Friday 31 Jan, BHS day 32: From Norman’s Cay to Shroud Cay. Dinghy trip through the mangroves and picnic on the beach.
Today is the last day UK is in the EU after 47 years. Should I be happy or should I be sad? Well, bit of both really, but we will toast to the future at 23:00 GMT today.
Back in the Bahamas, the morning is very still. Looks like another beautiful day. Mid morning, at slack high tide, we dinghy over to Pablo Escobar’s sunken plane wreck with our snorkeling gear. It’s an old DC3 (twin engine transport plane from WWII era) that crash landed in just 4 metres of water. After our last drug-running plane wreck we don’t have high expectations. But this one turns out to be brilliant for snorkeling over. The top of the fuselage is gone but otherwise still very recognizable as a complete plane, lying upright in the shallow water. The fish all around it and hiding under it are quite a sight. We snorkel around taking pics and video for quite a while, till Oana finally gets a bit too chilly.
Back on Cloudy we fly the drone. The scene over the wreck makes for very interesting viewing. Following the wreck footage, I fly the drone high up to get the usual panorama of where we are anchored. But all of a sudden the controller announces weak signal then loses complete connection to the drone… Houston, we have a problem! With no controller, I look to the sky where I estimated it would be simply hovering waiting for instructions, as it usually does when we lose connection. But instead, I see it free falling then the inevitable “splosh” as it hits the water right next to a yacht, and disappears. Bugger! Did it feel empathy with Pablo’s plane I wonder?
As quick as I can, I’m in the dinghy on a SAR mission (Search and Rescue), before I forget where I saw it ditch. For sure it’s already ruined by the salt water, but who knows. After a few minutes I find and retrieve it. It was lying upside down on the sandy bottom. After several rinses in fresh water we leave it on the deck to dry out.
The good news, we do manage to rescue the data card with all today’s footage – and amazingly it does download to the PC OK. Well, that drone didn’t last long – just over a month. We’ll have to send it back to DJI for repair or salvage. Luckily, we do have another drone, ready as a back up for just such an event. We did expect this to happen at some point.
The SAR mission has delayed us for our rendezvous with Pete and Tracy at Shroud Cay, where we had planned a picnic lunch. So we get under way as soon as possible. To avoid the shallows and reefs our route is quite torturous. At least double the distance compared to the “crow flies”. On the way they call us on VHF. They had been waiting quite some hours for us. They are going to show us the dinghy route through Shroud Cay mangroves to a beach the other side.
As soon as we have anchored and in the dinghy over to their boat, they are already in their dinghy heading ashore. We enter the creek through the mangroves. It’s not as pretty as some of the “Indian River” dinghy rides that we did in the windward island (like in Dominica) but nonetheless, very close to nature and extremely peaceful. The creeks clear blue water is very shallow with lots of turtles and the occasion lemon shark and ray.
After 2 miles of winding back and forth we end up on the east side of the island where the creek exits to the deep sea. It’s very pretty. Almost like a film set. With dinghies beached, we have snacks and a beer enjoying the scene and afternoon sun. And for once it’s nice to share such experiences with others. Life doesn’t get much tougher than this!
Late afternoon we head back, this time on another set of creeks that finally exits near our anchored yachts. It was a very nice experience. And we comment that if this area was at all developed for tourism, this place would be ruined by speeding tripper boats. It’s almost unique these days to have such places all to ourselves.
As the sun sets Pete, Tracy and friend Stuart come over to Cloudy for drinks. Tracy has brought champagne glasses and a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate Brexit. And just before 23:00 GMT (6pm local) Pete demonstrates how the Cossacks would open a bottle of champagne. Our never used machete comes out for the task. With one swift swipe with my machete he knocks the top of the bottle off (yes, breaks the neck of the bottle, still with cork in!) and quickly pours the bubbly into glasses. Well I’ve heard of pop-the-cork but this is a new party trick for me! And we toast to the future of the UK.
Then, to show continued European friendship, Oana serves us all with one of her delicious Romanian soups (ciorba), complete with pickled chili’s and sour cream. Our British guests seem to like it. I bet they wish they hadn’t left Europe now! 🙂
Early evening they return to their boat, Pearl, and we continue with a quiet evening anchored about half a mile west of Shroud Cay – which was as close as we could get in with our depth. Certainly there is no one to swing into us tonight. Nearest boat to us is Pearl, which is anchored very close to shore.
Tomorrow we will have another weather system to think about, coming in the early hours of Sunday. Time to find somewhere to hide, again.