These two weeks have been spent mostly finding places to hide from one cold front after another. The locals and cruisers that come here often tell us that this is the worst winter they have seen in many years. Of course! The cold fronts bring strong winds so we have not traveled as much as we intended. After a couple days of wind Jess is ready to head back to the states and forget about making this trip again. Then we will have an absolutely gorgeous day and he is ready to spend every winter here! Luckily the nice days make up for the windy ones. Melinda spent a few days with us while we unfortunately were riding out the worst weather we have seen since coming to the Bahamas. We did have one nice day and were able to snorkel in Thunderball Grotto which is breathtaking. It was fun just having company for a few days. The weather improved on Sunday, allowing us to finally head north for one more stop before we leave the Exumas. Shroud Cay provided spectacular channels for dinking through the mangroves. Jess and Roger also managed to find some coral heads that were teaming with life. Now it is time to point Bama Dream a little to the north and east as we leave the Exumas behind and journey to the Eleutheras.
We took a short trip down to Black Point on Guana Cay in order to use "the best" laundromat in the Bahamas. There is a very nice little settlement here with a small grocery store and a couple of restaurants. Lunch is definitely on Bahamian time. It took over 2 hours, but we had nowhere else to be anyway.
The famous swimming pigs at Staniel Cay meet our dink hoping for a morning snack. If you don't feed them fast enough they will try to get in the boat with you!
Some of my favorite walks on the beach take place at low tide. I love searching for all of the sea life that can be found along the rock ledges and out in the shallows.
On one of our dinghy rides, Jess and I landed for a walk on this uninhabited island. We labeled it "the Badlands of the Bahamas" for obvious reasons.
The large tidal pools provide relief in what would otherwise be a rather desolate landscape.
Melinda arrives to spend a few days with us! We so wanted her to be able to experience the beauty of these islands, but unfortunately we can not control the weather.
The pigs must have had plenty to eat before we took Melinda to their beach. They were being rather lazy and didn't want to swim out to the boat so we headed for shore. We very soon had more pigs than we could handle.
Thunderball Grotto (filmed in the 007 movie Thunderball) is a must see snorkeling spot in the harbor of Staniel Cay. At low tide swimmers can enter through an opening in the cave and experience another world.
When the local fishermen return to the docks to clean their catch of the day, sharks gather to consume the scraps. I know these are only perfectly harmless nurse sharks but I still don't want to meet up with any of them while I am swimming.
These guys had a good day lobstering off shore.
Melinda and Jess headed off in search of sea turtles and coral heads for snorkeling.
Saturday morning arrived with another stunning sunrise. Unfortunately it was also time for Melinda to head back to Atlanta. We had a very nice visit even if we rocked and rolled part of the time.
Shroud Cay is everything I expected to find when i came to the Bahamas! The water is amazing, the beaches are abundant, and the scenery is breathtaking.
After a very nice dinghy ride through the mangroves, we found our beach for the day.
Jess discovered some old fishing net that had washed ashore. Of course it was a perfect fit for a short rest from his busy morning.
Our footprints were the only ones on the beach and the waves quickly washed them away.
Jess tried a little body surfing!
The view from Camp Driftwood looking toward the west into the Exuma Bank.
The view from Camp Driftwood looking east out into the Atlantic.
Jess has no lack of "pets" on this trip. We had a shark sucker that traveled with us so long that Jess actually gave him a name, and this morning when he was getting the dink ready for the day this pelican came over for a visit.
A nice sized ray (at least 8 feet), we came across on our way back through the channel.