Sampson Cay to Little Pipe Cay 5/30-5/31/10
We left you as we were getting under way from Dead Man's Cay to Sampson Cay.
It was a short trip, with only a couple of directional changes, in calm
water and a light breeze. Our friends with whom we're buddy-boating left
before us, and as we attempted to raise Sampson Cay Yacht Club, they hailed
Apparently the US Memorial Day, unusually falling on a weekend, allowing for
the actual celebrations in the US honoring fallen military personnel to
occur during the 3-day national holiday (don't get me started on the
dilution of our national holidays corrupted by 3-day weekends!), is also
some national holiday (May 30) in the Bahamas.
Because of that, the dock at Sampson Cay was closed early, to open again the
following morning. However, the significant reason for stopping here,
rather than at, for example, Staniel Cay, was to top up on diesel fuel and
take on some water.
We're in no danger whatever of running out of diesel, but, contrary to
expectations, last year, when we fueled and watered here, the metered water
line we had was obviously defective, as we were charged for only 11 gallons,
when we're confident we took on close to 200. Whether that was an
accommodation for our having bought fuel or just a circumstantial error (the
checkout lady didn't bat an eye at 11 gallons of water, so I presume it was
expected), we don't know, but we hoped to have the same advantage this time.
The norm in the Bahamas is to have to pay for water, at anywhere from free,
albeit jugged (take in jugs, fill, dinghy back to the boat, rinse, repeat)
at the Exuma Markets dinghy dock in George Town, to, in Marsh Harbour, 20
cents a gallon, to, more commonly, 50 cents per gallon, as was the nominal
price at Sampson Cay. We used more than had been our norm in our first,
larger tank, and so, erring on the side of caution, lest we run out in the
boonies, thought to fill that tank here, not knowing how long it would take
before we were back in Marsh Harbour.
However, our friends informed us that Sampson was totally out of diesel,
and, as circumstances would have it, the fuel dock filled with a couple of
very large boats between the time we arrived and when we went to bed. That
would preclude our going to the dock, even if it were just for water, so we
resolved to look elsewhere up the chain.
We'll be moseying up the Exuma Chain in what looks like the return to the
trade winds - a steady E-SE breeze - which should be kicking in at this time
of year. First, however, water or not, we needed to replenish our eggs,
down to a 4-day supply, and wanted to revisit the walk we took last year, to
the south end of the beach, passing the SCYC's cottages, and exploring the
nature walks offshooting the main road.
WiFi in the area has changed as well. As was the case in our most recent
logs, usually we can find an open site, but the Exumas have been very well
populated with hotspots - paid internet access points - under ExumaWiFi,
now, and SCYC has gone to that mode of distribution, rather than the free,
open, site they used to maintain. It's a satellite based system, so, as was
the case last year in Lorraine's Café in Black Point, the speeds are similar
to the old ISDN network. Very much faster than dialup, but orders of
magnitude slower than broadband, and, depending on how valuable it is to
you, expensive, or just a cost of cruising to access.
In Warderick Wells, last year, there was a site which I THINK (could be
mistaken) was related somehow to the national park there. Exuma WiFi, like
that site, is not only time-based, but bandwidth-based. However, EWF has
more than double the allowed megabytes of usage (use it or lose it in the
days allowed; exceed your limit in the time allowed, and you're cut off) at
So far, we've not had to use them, but that may well change as we move into
unpopulated areas. Certainly, as I type this, anchored off SCYC, there's no
usable site other than EWF. Costs are fairly tyical - $10 a day, with slight
reductions as you move up in numbers of days, along with slight increases in
daily bandwidth, as well. If you sign up for a multiple-days (1, 3, 7, 30,
e.g.) contract, the same rules apply. Once you log on, the clock starts
running, along with the bandwidth meter, and once either limit is reached,
Last year, we were horrified to learn that our first day's (out of 3)
allotment (at that time; it's double that, and better in a 3-day, in EWF) of
100MB had been totally consumed by Lydia's 3 hour session in Facebook. Thus
my feeling of anathema toward any web-based activity, as the entirety,
including, sometimes, large files sent to us by friends, of my email-based
activity would have used perhaps 2-3MB, not to mention the greater speed.
It's that type of situation, along with, occasionally, marginal signals
wherever we may be, which makes web-based stuff the bane of my on-line
existence :**/) It also explains why those not on this log list directly
(through the Yahoogroups link in the signature line) usually don't see some
of my posts until some time after the fact.
Under way, at sea, and in totally unpopulated areas, such as the Jumentos
were recently, I can use my Ham radio email service, winlink, to (if you
thought dialup was slow, wait until you try HF radio!) laboriously mail the
file to my son, who then posts it to the log for me. The other places it
appears have to wait until I'm back in internet range. If you're not on the
log list directly, and you don't see this until some time in the future
compared to the dates, that's what's happened...
Monday May 31 dawned, but we luxuriated for another hour before staggering
out of bed at 7:30, past our preferred arising of 6 or so, in order that we
get to hear Chris Parker's forecast, which starts at 6:30. I'm about
worthless until I've had some coffee and a slug of OJ in me, so, by the time
I'd hand-ground the coffee, boiled the half-gallon of water, and pried my
eyelids into a more functional position, it was after 8AM.
Thus having my morning started badly, I started copying some DVDs our
friends had loaned us. I managed 5 before we decided to go in for a walk
and a grocery reconnoiter. Sampson Cay Yacht Club, despite being entirely
out of fuel for another week or so, is still home to some very large power
boats, and so maintains full restaurant service, and, by Bahamian standards,
a pretty well stocked grocery store.
So, at about 11, after I finish the 5th DVD copy, off we go to SCYC,
providing taxi service to our friends after returning the copied disks.
It's a very short jaunt, and we're soon ashore. A nice walk to the south
end of the island provided the expected marvelous view, a great breeze and a
gazebo with shade and chairs for conversation.
That same walk back brought us to the store where we replenished our eggs
and bread, along with some onions and garlic, essentials for most of what
Lydia cooks, and splurged on an ice cream sandwich. My ice cream fetish is
unfulfilled most of the time, so whenever we have the chance, I grab one
:**)) I did, however, resist the $9.50 package of Oreos, at slightly more
than $.25 per cookie, and, at that, only 80% the size of the typical $2-3
packages found in the US!
We walked up as a power boat was leaving. They'd trapped our dinghy under
the dock, but it would be of no event when they left. I assisted them
maneuver off as they were sandwiched between two other very large motor
yachts, helping them avoid putting their outboards into one of them by
swinging their bow as they backed. Once they were out of the way, it was an
easy matter to retrieve our dinghy, and deposit our passengers on their boat
before we returned to Flying Pig to stow the groceries.
A quick lunch of our usual Zone Bars and we were prepared to make ready for
departure. We sailed off our anchor under genoa only in a light breeze at
2PM, heading 343*T in a blazing 5 apparent knots of wind coming at 150* to
our port stern. Unfortunately, as we left the lee of the island, which had
deflected our wind direction a bit, we had to turn downwind somewhat to keep
the sail full, so we were soon at only 261*T as we made our way out to
our first waypoint. That generated an exhilarating 3.1-4.0 knots, but as we
turned north and started to sheet in (tighten the sail) the genoa at 2:25,
we found ourselves eventually reaching a beam reach position with the wind
at 90* on our starboard.
Rewarded, we saw the wind climb just a bit, to 8-10 knots apparent, and we
were soon making 5.0-6.0 knots. We'd have put up the main if it were a
longer trip, but, as it was, we very quickly reached our turn-in point. That
put the wind exactly on our nose, and, to boot, it was a twisty run up the
channel to our expected anchorage off Pipe Cay. Accordingly, we reluctantly
engaged the services of the "Iron Genny" - Perky, our faithful Perkins
4-154, with his muscular 62HP pushing our 40,000 pound home, and twisted our
way up the cut.
"Unfortunately" (not really, of course - they were guiding us between shoals
and reefs, based on their trip here last year), Bold Endeavour took up
essentially all the anchoring room there was given the wind circumstances.
I jumped in the dinghy and, on our handheld radio, called off the depths
with our handheld depth sounder, hopeful that we could find somewhere nearby
to anchor. Despite having plenty of depth, there wasn't enough swing room
(recall that the more anchor chain you have out, the more real estate you
cover when the wind shifts) for comfort.
We turned back out to our entrance point, following the track the
chartplotter had laid down, and threw out the anchor in about 9' of water at
close to low tide. However, we'd be going back, with the wind, into water
which was several feet deeper, so I put over 100' of chain into the water.
Each successive length I put out made the boat swing sideways to the wind,
and I was gratified that the chain yanked us back to straight into the wind,
with the chain straightening on each length, so we were well hooked.
Snubber on, we settled in for a read, as the slack tide had already arrived,
making our proposed snorkeling expedition, should we have gone at that time,
shortly become one with swift current.
As it is, however, the next day's slack water would be well into the
morning, allowing sun at nearly zenith for better illumination, and plenty
of warmth to make us comfortable in the water. At that, my handheld depth
sounder also showed that we were at nearly 87*F of water, so it would be
refreshing, but not chilling :**)) - and, should we get chilled, the warm air
would soon fix us right up.
We're close to an extensive sand bar where we dropped the hook, so, despite
a great breeze of 10-14 knots, enough to generate some electricity to keep
our very-nearly-full batteries topped up, the fetch has no legs, so to
speak, and there's a small chop of about 1'- which is closely enough spaced
that Flying Pig barely moves above it. There ARE some benefits to having a
heavy, "slow," boat!
Around us on Pipe Cay we see what we assume is an example of extreme wealth,
with a heliport, complete with wind sock, and a few houses, with solar
panels covering most of the south-facing sides helped, we presume, by a wind
farm we see not far off. There's also some major construction going on,
based on the size of the crane and other equipment we see nearby, as well,
so, perhaps, this area is being developed. It certainly looks private,
however, and, while we've not yet explored to see, there appear to be some
signs on the beach, expected to inform potential explorers that they're not
We'll talked about having PBJs for dinner ashore after some exploration,
saving the effort and fuel for cooking for another day. We're still working
on a tasty rye bread loaf we bought recently, which makes PBJs very
interesting to say the least. However, sloth overcame us, as we'd have to
make those preparations, get into the dinghy, motor around, hoping to find
something interesting before the sun went down, so we abandoned that
Instead, Lydia's attacking the new onions and garlic, accompanied by some of
the enormous carrots native to this area and other veggies from the frig,
for a stir-fry. Having just done a lot of movie transferring into our
"movie of the night" folder in my computer, we'll also splurge with all this
wind power and watch a movie.
So, with the sun going lower, and the breeze going higher, we'll leave you
at this time to enjoy our evening. If you care to see our twisty-turnies,
and the reefs and shoals we maneuvered around, click on
Please wait for redirect
and then click the hybrid view. If you
zoom in, the resolution in this area is quite good, and you'll see where we
Until next time, Stay Tuned
Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to
make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
its hand. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in Illusions - The Reluctant Messiah)