Bimini to Bird Cay
Since our last post in Bimini we have done a ton. We left early early Tuesday morning from Bimini en route for Bird Cay. We had 90 miles to go and we weren’t gonna get much help from the wind. It was a very long uneventful sail. At the end of it we arrived at Bird Cay dropped the hook, ate some dinner, played some Phase 10, and laid down for a looong deep deep sleep.
Bird Cay is a few miles east of Chub Cay, a popular sports fishing destination. It is a privately owned island that is currently for sale. It was originally developed in the 1940s by Francis Francis heir to the Standard Oil fortune. The island has played host to numerous kings and other celebrities. Most recently the island has been neglected. We took the dinghy over to check out the housing complex and were disappointed at what we saw. The half dozen or so servants quarters were in complete disarray and the waters close to the island suffered from lack of circulation. Some really nasty algae was growing and foul odors were abound. This once posh getaway for the ultra wealthy needs a lot of attention. Gillian and I decided the $12M price tag is far too much for what you get. We wouldn’t even begin to think about it until that was cut in half
Despite the dilapidated housing we did find some wonderful snorkeling on the southeast tip of the island. Large schools of yellowtail snapper, numerous conch, sea urchins, and beautiful reef fish clustered along the coral enjoying the warm shallow waters. We couldn’t stop reminding each other that we now really are here. And apparently it only gets better!
We spent two whole days here resting, enjoying the scenery, eating fresh conch, and completely disconnected from the world! On the evening before we were leaving to head to Nassau, we got some company. Three boats arrived about the same time. Two of them were headed to Nassau, Good Omens and Julie Anne. We poached the weather off Good Omens since we couldn’t get our sat phone to work. The next day we all pulled up anchor and set out at the same time.
Before we left Bimini I used the Internet there to get in touch with our contact in Nassau to let her know we would be there on Friday. Sheree is a college friend of my mothers and I have been talking to her for the past 6 months. Her father was a world class sailor and she was raised a sailor herself. Not only is she an experienced sailor and boater overloaded with tips and information, but she lives in Nassau! How convenient for us!
Pulling into the busy Nassau harbor was quite a trip. Before we could enter we had to contact Nassau Harbor Control on channel 16 to request permission to enter. After a brief exchange with them we were granted permission and we were all set to enter. As we entered the west end of the harbor the amount of traffic was out of control. The west end is where all the cruise ships are docked. As we are coming around the corner we have cruise ships in front of us, Royal Bahamas Defense Force power boats zipping around, giant ferries full speed passing us, sailing vessels trotting in, jet skis roaring by, and all kinds of music blasting and people partying. It was a complete overload. After a stressful entrance, we motored under the bridges from New Providence Island to Paradise Island and ended up at the Nassau Harbor Club.
Sheree and her husband Richard had invited us to stay with them at their house for a few nights. We were thrilled with the invitation because it has been a very long time since we had slept in a king size bed in the AC. I was able to get ahold of them using Skype on my iPhone and they came and picked us up and took us back to their house. We hadn’t showered since Monday in Bimini so first things first we showered up then headed off to the Poop Deck for dinner. Our accommodations and hosts at the Pyfrom Manor were spectacular. When we were shown our quarters we about lost it. A cool 72 degrees blew from the vents, the bed was a giant king size cloud of comfort, TV with hundreds of channels waited for us to view, the bathroom was wonderfully large, and every last inch of the room was spotless. The Pyfroms really know how to treat guests. After our delicious dinner at the poop deck we made it back to the house just in time before Gillian and I fell asleep standing up.
The next morning we awoke to the aroma of pancakes drifting in from the kitchen. I know, they really are the best people in the world. We got fueled up on pancakes and started planning our next six weeks out with their help. Gillian’s brother is getting married on Union Island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on June 8th. We were hoping to make it there, but we couldn’t accelerate our schedule so we are going to fly. We have to juggle this with paying proper attention to the Exumas and making it to Luperon before hurricane season kicks into high gear. We have it figured out now though. We will spend the next two weeks in the Exumas then fly from Nassau to St. Vincent. We’ll be there for two weeks then fly back to Nassau and head straight for Luperon. That’s the plan anyway.
The rest of the day our tour guides Richard and Sheree took us all around the island from east to west. They showed us Palm Cay where they keep their boat (and where we will keep ours while we are gone to the wedding), taught me how to drive on the left side, took us to Goodfellow farms for lunch, to Stuart Cove where flipper was filmed, and to the US vs Costa Rica beach soccer match. The Americans won and headed for the finals the next day!
The next day I tried to put some of my skills to use by working on their wifi network. Their house is made of cement and rebar so the radio waves have a tough time penetrating. I got another access point into the mix so we’ll see how that does. Then it was off to the finals of the beach soccer. The Americans won! Now the real challenge for me was to begin. They let us borrow their car so we could get around town and check out paradise island on Monday. I had my first solo driving experience from their house to the harbor club. With Gillian’s help navigating we made it safely to the harbor club and parked for the night. Whew. No big deal.
The Atlantis / Small World Pt. X
Monday we headed to Atlantis. Gillian had seen on Facebook that a college friend of hers was on a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. It just so happened they were going to be in Nassau at the same time as us! We made plans to meet at the Coral Towers at 11 am, but we didn’t find each other. Without our communication devices its really hard to inform people when your plans change. What a bummer but that wasn’t going to stop us from enjoying what Atlantis had to offer. We headed to the aquariums and saw some incredible fish and sea life. Then we went to lunch at the BBQ place where they served us way too much food. Great tasting but way too much. So it was off to the beach to let our lunch settle down. When we arrived we were bombarded by young Bahamians trying to rent their jetskis to us. A little haggling but no deals could be made. Oh well, it was fun. Once we were cooked we headed back to the “mainland” to drop off the car with the Pyfroms and retire for the evening.
We have some work to do today and tomorrow to get ready for the next two weeks in the Exumas. We don’t plan to have Internet so there probably won’t be any posts for a while. You can keep track of us on the Map tab though. That stays up to date with our current location. This was a long one, but as usual a lot has happened since we last checked in!