Tuesday, 7 February 2012

We parted ways with our friends from Katarina, who took advantage of a weather window early last week and sailed down to Georgetown. Kathryn's daughter, Meredith, was scheduled to fly in from Toronto on Saturday for a one week vacation and they wanted to be there well ahead of her arrival, just to be on the safe side. We promised John and Kathryn that we would meet up in the upcoming week to spend time with the three of them, but we didn't want to rush through the Exumas just to get to Georgetown lest we miss out on the abundance of thrills they presented. 
So we stayed behind in the banks, plotting our way toward our next destination, Campus Cay. It's described in the guide book as one of the most varied and beautiful islands in the Bahamas. It sounded appealing, but after our short romance with Hawksbill Cay we were skeptical about the accuracy of that statement. We needed to find out for ourselves. So we forged through the misleading waters of the banks that separated us from this gem of an island, relying on our GPS and our new, limited skills of visually deciphering water depth ahead of the boat. We weaved about narrow channels dredged along the sandy banks, channels that on the surface didn't appear any different that the shallow waters surrounding them. With a watchful eye we slowly followed the serpentine course leading into the anchorage and after nearly running aground twice we decided we had enough. There were no other boats in the marked anchorage and we wondered if the challenging approach discouraged other cruisers from visiting. We didn't want to contemplate it too long, we simply turned around the first chance we got, and painstakingly made our way back through the watery maze. So long allegedly beautiful Campus Cay.  
For nearly a week after that we bounced around between quiet anchorages like the one at Bitter Guana Cay, a protected Blue Iguana habitat, and Black Point, the second largest settlement in the Exumas, where we could find a few fresh produce items and grab a cold beer. Each place we stop we go exploring ashore hoping to find something interesting and memorable or at least score a few coconuts. Black point had it all. Just north from the settlement, off a palm beach we found a small cemetery lot hiding beyond a low sandstone wall. The few graves we saw were small mounds of rock and conch shell. Some, encrusted with a layer of concrete, withstood the wrath of hurricanes past and bore visible, hand written marks denoting who lay there. Further up, towards the open ocean we found a geyser spewing foam and seaweed through a sink hole near the shore. Powerful surge beating against brittle sand stone cliff has found its way through a crevice and burrowed the hole from underneath. Oncoming waves now squeeze into the cliff face and climb through the hole, exploding at the surface in rhythmic spurts. 
We also befriended a few other cruisers at Black Point and spent long evenings chatting over a beer at Loraine's Cafe. The small restaurant is owned and operated by Loraine and her family, who run it on an honour system. Patrons are encouraged to fell at home, to fetch their own beer or mix their own drinks, while Loraine prepares simple, but delicious Bahamian fare. The lot of us hung around Loraine's for her Super Bowl BBQ Party sharing stories and divulging future sail plans. The next day Katarina plus one made their way back into the banks from Georgetown and together we set out to seek new adventures.

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