Sunday, April 2
Weather: extremely calm with winds less than 10 knots, much less humidity than yesterday and sunny, clear skies with mid-80s temperatures
Route: motor to Highborne Marina --> fuel up --> motor to Allan's Cay --> drop anchor and eat lunch --> dinghy to Leaf Cay --> snorkel --> dinghy around Southwest Allan's Cay --> dinghy back to the Alexian
- a delicious egg breakfast with all the trimmings
- seeing sharks again at Highborne Cay Marina
- wonderful snorkeling and seeing the Rock Iguanas near Leaf Cay
- seeing 3 Ospreys and a Bananaquit in this "Important Bird Area"
- stowing the dinghy and its motor into their positions for tomorrow's trip
- saddened that this was our last day in the Exumas
Hubby was up early to enjoy the solitude of Shroud Cay and watch the sun rise. There had been such a heavy dew last night that water was dripping into the galley through the portholes we had left open. Before leaving Shroud Cay we treated ourselves to a big breakfast of scrambled eggs with mushrooms, green pepper, green onions and salsa with oranges, juice and coffee or tea.
Despite the complicated breakfast, we were un-tethering from the mooring ball 10 minutes after listening to the 8:00 weather forecast. With hardly a whisper of air moving and very flat water it was not difficult to decide whether to sail or motor. Incredibly, the port engine was working properly, just as it had yesterday morning. This new info lead Hubby and First Mate to suspect that it failed only after heating up. This would be good information to give the Navtours mechanics.
With two working engines we arrived at Highborne Cay by 10:45. This time we used the proper protocol to request entry to the Highborne Cay Marina and were immediately instructed to pull up to the fueling station. The Marina was not busy. We had a few minutes to watch a group of fishermen cleaning a large haul of Mahi Mahi, attracting a writhing mass of Nurse Sharks with the scraps they threw into the water.
At 13:45 we motored into Allan's Cay's anchorage (with just one working engine again) and set the anchor. The guide books warned that the current here reverses with each tide so the Captain and First Mate double checked that the anchor was firmly stuck.
Lunch was a variety of finger food: cheeses, salamis, veggies, hummus, sardines, rye bread, peanut butter, crackers, apples, bananas and yoghurt. While we ate and prepared to snorkel the tide changed but the Alexian and its neighbours all held their relative positions. Knowing this the Captain was comfortable leaving the boat unmanned for a few hours.
Many Sunday tourists from Nassau were partying on the Leaf Cay beach. As we were riding in the dinghy to a snorkeling spot on the south end of Leaf Cay we saw the native Bahamian Rock Iguanas which had come out to beg for food. Even if we didn't have the whole cay to ourselves this was the best, calmest snorkeling of the trip -- even better than at Shroud Cay. Hubby and I didn't want to get back into the dinghy but 3 people were already waiting. It was our good fortune to hear that First Mate had dropped a small camera out of his pocket somewhere here and needed our help finding it. Yay! We had an extra 30 minutes in the water before First Mate found the camera. It was a win-win for all.
Next we dinghied to the south side of SW Allan's Cay looking for another snorkeling spot. While searching we were distracted by three Ospreys on a rock. Two of them seemed agitated by our presence and unwilling to fly away, as if they were guarding a nest. The cays from Allan's south to Highborne are considered "Important Bird Areas" but we never expected to get such a close-up look at these beautiful birds.
We didn't find the snorkeling spot and the tide had changed. The current was strong here. The First Mate stuck his head in the water and reported that there was not much to see. We returned to the Alexian.
Hubby did a great job of rinsing the salt water off our snorkel gear and drying it thoroughly so it would be ready to pack for the trip home. The Sunday partiers were gone. The two kayakers paddled to the island to see the iguanas up close while the rest of us relaxed on the boat for a short time. When they returned the Captain and his wife took the dinghy over for their own visit.
It was the last trip for the dinghy. Sadly it was time for the three men to tackle the difficult and perilous job of returning its motor to its place on the aft deck and winching the dinghy itself into its hanging position above the stern.
A colourful yellow Bananaquit bird dropped by to see what we might have for him to eat while we were preparing dinner. We were not really preparing dinner as much as we were combining leftover foods to create a dinner: leftover pesto pasta with added broccoli, roasted eggplant with cheese melted on top, coleslaw with the remaining cabbage, four apples, raisins and two oranges dressed with yoghurt, lime juice, orange juice and curry powder. This would be our last chance to use up the remaining dinner foods. We had no trouble finishing the after-dinner herbal teas, biscuits and chocolate.
With a half moon and some clouds, the stars were not completely visible tonight. The breeze picked up slightly but was not even close to the 15-20 knots forecasted for tomorrow. Our plan was to again motor across the Yellow Banks but we were hoping to not have to motor all the way back to Nassau.
Although the tide had changed several times without the Alexian or our neighbours dragging their anchors, the First Mate volunteered to get up 30 minutes before the next tide change at 1:00 to be sure our anchor does not work its way loose from the sandy bottom. Hubby would be up by the time the morning tide changed at about 7:00.