Monday, July 17, 2017

Welcome to the Bahamas

7/6/2017 - Walker's Cay

We've arrived. We've arrived in the Bahamas where our boat looks suspended over the sea floor - the water so clear that I can count every blade of sea grass just by looking over the side of the boat. And, slowly but surely, we are arriving in the cruising life mindset where minutes blend into hours blend into days and I'm no longer watching the clock or thinking about what I'm going to be doing next. That's a hard state of mind to achieve and one that - I know from experience - takes months, if not years. But we're settling into relaxation here on Walker's Cay, our first real Bahamian anchorage.

Six months ago when we started putting the gears into motion for this trip, when we first started looking at the charts and dreaming about where we would go, we immediately looked to Walker's Cay. A former marina resort island, it is the northernmost island in the Abacos and promises solitude and great fishing. We've found solitude - we're the only boat at anchor and, besides the island caretaker and a few prop planes that come and go, we're alone. Grand Cay, with it's all-around protected harbor, is a mere five miles away if we need to duck in for bad weather. We can pick up slow data from the Batelco tower to check weather and send and receive text messages. And all is good.

We spent the first day here exploring the island. We found a west facing beach lined with tall casuarina pines - perfect for a morning beach expedition. Shady and cool. Hans had a few dinghy projects so he set up his epoxy workshop and raised the bracket on the transom for the outboard. It was too low down and spraying water inside the engine. He installed a transducer for the depth sounder so we can scope out anchorages for the big boat and so Hans can go fishing and find the drop off. I went snorkeling with Freja and she got used to swimming with mask, snorkel, and fins in open water. The girls worked on their "secret hideout" and I looked for conch.

Back to the boat to relax in the shade in the middle of the day. After a fantastic dinner on the foredeck of sushi and ceviche (and macaroni and cheese per Matilda's request), we went ashore to explore more of the island. We tied up at the abandoned marina - the island was hit hard by a hurricane over 10 years ago and was subsequently abandoned. We hiked up the big hill to what I thought was the former lodge/clubhouse, but is actually a church. With new windows! Bahamian priorities. We found an abandoned swimming pool filled with green/brown water; we scrambled along the rocky coastline at sunset. Today we settled into the cruising life a little more. Homemade donut holes for breakfast, a relaxing morning at home while Hans did a few boat projects, Freja and I snorkeled on a sunken boat in the harbor, and Matilda played with her new PlayMobil set. We packed lunch and went to the beach for a couple hours. A beach afternoon turned into a conch bonanza-  we found so many mature conch. Conch fritters for dinner!

The one (major) drawback: the massive generator that powers neighboring Grand Cay is running all the time.

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