Legacy Sailing
Photo Gallery 72
Arrival in the Bahamas and the Exumas
The Bahamas cover a huge area but their total land area is quite small. Many of the islands are so small as to be hardly there at all. The islands of the Bahamas poke up from great shallow banks. Many of the islands are only about 20 feet tall and so become visible only a very few miles away. There is no looking for a landfall off in the far distance in the Bahamas!
Our passage over from Florida started in Marathon in the Keys. Marathon is the farthest north spot in the Key where Legacy can cross from Florida Bay (west coast of Florida) to the Atlantic side. We made a long passage from Marathon across the Gulf Stream to South Riding Rock on the edge of the shallow Great Bahama Bank. We crossed about 60 miles of shallow waters on the banks and arrived at Chub Cay for customs and immigration check-in. We moved out of the expensive marina to the nearby Berry Islands Club where we relaxed for a few days (and sat out a front) before moving on to Nassau (where we sat out a front).
Leaving Nassau we headed south to the shallow waters and small islands of the Exumas. We headed first to Allens Cay (where we sat out a front), and then Shroud Cay and on to Warderick Wells (where we sat out a couple of fronts). We then headed for Black Point (home of the best laundry in the Exumas) and then back a bit north to Staniel Cay where we stayed over New Years. After a return to Black Point for supplies and internet we made the long day sail to Elizabeth Harbor (Georgetown) on Great Exuma Island.
We hung out in Georgetown doing the usual (waiting for bad weather to pass) and then made a trip to Conception Island (documented in the next Gallery). After our return to Elizabeth Harbor for more bad weather Heather decided it was time to fly to Florida for a visit with her father. We moved the boat abou 12 miles north on Great Exuma to "the Marina at Emerald Bay." Chris and the grrlz remained aboard there while Heather flew to Florida and back.
The Berries and Nassau
After leaving Chub Cay we moved a few miles to the Berry Islands Club on Frazier's Hog Cay. The Club has a dock and a few moorings and is primarily a nightclub and restaurant frequented by locals and visitors alike.
New Providence Island, home of Nassau is first seen on the horizon when the condos and hotels start poking up. the Atlantis Resort is a marquee property. Here we see the towers of Atlantis behind the lighthouse at the entrance to Nassau harbor.
The pink towers and elaborate decorations of Atlantis dominate the view from the harbor and downtown.
Heather jokes with one of the fruit and vegetable vendors under the bridge to Paradise Island.
City Market in Nassau is supposed to be a good source for provisioning, but they are being reorganized. Combine that with the problems of shipping supplies into the islands and you get bare shelves like these. Hardly makes having a list worthwhile.
Salvador, one of the greeters at Ardastra Gardens, a wonderful small zoo we visited in Nassau.
We thought this was one of the most interesting and colorful squirrels we had ever seen!
This capybara was way bigger than we thought it would be. This guy was happily wandering around his enclosure, checking out the visitors. These guys were surprisingly solid looking with bodies the size of a medium dog.
Lory feeding is offered several times a day. Here several rainbow lories feast on a slice of apple in Heather's hand while she takes the picture with the other hand!
Chris with dueling lories both trying to score the largest piece of apple.
There were lots of flamingos wandering around the grounds, and just hanging out like flamingos do. Standing on one leg they started to wake up and walk around about 15 minutes before their 'performance.'
A few times each day is the famous flamingo show. The "drill sergeant" marches the flamingos around the arena using commands like "about face" and "forward march". All seem to have a good time.
This was an audience participation show, so here Heather gets to act like a flamingo, but she's not nearly as good at standing on one leg as they are.
Toby the cockatoo is one of the official greeters at Ardastra Gardens and offers "kisses" on command. His handler, Lexion, has worked for Ardastra Gardens for more than 50 years!
Chris and Heather have gone to the birds! Heather is holding Toby, and Salvador the blue macaw is perched on Chris' head.  
Northern Exumas -- Allen's Cay
From the top of Allen's Cay, Chris had a good view of Legacy at anchor.
At the high point of Allen's Cay (15 feet) someone had erected a bench out of driftwood and people had build several cairns. Looking east across the shallow banks one can see a sailboat headed in to the anchorage among the cays.
We took the grrlz to this small beach on Allen's Cay three or four times a day. Unlike Leaf Cay, Allen's Cay isn't inhabited by iguanas, so it was a better choice for doggie visits. Kira swims with the 'bumpee' with Legacy in the background.
Leaf Cay was practically overrun with iguanas, some of them quite bold. This guy seemed to be the king of the beach. As soon as one landed on the beach they would converge from the underbrush nearby.
From the top of Leaf Cay, we got our first good view out into Exuma Sound.
A spectacular sunset from the Allen's Cay anchorage.
Northern Exumas -- Shroud Cay
Chris hitches our lines to a mooring ball at Shroud Cay in Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. We were the only boat in this anchorage for the night.
The center of Shroud Cay is filled with mangroves and estuaries. We poked our noses into the lower reaches of this estuary, but the waters were quite shallow.
Minnow navigating from the bow of the dinghy, as usual.
Legacy on a mooring at Shroud Cay. And yeah, the water really is that color!
Northern Exumas -- Warderick Wells Cay
Looking down over the anchorage and outlying cays at Warderick Wells. The moorings are arranged in the narrow strip of deeper water through the bay. The center of the bay dries out at low tide.
The ground in the Bahamas are mostly limestone karst. Here one of the trails at Warderick Wells shows off this craggy, holey limestone which makes for difficult walking.
Heather poses on the bridge on the aptly named Causeway trail. Unlike the other cays we've been on, Warderick Wells has more sandy terrain.
There are several large holes on the island. This one is called "Martin's Hideaway. Chris climbed down the ladder to explore while Heather remained on the trail.
From the top of the low bluff along the eastern side of Warderick Wells we got a good look out at the deeper waters of Exuma Sound beyond the shallow fringing reef.
The day we 'hiked' to the top of Boo Boo Hill there were off and on showers and occasional patches of sunshine. Here we are looking northeast along the east coast of Warderick Wells.
Chris visits the cruiser souvenirs at the top of "Boo Boo Hill", at 60 feet the highest spot on the island.
We saw this cute little hermit crab right alongside the trail.
This type of curly-tail lizard is common in the Bahamas. We were surprised at the large size of this one who was double the size of those we had seen previously at Ardastra Gardens and on Leaf Cay.
Warderick Wells is crisscrossed with trails leading to various points of interest. Here Heather leaves the beach and enters the brush.
While there are not a lot of flashy flowers in evidence, the occasional bush has beautiful small blossoms like this 1/2 inch example.  
Central Exumas - Staniel Cay
The dinghy impoundment at the Staniel Cay yacht Club with its own breakwater.
The bar and restaurant at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club painted in typical bright Bahamian colors.
The Staniel Cay Yacht Club has several atractive cabins for its guests including these along the waterfront by the marina.
While we were walking about on Staniel Cay we stopped on the Government Dock and found this oallet load of phone books...there must be enough for everyone on the island to get two or three!
Alongside the street by the oldest house was this table complete with dominoes should anyone care to stop for a quick game.
Big Majors Spot is know for its feral pigs which swim out to boats to beg for scraps. We stopped by and the pigs came right out to the dinghy to see if we had brought any offerings.
On New Years Eve as a fundraiser there were three races between the Bahmian Class A sloops Lady M and Tida Wave with cruisers as crew. We went out in the dinght to watch but it was too rought to get very close.  
Georgetown and Elizabeth Harbor
Just in front of Georgetown is Kidd Harbor (named for Capt Kidd the pirate). It is quite shallow and is popular with the many shoal draft vessels in the Bahamas. One advantage of shallow water is that anchor rodes are short and vessels can anchor quite close together.
The dinghy landing at Georgetown is on the shores of Lake Victoria, a shallow lagoon connected to the sea by a narrow passage under the main street of Georgetown. One aims between two buildings and zooms through.
Looking at the entrance to Lake Victoria from the lagoon side. Incoming dinghies have the right of way. The lagoon is not very large, but the current rushes into, or out of the entry depending on the tide. When the tide is going out and the waves are blowing in it can make for a wet ride!
Once inside Lake Victoria the water is placid. Exuma Market, the big grocery, maintains a long dinghy dock and provides a hose for those needing drinking water. I'm standing at the gas station which also provides a dock for easy access by dinghy. Bars, restaurants, and businesses line the Lake, many with docks for customers.
One of the cutest boats we've seen in the Bahamas is this sea-going box named Jumbo. It is about 24 feet long and resembles a floating steam iron to our eyes. The owners, a nice German couple, are often found in the most protected anchorages, like this one here at Crab Cay.  
The Marina at Emerald Bay
In the marina at Emerald Bay we found very few boats but a lovely facility. Constructed as part of the Four Seasons resort the marina is now an orphen since the property was purchased by Sandals, who does not do marinas.
The marina is built to accommodate megayachts, and the neighborhood is too. Directly off the entrance to the marina is this impressive canal cut through a tall hill leading to an exclusive development for the ultra rich and able to accommodate their yachts at deep water docks in front of their homesites.
I took the kayak for a paddle past the ramparts and found that the canals went on for quite a distance, all cut through fairly tall hills.
At the far end of canals was a bridge that crossed a small back channel leading to the ocean.
Being in the kayak I couldn't resist paddling under the bridge and taking a peek at the sea beyond.
As the other pictures have shown the entire canal system is lined with concrete etched with 'random' boulder patters. I was surprised to come across this smiley in the wall.
Updated 1/29/2011