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March 26, 2005

Cat Island and back to the Exumas

We topped up with water at Staniel Cay and headed out to Cat Island on March 17th. It was a nice sail across the Exuma Sound and we were anchored in the south side of the bight of Cat by mid afternoon. Cat Island is the site of the highest point (200 feet) in the Bahamas and is where Catholic Priest Father Jerome built his retirement home “The Hermitage”. It is a fantastic site with 360 degree views. The Hermitage is a stone house that looks like a large cathedral from the beach. Only as you climb the trail to the site do you realize that the structure is actually quite small. You have to duck to get in the doors and some of the rooms do not have full headroom. It was a crystal clear day and beautiful weather so we spent several hours at the site enjoying the setting. Another boating couple from “Dancing Downwind” joined us as visitors to the site.
On the 20th we and Dancing Downwind left the bight of Cat and motored across very calm smooth water to Little San Salvador Island – about 35 miles. The first 10 miles we were in 20 feet of water and it was so clear we could almost count the grains of sand on the bottom. There were occasional coral heads with fish which we could se clearly as we passed over them and Sue spotted a Southern Sting Ray. I saw a Gar (a pencil thin long fish) jump out of the water ahead and dance across the water for several hundred feet like a flying fish. This was a first for me. When we got to Littke San Sal, we anchored at the northwest corner of the beautiful beach that is part of the Cruise Liner day stop resort. The Holland American liner “Nordendam” was there when we arrived but gathered up its hoard of tourists and left at the end of the day. We went ashore with our friends from Dancing Downwind and walked the beach and through the now deserted resort area. It is quite a setup and has a permanent staff of over 20 people who run and maintain the facility.
We left Little San Sal the next day and motor sailed back across the Exuma Sound to Staniel Cay where we filled up with diesel and water. Since then we have worked our way back north to the Park HQ at Warderick Wells and got here on the 23rd. Sue and I volunteered to work at the Park one day. We have been doing boat chores, visiting with other boaters, reading and snorkeling. It is a very nice place to just hang out and relax.
Tomorrow, we have organized a potluck Easter dinner at the Park HQ with all the boaters who want to show up. The Park has donated a big ham as the entrée and we should have a nice variety of side dishes and deserts to round out the meal. These are always a lot of fun and tomorrow should be no exception.
From here we will move north on Wednesday. On Thursday we will cross to Nassau to the Nassau Harbor Club marina. Sue will again baby sit Omega while I return to NJ for the Fresh Creek annual stockholders board of directors meetings on Monday. I am planning to stay with my oldest daughter Elizabeth on Saturday and Sunday to celebrate my 65th birthday. I am also staying an extra day to do personal business and return to Nassau on Wednesday.
From Nassau the “plan” is to cross to Royal Island, Eleuthera and then north to Marsh Harbor in the Abacos. Our Daytona Beach friends Chuck Ellenwood and Kathy Shultz are working out plans to join us for a few days there but this is not finalized yet. We will jump off for the crossing back to the States from the Abacos but don’t have a time frame for that yet other than late April or early May.

Posted by Dick at 12:44 PM