Kathy having morning tea

Voyages of the Sailing Vessel SeaSpace

Brandon and Kathy Jones

Brandon at Allens Cay


Sampson and Staniel Cays

Black Point

Georgetown

Thunderball Grotto

North to Coral Harbor

February 2005

The Exumas

Sampson and Staniel Cays

Sampson Cay Club

After being at anchor or on a mooring for a week, we decided to go into a marina for a day to do laundry and buy groceries. When we pulled into the Sampson Cay Club ( www.SampsonCayClub.com) we thought that this was an upscale marina. Then when we found out how expensive they were, we knew for sure. But we would only be here for one or two days - wrong. The weather report called for a strong front to come through in a few days; and the marina was starting to fill up. So we decided to stay in order to make sure that we had a spot to ride out the rough weather.

Since we would be there for awhile, we decided to explore the area. We took the dinghy to Staniel Cay (about 2 1/2 miles of somewhat rough water). While Sampson only has the marina on it, Staniel is a real town with stores, a church, a school, etc. We checked out the "yacht club" ( www.StanielCay.com - not as upscale as the pictures make it look), the school and the airport. I didn't know that DC-3s were still flying.

On the way back we stopped to see the beach where the pigs come out to your boat for a hand out.

Staniel Cay YC and Houses

Dinghy on Allens Cay

DC-3 at Staniel Cay airport

Swimming pig

Swimming pig

Back on Sampson, we were starting to get bored, but we did get together with friends from two other boats every night. And one day we watched two 125 foot mega-yachts come in and dock. They were quite a sight at night. And the front did finally come in, only a day late. It did blow very hard for a couple of days.

125 foot yachts

Yachts at night

Wind in palm trees

Black Point, Galliott Cut

Sailing to Black Point

A week after going into Sampson's, we finally left. The wind was still blowing us up against the dock and we were between two boats, so the dockmaster had to pull us away from the dock with his power boat.

We sailed from Sampson Cay to Black Point Settlement on Great Guana Cay. It was only about 10 miles but we had a great sail - for a change we didn't have to motor. It was also nice to get away from the expensive marina (although we miss the internet connection). Black Point Settlement is really a town - not a marina with tourist facilities. There are 20 or 30 boats anchored here. We know several of the people as we met them in other anchorages.

Blow Hole at Black Point

In the afternoon we explored the island (including a blow hole where the water from the ocean waves comes up through a hole in the cliffs). Our friend Bob from Zippidee Du took this picture of his wife Marilyn at the Blow Hole. The second night at Black Point we went to a cruiser's dinner at Lorraine's Cafe - the best known of the local restaurants. About half of the boats were there.

After being at Black Point for two days, we decided that we would go on to Georgetown. We had been debating whether to go since we didn't want to take a chance on getting stuck there and not being able to get back north in time for our flight back home. As a first step towards Georgetown, we sailed from Black Point to Galliot Cut, just south of Farmer's Cay. The plan is to go out this cut into Exuma Sound (the ocean) the next day and head south to Georgetown.

Georgetown

At 7:30 AM on 2-10-2005 we headed out of Galliot Cut and turned south for Georgetown. There was no wind, so we motored the whole way and the trip was uneventful. Even the entry into Georgetown Harbor, which can be quite tricky with reefs guarding the entrance, went smoothly, inspite of the navigational aids in the chart books such as pink house with white roof that trees have grown up over and some palm tress that were somewhere. We made it in just fine, but it did get shallow at times.

This is a strange place. A lot of cruisers spend the winter here. In March there are as many as 300 to 400 boats anchored here to participate in the cruiser's regatta. There are not that many now, but there are still a lot. The cruising guide describes this anchorage as follows - "A beautiful and spacious sheltered basin attracting a large collection of cruising boats. There are daily volleyball games, yoga, beach walks, tai chi and a cruising net on channel 68 giving news, weather and announcements of the days activities." Kathy thinks it is just like overnight camp for adults.

Exuma Sound

Small part of Georgetown Harbor

Well, we aren't participating in everything, but we did go to "vollyball beach" to meet other cruisers and had lunch and "Kalik" (beer made in the Bahamas) at their beach side restaurant called "Chat and Chill", a very appropriate name. We climed the hill to look out into Exuma Sound on one side and down into the harbor on the other side. The picture on the right shows just a very small section of one of the five or six large anchorages that are here. While we were there, the boat count in all anchorages was 275. In March it can grow to 400. SeaSpace is in the very middle of this picture.

Dinghy Dock

We have taken the dinghy the 2 miles across the harbor to get groceries, etc. several times. When the water is rough we get very wet. This dinghy dock behind the market usually has 20 or 30 dinghies tied up to it. We really appreciate our watermaker everytime we dinghy in as there is one section of the dock reserved for dinghies filling their water jugs with RO water to take back to their boats to fill their tanks. It is quiet a chore and can take quiet a few trips depending on the size of your tanks.

Name at night

Kathy and Brandon at night

One night after we came back from a party on another boat, friends who had been there with us took pictures to show us how the SeaSpace name showed up when a light was shown on it. It let them find their boat easily as it was next to SeaSpace. We have always been glad that we chose to use reflective lettering for the name.

On our last day in Georgetown we climbed to the top of Monument Hill to get another view of the harbor on one side and Exuma Sound on the other. Monument Hill is just down from hamburger beach, which is just down from volleyball beach, which is down from sanddollar beach where we were anchored. Here are shots of the hill, the sound, and the anchorages:

Monmument Hill

Exuma Sound

Georgetown Harbor

Georgetown Harbor

Georgetown Harbor

In front of Volleyball Beach

Thunderball Grotto

After a week in Georgetown, we headed back north, spent the night at Galliot Cut and then went on to the Staniel Cay area. Here we anchored behind the island that contains Thunderball Grotto. It is named this because part of the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot here in the sixties. Later parts of Splash and of Never Say Never Again were filmed here.

At low tide you can snorkel into the grotto (cave) and look up to see the sun streaming down through holes in the cave. There are lots of fish because the snorklers feed them. We both tried out our new digital underwater housings for our cameras for the first time. No really great shots, but some memories to savor. The last two pictures below are Kathy's. These were her very first underwater shots. She came up complaining that nothing stays still in the water. The surf is pushing you around, the fish are swimming, and you are supposed to take a picture! Right!

Grotto Entrance

Grotto Entrance Underwater

Grotto Entrance from Inside

Grotto ceiling

Sponges

Juvenile Blue Tang

Kathy framing a shot

Kathy's Christmas Tree Worm

Kathy's Sponge

North to Coral Harbor

By this time (late February), we were about ready to head for Coral Harbor (on New Providence island, were Nassau is located). We would leave SeaSpace there while we flew home to visits family and friends and go on our annual ski trip to Beaver Creek.

First we moved around the corner from Thunderball Grotto to Big Major's Spot. This is still basically at Staniel Cay. The anchorage at Thunderball was problematic with wind from one direction and current from another. This made for a very rolly polly stay. From Big Major's we were able to dinghy over and snorkel in the grotto one more time.

Next we moved a little further to Sampson Cay (anchored out, not in the expensive marina). We met with some friends here who we hadn't seen since November in Melbourne and had a delightful dinner with them on the island. They were heading south to Georgetown while we were heading north.

Highborne Cay

Upsidedown Jellyfish

Sharks

Next we made a major move all the way up to Highborne Cay, a 7 hour run. We stayed there for several days snorkeling, relaxing and waiting for a weather window before moving on. While snorkeling, we took more underwater pictures. We saw an upsidedown jellyfish (the picture on the left). We also saw a large number of nurse sharks and rays around the fish cleaning pier (near where we snorkled).

Kathy's first fish photo

Kathy Relaxing

Brandon's feather duster worms

A place to relax

What an idyllic place!

A place to watch the ocean

Coral Harbor

On March 3rd we finally left Highborne and made the last leg north to Coral Harbor. It was a long day as our autopilot went out and we had to hand steer all day. On March 7th we closed up the boat and flew to Houston.

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C. Brandon Jones
email: Brandon "at" cbjones.info
updated May 23, 2005