, rocks, and reefs. It could well be a gunkhole fanatic’s idea of heaven, but for the cruising boat, it is unrewarding. Best to go to Carters Cay and stay AFLOAT” Oh shit! What now? How about another Kalik–it can’t be that bad. And it wasn’t!!! The book of hyperbole! We followed my –routing –thanks Garmin for having great charts. Tucked well to the NW and had good protection from the prevailing south easterly breeze and boat rested comfortably in 8 feet of water–day complete with an hour and half to sunset.
The next morning, we took the dinghy down to go explore another beach. The north western tip of the island is very skinny and has these amazing trees lined up in one long row . The photo doesn’t do them justice. When we arrived with the sun to the west they were all black silhouettes and in the morning the early sun was lighting them in an amazing way (you gotta make this trip). By the time we took the pictures of course the light had changed. Here they are from the Atlantic side . Getting up close you can see their struggle for life here on the edge of the world. The limbs are all ravaged, the roots a twisted nightmare I suspect that storms come and spray them with salt and sea water and strip them of all their leaves and then they just start over. .
Here pushed up well into the brush is a drift net, the best place for it. These things when lost over the side are a nightmare to fish, wildlife, boaters and anything that comes into contact with it. . The sand was talcum fine and right up against the iron shore leaving bits of art like this. Stuff like this makes the DDM always worth it; it’s always insanely beautiful in a myriad of ways.
Oh and the final bit of joy of going where you can’t “stay afloat” is that no one goes there so in a matter of minutes I had this and two more pristine heart beans! Oh and Patricia had none!! That’s right, I AM the Bean King!
*Art Directors add, cause she is sooo cute!