Day 171, Year 10: Farewell to the Exumas
Date: Monday, March 30, 2015
Weather: Partly Sunny, Winds NE 10-15-20
Latitude: 25 05.113 N
Longitude: 077 32.843 W
Location: West Bay, New Providence Island, Bahamas

After FIVE attempts at anchoring, we are finally securely anchored in West Bay at the western end of New Providence Island. What an ordeal. We knew the bottom here was hard with some sand patches, but having to re-anchor five times is a world record for us. But the important thing is that we are anchored and will be moving on to Chub Cay early tomorrow.

This morning as we sailed away from Hawksbill Cay, we said farewell to the Exumas. There is always a bit of sadness when you leave a beautiful place. Did we see and do everything on our list? Of course not. But did we make the very best of our time in the Exumas. You bet we did. And for always, when I think of the Exumas, I will think clear and BLUE. I’ve said over and over just how clear and beautiful the water is here and it comes in so many shades of green and blue. Even the most beautiful of the fish we saw when snorkeling were decorated with an electric blue, that once seen, you never forget. We saw and swam with rays and sharks, snorkeled and snorkeled and snorkeled some more, ate local lobster, enjoyed the feral pigs of Big Majors Spot and the iguanas of Bitter Guana Cay, and delighted in finding the food we needed to replenish the larder and a convenient airport for flying in and out at Staniel Cay. We even saw gulls that looked blue-green instead of white . . . but it was just a reflection from the water. And we found a ‘favorite place’-Cambridge Cay. People always ask us what our favorite place was as we sailed around the world and we can never answer that question. If someone asks us our favorite place in the Exumas, we now have an answer. And as an added bonus to our Exuma experience, we got to be in the same anchorage once again with our friends Ed and Lynne of Constance and sail with Kevin and Claire aboard Windbird. In keeping with the blue theme, I’ll say what fun it was to see ‘true blue’ friends in the Exumas. We visited all of the islands we had hoped to except for Big Farmers Cay. It was the southernmost island we had hoped to visit, but there just wasn’t time for that. Actually the captain had never thought we would get that far south in our limited time. I just hoped that we would. And yesterday as a farewell gift, we saw a tree with the most beautiful blue flowers. From looking through the books that I have onboard, I’ve identified it as a Lignum Vitae, also known as the Tree of Life. It is the national tree of the Bahamas and a very rare and special wood. And the blue flowers are stunning. But now onward we go.

This morning we had great sailing day as we crossed the Exuma Bank to the west end of New Providence. It was so cool this morning when we left Hawksbill that Mark put on his polar fleece jacket. Ugh! I was fine in short sleeves, but he was out on deck raising the sail and it was cool out there. By noon, the winds calmed down a little too far and went right behind us, so we had to motor sail the rest of the day. But it was still delightful. The weather report this morning looks like we are on track for a Thursday crossing from north of Bimini to West Palm Beach. And it looks like we will get to sail that leg. If the weather holds, we will leave Chub on Wednesday, motor overnight to the area just north of Bimini, exit the Great Bahama Bank, and sail away across the Gulf Stream. West Palm Beach . . . here we come, again.

150330 Day 171 Bahamas–West Bay, New Providence Island
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Day 172, Year 10: New Providence Island to Chub Cay
Day 170, Year 10: Emerald Rock to Hawksbill Cay