8 Mar 2016 – We worked our way south between two of the major out-islands, Eleuthera and Cat, with a good sail through the deep waters of Exuma Sound towards a stopover at Little San Salvador. Little San Salvador is a tiny piece of paradise owned by one of the Cruise Ship companies and has buildings, employees and lots of toys for their passengers to enjoy at Half Moon Bay on the island’s northwest corner. Depending on the day you can see ships from any of the various Cruise Ship Lines as they anchor in the morning, disgorge hundreds of passengers to play all day and then collect them up again and sail away before sundown.
Fortunately for us they allow the rest of us to anchor for short periods in the bay, allowing us to take refuge for the night before moving on, which made our next step a short motor-sail into the protective lee of Cat Island before the forecast of strong easterly winds moved in.
We anchored near the little settlement of Orange Creek at the northern end of Cat before noon the following day and ventured in to complete one of the less glamorous chores of Cruising: Laundry. The local store reportedly had a Laundromat with large machines for public use and we successfully knocked out a couple of big loads that were overflowing our clothes basket in the V-berth.
A cold front passed through the preceding night while we were in Half Moon Bay with rain and winds from various directions, but by the time we reached Orange Creek the front had passed and the brilliant sunlight overhead painted a glorious picture with crystal blue skies and dazzling aquamarine seas surrounding a long, thin stretch of uninhabited yellow beach as viewed from our anchorage. As Brilliant settled into her place for the day Carrie reflected on the beauty of our surroundings and said, “This is where we belong.”
After returning our laundry to the boat we dinghied to the beach and walked the deserted shoreline in the afternoon sun, with the island’s shelter offering us a settled breeze and slow, lapping waves along miles of beach to walk as the afternoon passed, searching for interesting shells and sea glass.
Over the following days the winds built steadily out of the Northeast and clocked around to the persistent Eastern trade winds where they are forecast to stay for most of the next week, so we’ll remain here protected along the western shore of Cat until conditions allow us to move on to the next island. Temperatures in both the air and seawater are becoming much more temperate as we head further south, reminding us of the tropical conditions that we have missed for so long.
Although we enjoyed the solitude of a deserted anchorage, we were greeted with a welcome sight as we approached the settlement at New Bight, about ¾ of the way down the island: several other cruising boats, the first we’ve seen since arriving at Cat Island. With word of a gathering we beached our dinghy alongside several others and joined other cruisers and locals on shore in the late afternoon to meet some new people, swap stories, and listen to some local artists play “Rake and Scrape”, their unique brand of music celebrating their island life.
The past few days have offered fun times doing the things we enjoy in the islands; providing some additional sense of belonging that drives us forward across the many miles that still lie between us and the Caribbean.