We arrived in the Bahamas at the most westerly point aptly named West Point on Grand Bahama at the beginning of December.
We knew that the Bahamas was shallow but I do not think we appreciated quite how shallow. We have now got used to sailing in 2 metres of water, when anchoring we are pleased to have 0.5 metres underneath us at low water, and a tidal range of 3ft is now significant – unheard of in the UK. On the plus side the water is gin clear, we can always see the anchor and the reefs seem to ensure that the seas remain relatively flat and we have had some wonderfully smooth sailing in good winds. The colours are amazing. The winds are variable in direction and strength. There are numerous anchoring options. It is not quite as warm as we expected but definitely shorts and T shirt weather and very comfortable.
We first toured the Abacos. These are a delightful collection of uninhabited islands, idyllic beaches and little settlements.
Next stop Nassau to pick up Angus for Christmas. Nassau is not attractive and is home to the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island. The Atlantis resort seems to have every attraction but in terms of scale it has a 60,000 sq ft casino providing 75 gaming tables and 750 slot machines. We have left it to our imagination. With Angus on board for Christmas we headed to the Exumas returned, and then picked Tristan and Marie up after Christmas and returned to the Exumas. The Exumas are on most cruisers bucket list and they did not disappoint. There are 365 cays with some of the most glorious anchorages and little harbours. Settlements are few and far between. This is a beautiful part of the world but very much a holiday park.
Under the water there are many sharks of numerous varieties, which apparently are all reasonably harmless but let us hope so. There are rays which glide along effortlessly and many other multi coloured fish. We have explored the mangroves at Shroud Cay; Seen rare iguanas at Allen’s Cay; Tristan and Marie explored the Thunderball grotto – This was used for filming a James Bond film and is quite magical; Snorkelled over a crashed aeroplane originally used for carrying drugs at Norman’s Cay and looked at Blow holes at Warderick Wells Cay.
The Exumas are also the home of the most massive fleet of super motor yachts – we have never seen so many. It gives us a certain satisfaction that we can enjoy the same pleasures on our own small yacht at considerably less cost.
Sadly the Christmas weather was disappointing – no long walk on a cold, crisp morning. We had rain, wind and blustery conditions! We took a rather wet dinghy ride to the famous swimming pigs at Staniel Cay. They were unperturbed and happy to perform despite the weather. We had roast lamb on A Capella for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner was at the yacht club with our friends Allen and Marie from Lady Jane. The dinghy ride back can only be described as treacherous!
Ready for the treacherous return dinghy trip after Christmas dinner
We had a quick sail north to Nassau the following day, with three reefs in the main. This is the first time we have done this since crossing Biscay in October 2017!
Not much time goes by without some sort of repair or maintenance. This time it was the outboard engine. Dirty petrol was deemed the problem.
By New Year’s Eve the weather had much improved and just after we had finished anchoring in Staniel Cay who should appear but Lady Jane. This resulted in an impromptu BBQ and so we saw 2019 in on A Capella. We would like to wish all our friends a very happy New Year.