Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Keys in the Cays

Within two hours of saying good-bye to the Macdonalds, the Keys were on the boat and we were heading towards Volleyball Beach to our anchorage for the night.  We have had a lovely time exploring the Exumas with all of our family and friends and so it was great to be able to treat the Keys to some fabulous places in the Exuma Cays.

Chat and Chill

We had fun swimming around Georgetown (although it was a bit disconcerting when the boat next to us pulled a shark out of the water while we were enjoying gin and tonics on the deck).

Swimming is nice in Georgetown but it is exquisite in the quiet anchorages along the Exuma chain.  Don and Pat had us in the habit of swimming in the morning and the afternoon so it was easy to carry on that way with the Keys.  It is amazing to find yourself in ten feet of water and be able to pick out shells on the bottom.

Synchronized Swimming


So the Keys were able to see Georgetown, Rudder Cay, the Majors (where pigs will swim out to your dingy for food), the park at Warderick Wells, Hawksbill Cay, the west coast of the infamous Norman’s Cay and Nassau. The seas and the direction of the winds were perfect and we enjoyed some of our best days of sailing.

George and Glen
Enjoying the View
Exuma Parks

Our last day with the Keys was a doozy.  We left Norman’s Cay for the trip to Nassau in relatively good conditions, however as the day progressed, the wind increased and the seas grew from ripples to six foot rollers.  We were maintaining incredible speeds but it was becoming increasingly lumpy.  We crossed the Yellow Banks in seas that made it difficult to see the coral heads.  We crossed our fingers that we weren’t near anything dangerous.  Once across the Banks, George spotted a dolphin and despite the fact that the boat was pitching and rocking, George, Deb and Pam made their way to the bow to watch him play in the bow wave.  While we bounced through big waves and big winds, the fishing line screamed and soon we landed a two pound jack.


So, dear reader, you might think that the day was full enough… it gets better.  As we neared the entrance channel to Nassau’s harbour, thirty small sailboats were engaged in a regatta which meant we had to change course or enter the race.


We changed course.  Coming into Nassau Harbour the wind at our back was still thirty knots.  We coasted up to the marina but then had to dock in that wind.  The dockmaster was unavailable and so Captain Chaos performed brilliantly bringing the bowsprit close enough to the dock for the courageous Admiral Pam to JUMP onto the dock and secure the bow.  Deb and George watched in wonder as Pam, single handedly (with the help of a Bahamian bystander) wrestled the Blue Pearl onto the dock.  Beers for all.

We made a quick run to Potter’s Cay for conch fritters and conch salad and then returned to the boat to settle in for the evening.  Realizing that the Keys had not tasted cracked conch, Glen and George went back to Potter’s Cay to buy some for dinner.

And now, dear reader, is when the ship hit the fan.

Walking back with cracked conch in hand, Glen and George decided to take a short cut along a poorly lit path.  Unknown to Glen and George, two young Bahamians were approaching them from behind.  One of them punched George on the back and yelled, “Give me your f*cking money!”  The rugby player and the hockey player reacted differently than the would-be muggers expected.  There was cursing, yelling, chasing and violent kicking with flip flopped feet.  The vice-principal in them both surfaced and they yelled at the muggers to get to the office and wait for the wrath of Mrs. Fowler.  The young bucks fled, leaving George and Glen wide-eyed, full of adrenaline and wondering what to do next.  We suspect that in later years the story will be embellished with knives, guns and drugs, and the $6 carried by George was a fat billfold of thousands, but just then that was enough excitement.  We have been warned about the crime in Nassau and we have now seen it first hand.   Although scary, it was not near enough to mar an otherwise perfect cruise.

Moving with Murphy the Dingy

So… the Keys are on their way home and so are we.  Berry’s, Freeport, Florida, Brunswick… Abbotsford.


  1. Unless there is credible witness to the tall tale of those two fighting off marauding islanders in the dark in sandals (and most likey full of rum), I will suspend belief.........

  2. You do have some wild adventures!!! Love reading about them!

  3. You sure taught those two young thugs a lesson they won't soon forget. Are you sad that you will be on the homeward leg now, and just how long will the homeward trek take? You may still be gone another month or two.

  4. Rogie, it looks like those two punks picked on the wrong two guys. Nothing like a karate kick with flip flops. All kidding aside I am sure it was a little frightening.

    What a way to spend time with your Grandson. It must have been great to see Jen, Luke and Jackson and I bet Jen & Luke appreciated some free time with Grandma & Grandpa babysitting.

    Canuck fever has hit Vancouver as we move on to the second round vs Chicago.

    After 40 years without a Cup, could this be the year?

    Love reading about your adventures.



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