Wednesday 5 Feb, BHS day 37: Snorkeling Dundas water caves and attempting kiting in Pipe Cays.
After breakfast Ian comes over to see what charts we have for him. When Cloudy originally sailed from the HR factory in Sweden to Lanzarote, the previous owner had every admiralty chart possible for the passage. Ian is sailing east to the Azores, Portugal and up to UK this summer. So we’re glad the charts have found a useful home.
Soon after Ian leaves, both Pearl and Mahina depart for Staniel Cay. And we are not long behind them. But as it’s dead low tide I do a quick depth survey in the dinghy, armed with mobile depth sounder and the iPad for navigation. Once satisfied we can make it out OK, we weave Cloudy through the narrow passages between shallows and reefs, and on into the deep water. Then turn north to gain access to the bank via Conch Cut. With the onshore easterly winds, it was 2 pretty rolly miles as we motor passed Compass Cay.
Once into the cut we spot Pearl anchored in the northern bay of Fowl Cay. So we go and anchor next to them and take the dinghy over to the Rocky Dundas, where there are water caves. It’s very choppy as we tie up to one of the small buoys laid for dinghies. Last time we came to check out the caves it was high tide and the entrances were covered. This time, at low tide, we can snorkel into the cave entrances with about 1/2m to spare above our heads. It’s a bit daunting entering the cave, especially for Oana, because the waves are surging in as we swim through into the dark entrance.
Once inside we are rewarded. The cave opens upwards into a huge dome with a round opening to the sky. Lots of stalactites and stalagmites and some lovely coloured rocks. Very interesting. The swim back out against the oncoming waves is equally challenging, but visually (through our masks) much nicer to be coming out into the light compared to entering into the dark!
While Oana dries out on the dinghy I snorkel around a while longer, with Stu and Pete. Lots of sea life but the visibility is not the best.
On the way back we stop off at the beach next to where we are anchored. There is what looks like an Islander twin engined plane crash landed close to the beach. There’s a big sign saying private, no trespassing and beware of the dogs but we land the dinghy and take a look anyway. The propeller tips are all bent back, the nose wheel is missing and the fuselage is resting on the sand, but the two wing under carriages are down and not broken. The door to the cabin is not locked so we take a look inside. Honestly it doesn’t look like it’s been there long. All leather seats and full instrumentation is still there intact. All sandy, but little sign of corrosion on anything. My goodness, the rest of the Caribbean was dominated by wrecked boats, yet all we have seen in Bahamas is wrecked aircraft! This is the third one for us. Very odd.
Back at Cloudy we make coffee then up anchor and head off onto the bank, leaving Pearl still at anchor. Once onto the bank we turn SE for 4 miles before turning back into the islands again. This time we wriggle our way in-between Pipe and Little Pipe Cays, where we had been on the dinghy yesterday. Behind Little Pipe Cay there is just enough room for one deep draft yacht to anchor.
We just traveled 5 miles to get here, yet we are only 1.2nm south of where we started out! But it was worth it, the surroundings are beautiful and I’m determined to kiteboard in the channels of perfectly flat water, in-between the sand banks.
So we head to the closest sand bank, anchor the dinghy and blow up my largest kite, a 17sqm. This is the same kite I last used in Union Island in the Grenadines, two years ago. I had an air leak then, which I had to mend. And sadly this time too, the inflated tube soon goes limp. Damn it!! It seems kites don’t last long inside hot boats 🙁 So I go back to Cloudy to get my next size down, a 12sqm. But in the end decide not to bother inflating this one. The wind really is not enough for it.
Disappointed, we go back to Cloudy and pack it all away again. Pfffff. What a faff for nothing. And later, as we eat dinner, I’m even more disappointed as I see three other kites having a great time just where I wanted to be. Maybe we’ll come back here in 2 days, when the wind is due to increase.
At sunset we are joined by a catamaran. Shame to lose our solitary anchorage, but on the other hand it’s somehow nice to know another boat is nearby. Reassuring us that we were not crazy to anchor in such tight conditions!
In the evening we are treated to bright moonlight, that illuminates the sand banks like white cloth does to Florescence lamps. And following the last few social evenings we have a relaxing evening on our own again.