N 24 18.210 W76 32.444 Cambridge Cay

Trip Start Mar 09, 2009
Trip End May 26, 2009

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Monday, April 13, 2009

April 13, 2009 - Warderick to Little Bell (Cambridge)
N 24 18.210   W76 32.444
We left Warderick Wells Cay at 10:15 heading out to Exuma Sound and down to Little Bell Island almost the southern most point of Exuma Land & Sea Park.  We picked up a Park Mooring here around 1:00 and settled in for lunch.  The sail down Exuma Sound from Warderick was good with 15kt winds - if you don't count the first 90 minutes of plowing into the waves!  Eventually we were able to change our heading a little and put up the main and sail to Little Bell otherwise known as Cambridge Cay.
Except for a few paid employees, this park is managed by volunteers.  The volunteers are cruisers - most from the US and fulltime on their boats.  For volunteering in the park they get free mooring.  Individuals can volunteer as you go - a day's worth of volunteering gives you a free night mooring.  Moorings are $15 a night.   I'm amazed at how knowledgeable the hosts are.  For many this is an annual thing - they come down every fall and spend the winters in the Exumas volunteering at the park. 
The hosts at Cambridge are Rick and Eliena (and dog Ginger) on S/V "Movin On" a 42' Manta.  Once we got settled they came over to meet and greet, sign us up and tell us about the surrounding area of Cambridge Cay.  Directly off our stern across the water you can barely make out a roof structure on the beach - that island belongs to Johnny Depp.   There is another island that is privately owned and Bell Cay is private and even Little Bell is private but owners don't mind visitors in the island.
Exumas are getting bought up and you need to get down and cruise it while there were still islands to hang out in.    It doesn't appear as though the Exumas Trust has the clout to ward off the developers. 
The economy here is suffering also and the marinas are offering slips for very low dockage (by Bahama standards)  because people aren't using marinas - they are anchoring out.  Rick said Little Bahama Bay up in West End is offering slips at $.75/foot!  Compass Cay's slips are $2/foot down from $4.50/foot!
We aren't adding much to the Bahamian economy so far - except for moorings and two nights in Bimini and two nights in Nassau, one lunch of fried erasers and dinner out at Dominos - we've pretty much kept our $ to ourselves.  And.....I still have a freezer full of food!
Honeymoon Beach      This afternoon we took off in the dinghy to a little cover to explore "Honeymoon Beach".  This is very interesting - you come over a very, very shallow area and then there's a blue hole that drops about 15-30'.  At low tide you can literally dive off the beach into the water! 

We saw a Manta swimming in the shallow waters. We walked over to the other side of the island to the Exuma Sound to a beautiful beach.   The path was lined with conch shells.   Then came back for a quick swim in the "blue hole". The tide had gone out so we had to walk the dinghy across the shallows to get back to the deep water to our boat.  Could almost walk to the boat!   Dave picked up a conch - but we could just look. We're still within the park boundaries. This is truly a very pretty place.
The Space Station:  Dave has been studying the skies each night and identifying satellites careening across the skies.   Last night I was settled down below reading when he said "That's got to be the space station - it is going way too fast across the sky and there aren't any blinking lights".  I climbed up the ladder and looked out over the side.  I said "You mean that light that has the red and green lights flashing?"  Dave says "Where!"  and I pointed to the sky.  I guess they must have added navigational lights to the Space Station!  We got a good laugh over that.
April 14, 2009 - Blowing like stink (nautical term) again.  It's around 15-20 kts.  Just sitting on the boat waiting to see how the winds are going to settle.  By 1:30 we were ready to go somewhere - it was too windy to go up to the Sea Aquarium, a really good dive spot, so headed over to another beach to hike to Bell Rock.
Bell Rock is  50' high, shear sided and was once shaped like a bell giving this cay its name.   The walk over to the beach was once again lined with conch shells.  Then we saw Bell Rock - which is quite impressive.  We hiked to the top of Bell Rock and had a beautiful view of the anchorage.  The hike up was a steep climb on the edge of the rocks.     We found a way down that took us through the palmetto so we had something to hold on to. 
We walked further down the beach and came upon a little area where someone had put up a hammock and a swing among the Causarina trees.  

We took a little rest and then headed back to the trail to the dinghy.
April 15, 2009 - TAX DAY
The Plan:  Dinghy over to the Sea Aquarium about 1 mile out of the anchorage and do some diving.  Headed off in the dinghy prepared with water, towel, light and VHF radio.
The Route: We had to cross O'Briens Cut and the current was running through the cut then along side O'Briens Cay to the Sea Aquarium which is, coincidentally, in the same area as Johhny Depp's place.  We took a wide swing around O'Briens Cut to get through the current.  Once on the other side of the current, the motor starts to crap out on us again. 
The New Landing:  At this point, we aimed the dinghy across O'Briens Cut and headed for a cove where we could land the dinghy.  It was very pretty little place surrounded by rocks.

The New Plan:  
While Dave dug out the VHF radio to call for assistance from the Cambridge Cay hosts (or ultimately anyone who would answer us), I tried to get a glimpse of Johnny Depp's beach - first things first!  It was a beautiful day and still young - about 1:30 - so figured I had time to snoop around.  Alas, I couldn't see around the point to get a good picture.  Sorry Depp fans.
Meanwhile back on the rock......
Capn Dave is trying to rouse someone to help us and the VHF radio isn't working!  He spent about 20 minutes  on top of a rock trying to get in contact with anyone!  We could see the anchorage off in the distance but it was way to far to swim and the currents were running strong.
The Rescue:  Sea Bird, a 150+' yacht, was anchored out in an open area in the vicinity of the cut.  They, apparently, heard Dave's Pon-Pon-Pon and were able to answer our call.  A very large inflatable (I want that for my dinghy!) came over to the cove and towed us back to Spindrift.
Just another day among all the other days of the mis-adventures of Spindrift!
This evening we had visitors when Dave scraped our dinner plates overboard.  There were about 6 - 15-20 lb yellow tail snappers and one 6' shark crusing around the boat.  
They were fun to watch in the sunset.  
The shark just cruised on under the boat, side to side, then would swim off to someone else's boat and then back.  Glad I didn't take that evening dip!
Life is good!
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