Thursday, December 19, 2013

Long Island Interlude–White Cay Pirate Retreat

Posted by Scot

Monashee sitting in pirate waters (movie pirates, that is).
After spending a week knocking out boat projects in preparation for the next leg of our journey, we are pretty much ready to move on.  It has been a wonderful month in Georgetown, but if we stay much longer, we are at risk of falling prey to the “Chicken Harbour” syndrome, which traps a lot of cruisers in Georgetown, never to leave.

Unfortunately, we still have two packages en route to us from Florida.  It might not have been too wise to order boat parts this close to Christmas.  We aren’t sure when they will actually arrive, but we are hoping it will be before the end of the week.

Is that Jack Sparrow and Will Turner sword fighting?

Anyway, since we are all set up and ready to move, we figured that instead of hanging out in Georgetown waiting, we should head out and explore some more of the islands nearby.  And the weather this week is cooperating, with a few calm days that will allow us to make our way east toward Long Island.  Normally, this would be an uphill bash against the prevailing wind, but with southeast winds to start, followed by calm weather, it looked like a good time to go.

Buried treasure.  The treasure being the beach.
We were originally planning to head out on Monday, but by Sunday morning Sara and I were really itching to move, so we looked at each other and said “Let’s go!”.  That is the beauty of living on a boat.  We finished up a few last minute chores, slipped our mooring, and off we went.

Looking for sea turtles to strap to their feet.
Our first destination en route to Long Island was White Cay.  White Cay is a small island with huge sand banks extending out either side that are dry at low tide.  It is also purportedly the site where parts of “Pirates of the Caribbean” was filmed.  Exactly which scenes was a topic of much debate amongst our crew for the entire trip over.

Is that the ghost crew of the Black Pearl coming ashore?
The sail to White Cay was by far the best upwind trip we have had yet.  The wind sat at about 30 to 45 degrees off our nose the whole way.  Normally, this would mean a miserable close hauled trip into big waves, with all the accompanying bashing, bouncing, and nauseated kids.  Today, though, since the wind had just switched around to southeast from several days of strong east and northeast, the waves that had been generated by that weather were directly against the new wind.  That meant that the waves were just laying down, and hadn’t had time to build from the new wind direction.  So, even though we were headed up wind, the sea was as flat as a lake.  And, true to our experience everywhere else in the Bahamas, as soon as we left the Georgetown crowds behind, we didn’t see another boat the whole day.

Is that the Pirate Queen of the Brethren Court?
White Cay itself was amazing.  The anchorage there is very exposed, with shallow water a long way from the island, leaving our boat far out to sea.  In anything but very settled weather, there is no way you could spend the night there.  Fortunately for us, the weather was perfect.

Pirate attack!
We dropped anchor and dinghied in to the sand spit, without another soul in sight.  As the tide came up and reclaimed the beach, we used every minute of the remaining sunlight to re-enact scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean.  That was followed by some frisbee, plain old running around, and maybe even a bit of skinny dipping (it is a bit unnerving how easy it is to get our crew to dispense with the trappings of civilization and go swimming in the buff.  I can only imagine how wild things will be by the end of our trip!).

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