The Exuma Island Trip – Final Summary Post

Good morning Blog Followers,

It’s been about 6 days since we last communicated with you.
Our 1 month adventure in the Exuma Islands is nearing it’s end.

For the last 6 days, we have been retracing our steps back from Staniel Cay Exuma to Fort Lauderdale.

You may ask – why Fort Lauderdale, you left from Key Largo ?
The answer is – after we depart from The Luck’s tomorrow, they will actually be heading back to the Mahi Mahi’s home port of Little River South Carolina.

Jerry & Deena keep the Mahi Mahi in SC during the summer & pick her up every Nov/Dec to enjoy as their winter cottage in Marathon Key Florida.

It made a lot more sense to come back to the USA further north by boat, and go back to Key Largo to get my truck. So Jerry & I rented a car for the day, drove to Key Largo, and got my truck.

So back to our last 5 days.
We retraced our steps, coming back from The Staniel Cay Yacht Club, to the Palm Cay Marina at Nassau, to the Chub Cay Marina & Resort, the Big Game Marina in Bimini Bahamas, and finally The Hilton Marina in Fort Lauderdale.

There were more beautiful photos taken on the rides home, but nothing you haven’t already seen in the previous posts.
So I decided to use this posting, as I did after our Great Loop Trip – as a Recap or Summary of our 1 month Adventure.

Note = I have had some folks tell me that they did not see any Videos.
There are many VIDEOS inside the postings, they should have “Play Arrows”
Especially in the posts describing Swimming with the Sharks (#9), Feeding the Island Pigs (#11), and Snorkeling in the Thunderball Grotto Cave (#12).

So here we go –

1.The Exuma Islands Trip Overview – March 26th
In this post from March 26th, we describe “The Plan” for our 1 month adventure. We show some maps of where we are going, what activities we will try to do, and some photos of our travel partners – Jerry & Deena Luck and the Mahi Mahi.

2.The Departure from Key Largo & arrival at Bimini Island Bahamas – April 2nd
This post describes the exciting departure from Key Largo & arrival at the Big Game Club Marina & Resort on Bimini Island.

3. Bimini Bahamas – April 3rd
This post describes the Immigration process at Bimini, our Golf Cart ride exploring Bimini Island. Our 1st look at he beautiful blue waters, the Dolphin House, and the opulent north side of the island.

4. Chub Cay – April 5th
This post was somewhat boring. The post describes our long 101 mile ride from Bimini to Chub Cay. The posts describe “things we do during a 100 mile ride to reduce boredom”. But since our main goals were in the Exuma Islands, we only spent one quick night and took off the next morning.
Update – on our return trip home we spent another day at the Chub Cay Marina & Resort. It turned out to be a very nice place, with a swim up bar & infinity pool overlooking the blue waters of the Berry Islands.

5. Nassau Bahamas – April 8th
This post describes our “very rough ride” from Chub to New Providence Island (Nassau), our forced anchorage because we could not get an open marina, our 1st swim in the beautiful waters of the Bahamas, and the BEAUTIFUL Palm Cay Marina & Resort.

6. Highborne Cay #1 – April 9th (Easter Sunday)
This post shows the Beautiful Beaches of Highborne Cay, the Water Swing, & our 1st Shark sightings.

7. Highborne Cay #2 – April 12th
This “Bonus Post” from Highborne describes our “Rainy Bike Ride” to the Zuma Beach bar, and our golf cart return back to the marina from bartender Lacie. Yes – Lacie said it was ok to leave the bikes at the bar.

8. Exuma Land & Sea Park – April 18th
This post shows the Most Beautiful Water we have ever seen in the Warderick Wells North Mooring Field, Boo Boo Hill, the mysterious Blow Holes, the Shoreline Rock Gorges, our 1st Sea Ray sighting, and a wonderful day-long Dinghy Ride.

9. Compass Cay Swimming with the Sharks – April 20th
No further description required – one of our bucket lists items !
Note = lots of Video here, click on each image to check.

10. The Staniel Cay Yacht Club – April 19th
This post describes our arrival in the “Rippin’ Current” of Staniel Cay, our Island Walk-Around, and the Key West feel of the Staniel Cay Yacht Club.

11. Feeding the Swimming Pigs – April 20th
This post was another bucket list item, to see and Feed the wild Pigs of Big Major Cay Island.
Note = lots of Video here, click on each image to check.

12. Snorkeling in the James Bond-Thunderball Grotto Cave – April 22nd
One of the top 3 highlights for me, this cave was awesome.
With multiple underwater entrances, tight caverns, and a thousand fish.
Note = lots of Video, click on each image to check

After our Great Loop trip in 2017/2018, we frequently got the question – “What was your favorite part of the trip”.
So here are my Top 3
1. The beautiful Water in all of the Exuma’s, but especially the Warderick Wells North Mooring Field.
2. The James Bond – Thunderball Grotto Cave.
3. Swimming with the Sharks

Some quick Trip Stats
Days = 28 Days
Distance = approximately 670 miles
Fuel = 450 gallons diesel fuel (ave price = about $4.50 in the USA & $6.00/gallon in the Exumas)
Ports = only 8 different ports due to weather delays
Ave Marina price in Exumas (including Water & Elec fees) = $6-7/ft (don’t believe the prices online $3-4/ft)

Notes for future Bahama Travelers
Check out these very good websites for the processes to clear Customs/Immigration in the Bahamas & returning home to the good Ole USA.

Bahamas – online “Click to Clear” Crusing Permit application = Click Link
USA – online “CBP ROAM” cell phone app for video check-in to the USA = Click Link

We hope you all enjoyed the Blog Postings.
Stay tuned for the next adventure – don’t currently have a plan, but the options are endless !!!
Thanks for reading.

Mike, Jonell, Jerry, & Deena

Port #6 Staniel Cay Yacht Club (cont) – The Thunderball Grotto Cave

Thunderball Grotto was one of the anticipated highlights of the trip, and it did not disappoint.

Thunderball Grotto, is a limestone cave situated on the western coast of Staniel Cay, and was the setting of the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball. It was from this film the name Thunderball was given to the Grotto. The island was also used as a filming location for a scene in the 1983 James Bond film Never Say Never Again.

Here is a clip from the movie – note it is long & somewhat boring (10min).
Maybe come back to this link at the end of the blog if you are bored..
Thunderball Clip = Click Link

Located just west of Staniel Cay, this fantastic underwater cave system is great for snorkeling, diving, and wading. It is teeming with exotic marine life and a kaleidoscope of brilliantly colored coral reefs and fish, like yellow-tail snappers, Angel fish, Sergeant Majors and the like.

The Thunderball Grotto Cave was only 1 mile away from our marina.
It was somewhat interesting to find it because the Navionics charts did not really have a good exact location.
The location was an approximate location.
There are several small islands near the marina.
But after a little dinghy riding and looking for other anchored boats, we found it !

I don’t have much to say before the really cool videos except –
* I expected it to be pretty cool, it was even better than I expected.
* What an adrenalin rush.
* Thousands of Fish
* Little Caverns In & Out of the Cave all over.
* A fairly heavy current to get into the cave, & we were supposed to be at slack tide.

Let the Video Shows begin – Thunderball Grotto Cave
These videos & the actual event are so exciting for me.
There were thousands of fish.
There were MANY ways into & out of the Cave.
Some entrances had you swim under water for about 10-15ft to enter the cave.
I didn’t take video of some of the entrances that I went in, because I didn’t want to take the phone under water, even though it was in a waterproof protection bag.
note 1 = some folks have said that the Videos look only like photos on the blog – click on each screen, they are videos, not photos
note 2 = I purposely limited the videos to about 30 sec each, to enable easier loading on the blog

Click on the image to play the video
Click on the image to play the video
Click on the image to play the video
Click on the image to play the video
Click on the image to play the video
Click on the image to play the video

I hope that you enjoyed the videos, it was a very cool experience.

Todays Trivia
Question (s) = How many feet is a Fathom & where did the word Fathom originate from ?

Answer = Scroll Down





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Question (s) = How many feet is a Fathom & where did the word Fathom originate from ?

Answer = A Fathom is 6 feet long.
The fathom originated as the distance from the middle fingertip of one hand to the middle fingertip of the other hand of a large man holding his arms fully extended. The name comes from the Old English faedm or faethm, meaning outstretched arms.

Port 5.5 Compass Cay (Swimming with the Sharks)

OMG – How did I forget this ?
Swimming with the Sharks, really Mike , you forgot to Post this one ???

So it’s been a really fun trip.
It’s been a really adventurous trip.
It’s been a really exhausting trip.
The calendar has been heavily booked.
I do all the blogs at night, after adventures or after a day of consuming alcoholic beverages.
I have lost track of days & what I have & have not posted.
If I was a cell phone, I am running on about 60% battery right now.

So, here is what life looks like for Mikie after 3 weeks at Sea.
It fits in down here quite nicely, I look like many of the other guys that don’t own a razor.

Back to the story.

We arrived at the Compass Cay Marina for only 1 night, after the Land & Sea Park (Port #5), but before our current location of the Staniel Cay Yacht Club (Port #6).

Compass Cay is famous for “Swimming with the Sharks”
There are many islands which copy, but Compass Cay is the creator.


The famous Sharks which live at the Compass Cay Marina are visited by over five million people year round.

The Compass Cay sharks found in the marina are a species called Ginglymostoma cirratum (commonly known as “Nurse Sharks”). These animals can live up to 25 years and grow up to almost ten-feet-long. A fully grown adult can weigh anywhere from 200 to 330 pounds by the time it is at its full carnivorous potential.

But first, let’s do our normal marina walk-around.

Compass Cay is another really small marina, but apparently a somewhat exclusive marina sought after by the “Rich & Famous”, Well at least the moderately rich folks.

Of the 6 boats in our sight (the marina only holds about 18 boats), at least 3 of them had servants bringing the owners their dinner. The boat next to us had 2 servants running food/drinks back/forth for only 3 clients.

Anyway, the 3 clients got their dinner served to them on the stern of the boat & after dinner had wine poured for them on the bow.

The Detroit Power Squadron did not teach us Murphree’s or the Luck’s about this kind of boating.
There was no DPS class on this topic.

The Mahi Mahi had Deena & Jonell !
I think our dinner, service, and ambiance was better !!!

Back to the initial Walk-Around
The small marina had a very much Key West look & feel.
Upon walking up the winding road to the marina restrooms, we passed by –
* Lots of wood plaques with boat names.
* Lots of bottles and knick knacks hanging on the trees (aka – a bunch of crap).

But let’s get back to the main reason for this Blog Post – THE SHARKS !

It was soooo cool.
I must admit that I was slightly nervous.
Jerry & Jonell were out, it was just me & Deena for Swimming with the Sharks.
So I did the gentlemanly thing & I let Deena go First !

With our guide “Beef” helping us out by Chumming the water, we slowly lowered ourselves into the blue abyss.

Oh, by the way, here is “Beef”, you can see why he has his name !

That’s all for now.
Hopefully by now, You have already seen the blog posts from the Staniel Cay Yacht Club (Post #6).

There will be 1 more post from Staniel Cay – The Thunderball Grotto (the James Bond Cave).
Stay tuned, next issue.

Todays Trivia
Question = What is the difference between nautical speed measured in knots vs mph ?
Answer = Scroll Down .






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Question = What is the difference between nautical speed measured in knots vs mph ?
One knot equals one nautical mile per hour, or roughly 1.15 statute mph. The term knot dates from the 17th century, when sailors measured the speed of their ship using a device called a “common log.” The common log was a rope with knots at regular intervals, attached to a piece of wood shaped like a slice of pie.
10 knots = 11.5 mph
20 knots = 23 mph

Click the link =

Port #6 – Staniel Cay Yacht Club (The Swimming Pigs)

So ok, maybe they don’t really swim so much any more.
But they sure do like to eat.

The Pigs of Pig Island Bahamas (Big Major Cay) have been in their tropical paradise for years.
The Exuma Cays have been a forgotten oasis for decades.

Ruthless pirates, pioneers of Europe, even the infamous Fyre Festival — all of these people & events have run their course through the Exumas. However, who was it that put the Exuma Cays on the map? Yes, the swimming pigs Exuma have brought in the most tourists over the years.

Matter of fact, over 6.62 million people went swimming with pigs in 2018 and the spectacle is slated to continue growing in popularity year-after-year with its social media virality sky-rocketing.

Some history of the Big Major Cay Swimming Pigs
Legend has it that farmers in Staniel Cay used to care for their pigpen right outside of Staniel Cay Village.

When the village people complained about the stench blowing into the village from the farm, farmers were forced to dial up a solution.

Their solution?– Moving the pigs to the nearby island of Big Major Cay (later known as Pig Island) where they would boat the pigs’ daily feed to them at the same time every day. (Big Major Cay is about 1 mile from the Staniel Cay Yacht Club).

Soon, the pigs picked up on the pattern; if they saw the boat approaching, that meant their food was nearing.

It wasn’t before long the pigs began swimming to the boat to be the first ones fed. The farmers knew they had struck tourist gold and soon the island was seeing mass amounts of visitors like never before.

Before we departed for Pig Island, I researched the Etiquitte for Feeding the Pigs. Here is what I found.

  • Never feeding a pig from the beach. This will cause the pigs to assume they can get all their food from the beach at the hands of humans and ruin their natural instinct for survival and the natural process which began with them swimming to their food.
  • Never feed a pig by hand. Make sure the food is removed from your hand before the pig gets to it as they can bite and are, otherwise, clumsy while eating.
  • Feed pigs only the appropriate and approved foods according to local guides. Most of the approved foods include bread and fruits or natural foods = Okay, we did bring Bread !

Ok so that was the internet version of “what to do at Pig Beach”
The actual real story is more – negotiable.
Even the local guy assigned to monitor the activities at Pig Beach said –
* You can feed them on Land & Water, they will come to you.
* You can pick up the babies.
* There really are “No Rules”

So, here we go, welcome to Pig Beach

Well that’s all folks.
I may never look at a piece of Bacon the same way anymore, there sooo cute !

Next Episode = The Thunderball Grotto Cave !

Todays Boating Trivia Question = What is the difference between a Fender & a Bumper for a Boat?
Answer = Scroll Down

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Question = What is the difference between a fender and a bumper on a boat?
Answer = They are both cushioned items used to protect a boat from impact or abrasion, either from another boat or a fixed structure, like a dock or pier.
Technically, there’s one differentiator –
A Fender is attached to the boat. 
A Bumper is attached to the fixed structure, like a Dock.

Port #6 – Staniel Cay Yacht Club (Initial Walk-Around)

Mon Apr 17th

WARNING – This post may be considered Boring !
If you are short on time, skip it & wait for the next 2 blog posts.

We arrived at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club on Monday the 17th about 11am.
The well know current at Staniel Cay was RIPPIN” (at least 5mph), much more than the Detroit River.
And all the slips are “in the current flow”.
The marina answered our initial call for a slip assignment, but said “Stand By”.

After “Standing-By” for about 20 minutes, and making a couple other unanswered VHF calls to the marina, we made the executive decision to just pull up to the T-Head, dock the boat, and ask for permission later.

The plan worked flawlessly. After we tied up to the T-Head, I called the marina and told them what we did. They said “Ok, it’s fine to wait there, you probably can’t get into your slip until about 2-3pm.

About 3pm, we finally got into our slip.
The current had subsided a bit.
Captain Luck did a great job, sterning into our slip.
We had marina help with the dock lines at this point.
Safe harbor for the next 4 days.

We had a nice dinner at the “Private Dining Room” for the 6:30 sitting !
You had to order your meal before 4pm for the 6:30pm or 8:30pm sitting.
Jerry, Jonell, and Deena had BB Ribs, I had the catch-of-the-day.
They all said the Ribs were great, the COTD was just OK.
Still not sure what type of fish the COTD was, should have asked, too tired.

Here are some of our initial walk-around photos.
Sorry, no photos of the “Private Dining Room” (our secret = it was ok, but nothing special)

We ended the night with a Hellatious Wind & Rain Storm.
I think that it may have been the most fierce storm that I have been in on a boat, and I have been in a few.
Thank god we were tied up at a marina with 4 lines & 4 fenders.

The weather forecast did call for rain, but even while the 30-40 mph winds were happening, I looked up Windfinder & Sailflow Apps, and both said that the wind was only 15-20mph (humm).

I think that the internet wind service providers are not very good with quickly developing storms.
Thunder, an incredible Lightning show, and 3ft waves IN THE MARINA, between 11pm-2am (UGH).

Tuesday Apr 18th

Still windy all day Tuesday, delaying our dinghy trip to Pig Beach & Thunderball Grotto (bummer).

We needed to re-stock on some groceries & wanted to visit the on-island marine supply store, so we headed out for the island walk.

Not a big deal, the grocery store was only 1/2 mile away.
And the marine store was another additional 1/2 mile.
The girls only went to the grocery store.
Me & Jerry went the additional 1/2 mile forward & back to the marine store (uphill, both ways).

The grocery store was excellent, they had everything (Burke’s Convenience Store).
The marine supply store = not so much !
But it was a fun walk & good way to see the island.

Later that evening, Deena made dinner again – delicious Pork Chops.

Just before bed-time, me & Deena went for a night-cap at the SCYC waterside patio bar.

Lights out @ 18:00 hrs.
Hopefully tomorrow we will have some more exciting updates for you.
Thanks for reading.

Port #5 – Exuma Land & Sea Park (Warderick Wells Mooring Balls)

Hey Blog Followers,

It has been a while since we last communicated with you.
Did you miss us ?

Well, it’s been 5 days without internet or cell service.
Deena & I are having connection withdrawals, and the Blog & Facebook postings are several days behind.

But it was worth it – what a great 5 days !
Total Seclusion, but Immense Beauty.

Thu /Apr 13 – Sat/Apr 15th
We moved from the beautiful Highborne Cay Marina & Resort to The Exuma Land & Sea Park.
The Land & Sea Park is a 176 square mile area within the Exuma Islands, created in 1958.
It was the first Land and Sea Park in the world, and is one of the most successful marine parks.
It is the first Park to prohibit any fishing within the wider Caribbean.
This stretch of pristine water, land and beaches is an ecological preserve and wildlife refuge famous for its breathtaking marine environment & intense blue waters.

We spent 3 nights in a specific region called “Warderick Wells”.
This area was recommended to us by Jerry & Deena’s friends Bill & Patti from the vessel “Conched Out Two”.
We spent 1 night on a mooring ball in an area called Emerald Rock Mooring Field & then moved to a place called the North Mooring Field of the Exuma Land & Sea Park.

Emerald Rock Mooring Field of Warderick Wells = 7 Rating of 10
North Mooring Field of Warderick Wells = 20 Rating out of 10

Just when you think your surroundings cannot get any more beautiful, they do again.
The water inside the North Mooring Ball field is SPECTACULAR.
We must have seen 10 shades of Blue on the ride into the mooring field.

But back to the first night at the Emerald Rock Mooring Field, the place we spent our first night (Thu/Apr 11th)
It was nice, the water colors were good, but nothing spectacular.
The wind was out of the South, so we did get rocked all night, a terrible nights sleep for a Mooring Field.

Upon arrival at Warderick Wells & the Emerald Rock Mooring Field, we went by Dinghy to check in at the Visitors office on Thu Apr 13th.

We met the person in charge of the Mooring Fields named Cherie, we paid for our 3 nights, and asked if we could move to the North Mooring Field for the last 2 nights.
Cherie responded in a somewhat stern voice “I will make a call on VHF channel 09 tomorrow at 9am.
I will tell you then, if you can relocate to the North Mooring Field”.
I really didn’t think that she liked me, it seemed that she was perturbed with my question.

We waited with high anxiety & extreme trepidation all night, in the hopes that we would be given a Mooring Ball in the North field.

You non-boaters may ask – What is a Mooring Ball Field ?
It’s an area that has floating Balls on the water with a tether that connects the Ball to the bed of the ocean/lake floor. They are sometimes desired over anchoring, because they will not drag or move like an anchor could. Especially during high winds.

In the mean time during the afternoon & evening on Thu the 13th, we – went on a dinghy ride, got rained on again, went swimming after the rain, ate another Deena culinary treat from the “Magic Gally (kitchen), and watched a beautiful Sunset.
I don’t know how Deena keeps pulling great stuff to eat out of that small kitchen.

Check out the sunset right above the mast of this sailboat.

Friday April 14th
The call at 9am finally came.
Ranger Cherie started off with a Roll-Call to confirm all the boats departing that day.
Finally Cherie moved on to the new arrivals.
Then we finally heard the magic words – “Mahi Mahi, you may proceed to Mooring Ball #14 in the North Mooring Field”

On our ride into the North Field, it was OMG – This place may be the most beautiful water in the world.
As we traveled past Mooring Balls #10,#11,#12, #13 – we could see “Holy Smokes, we have the best Mooring Ball in the Park”, highly protected from wind, RIGHT IN FROM OF THE BEACH, and a seemingly larger than normal openings because mooring ball #15 was not there ?
We were right near the bottom of the J-Turn of the North Field, right across from the beach.
The mooring balls are in deeper water, the surroundings of the J-Shaped mooring field make for some spectacular photos, with dark blue color at the mooring balls & an almost white color in the more shallow areas surrounding the mooring balls (see the photos below).
Our spot was Mooring Ball #14.

Ok, get ready for these photos, I think that they are the best that we have sent so far. !!
The most beautiful water that I have ever seen.
The most shades of Blue that I have ever seen in one location.- Gorgeous – White/Blue, Aqua, Turquois, Navy, Midnight Blue, etc, etc.
I’m sure that the photos will not due it justice.

After gettin’ hooked up & settled onto Mooring Ball #14, we unloaded the dinghy and went to the shore of the Waderick Wells Island to visit the Land & Sea Park. Remember, that the Land & Sea Park covers 176 sq miles. Waderick Wells is just one island within the park boundary.

There were supposed to be some trails leading to a couple of island attractions ; Boo Boo Hill & The Blow Holes.

Boo Boo Hill
The hike to Boo Boo Hill was not that far, only about 3/4 mile.
But the terrain was very interesting.
The hike started on a sandy, lush trail with a lot of greenery.
Then a pot holed trail that looked like the moon.
Then a rocky surface.
Then a Sahara Desert type surface.
Then lush green gardens.
Then a medium sized grade.
And finally Boo Boo Hill.
The peak of Boo Boo Hill initially looked like a scrap yard of old wood. But on closer inspection I discovered that the wood was all plaques with Boat/Yacht/Vessel names from visitors past. Some as recent as this year.

Next stop was The Blow Holes.
Unfortunately, it appeared that The Blow Holes had not been active in some time, they were dry.
I felt like Ralphie on The Christmas Story, when he found out that the decoder ring was just a lousy commercial.

But I did see some geyser of water in the distant shoreline, so I went to investigate.
The east shoreline was composed of a very rocky terrain with cliffs gourged out by the rushing waves, causing some decent geyser type sprays.

After the fake news “Blow Holes” We spent a couple hours on the beach right in front of the Mahi Mahi, on Exuma Park Lounge Chairs – in the the water !
(sorry no photos).

Then another amazing dinner from Deena – Pasta Tonight !

While waiting for dinner we watched several Stingrays swim right by the Mahi.
They were about 3 feet wide !

Night-time was spent playing the Mexican Train table game (dominos type game), sipping some fine Tequila.

Sat – April  15
Saturdays main event was a dinghy ride in search of the Rocky Dundas Cave.
I had notes in my pre-trip powerpoint, that Rocky Dundas was in The Land & Sea Park.
Remember, we did not have any electronic service so we could not identify the exact location.
Google Searches were useless & Navoinics did not show the cave.
From paper charts Jerry had for the Exuma Islands, we were able to see some markings on the charts which identified “caves” , but without any names.

So we set off on a dinghy ride which ended up being about a 4 hour long ride completely around Waderick Wells Island, with stops at an unknown small cave & a couple secluded beaches.

We’ll call the unknown/unmarked cave “Mike’s Cave”
The approach to Mike’s Cave was again in some gorgeous water.
We beached the dinghy, and I walked from the beach, along the rocky shoreline, up to the cave.
I wanted to go under & thru the cave, but the current was very strong & I chickened out.
Jonell, Jerry, and Deena watched my adventure from the first of two very secluded beaches where we beached the dinghy.

After messin’ around at “Mike’s Cave” we pushed onward.
At that point we were 60% around the Waderick Wells Island, and decided to try to go completely around the island.

We were not sure if this was possible because at Mike’s Cave, we were still protected by the land of Waderick Wells & Hog Island.

Finishing our trip around the island would require going out along the shoreline into the open sea.

Fortunately, the wind/wave gods were shining on us – the waves got to about 2 ft, but the dinghy & adventure team had a wonderful ride.

We were almost back to the main channel entering the North Mooring field when we spotted another pristine beautiful secluded beach. So we stopped again and finished what was left in our small cooler -water of course.

After returning home from the “Great Loop” around Waderick Wells Island (about 5-6 miles), we spent about an hour snorkeling near the mooring field in a designated area.
There were several small fish of many different colors – Blue/White, Black/Yellow, and Gray/White Striped (sorry no photos taken).

Since there are no restaurants, no bars, no internet, no cell signal – it was Deena to the rescue again.
Chicken Strips, Noodles, & Tequila !

Lights out at 21:30 hrs.
Tomorrow it’s off to a very small marina on Compass Cay Island.
Only 18 slips, and mostly for The Big Boys.
But famous for – “Swimming with the Nurse Sharks”
Hopefully we have Internet or Cell Service.

Note = In order to keep up on the blog and not confuse what we did on which days – I take notes during each day. Then at night transpose the notes to a Word document. Then when I get an internet or cell signal – I copy & paste the Word document into WordPress & attach the photos & video.

I hope you are enjoying the blog posts.
They are a bit of work, but fun for me to do, and they leave me & Jonell an easy way to look back on the trip in the future.

Todays Trivia = Where di the nautical term “Tender” come from, for a small boat operating off of a larger yacht ?

Answer = Scroll Down

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Todays Trivia = Where di the nautical term “Tender” come from ?

Answer = A little boat that runs back and forth to a bigger boat (or ship) is called a tender—because it tends to the needs of the larger craft. Moderately sized recreational boats call their tenders dinghies.
A romantic seafaring past? Upon arrival in port, merchant ships would post an announcement detailing the merchandise they wanted to buy or sell. This announcement was delivered ahead of the ship by a small vessel – known as a ‘tender’. This process came to be known as tendering

Port #4 – Highborne Cay Exuma (Bonus Post)

So we thought that we were finished with any blog posts from Highborne Cay because it was sooooo RAINY !

An all day, a real SOAKER !

But Captain Jerry says “let’s go on a bike ride to the Bar”

So off we went – it may have been the best, most fun day, of the 4 days here !

We made it to the Xuma Beach Bar about 3/4 mile away, in a drizzle.
We were told by the very friendly marina worker Claudette, to check in with “Laicie” at the Beach Bar.
Claudette said that Lacie would take care of us – Boy did she !

We spent about 3 RAINY hours at the beach bar and it may have been the most fun 3 hours we have spent at Highborne.

It sounds boring, but we spent 3 hours drinking “Lacie concoctions”, while watching the movie “The Untouchables”.

It was a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.
We got stewed (at least me & Jerry did), and even Nellie had a beer !
Jerry had some Bahamian Rum drink – Strait on the Rocks !!!

After our 3 hours drinking & watching The Untouchables with Lacie, the rain picked up a lot.
We were contemplating “weather” to go or not – Lacie said ” you can leave the bikes, come with me on my golf cart, I’m closing the bar at 6pm & going to work at the restaurant.

So all 5 of us piled onto Lacie’s golf cart and headed back to the boat.
She said that it was ok to leave the bikes at the Beach Bar.

It might have been the best Golf Cart Ride Ever.

That’s all for now folks, sea you at the Exuma Land & Sea Park.

Port #4 – Highborne Cay Exuma

Day 1 = Arrival at Highborne Cay – Easter Sunday, Apr 9th

Note = Many of the photos are actually videos, not sure why they are not showing “play arrows”. Click on each photo, if it’s a video, it will play.

Our trip from Nassau Bahamas to Highborne Cay Exuma was great.
The winds were below 10mph, and it was an effortless 4 hour/38 mile trip.
I was thinking during the voyage – that I could not think of any better way to spend Easter.
As Lou Gehrig said ” Today – I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth !

The arrival in Highborne Cay was exciting.
We passed about 20 boats in the anchorage outside of the marina on the way in.
Their average size was 200-300ft, a mega yacht parking lot. (sorry no photos, was busy talking to the marina).

Upon entering the marina, our first observation was – that we are maybe the oldest boat here, close to the shortest boat, and most other vessels have engines worth more than our beloved Mahi Mahi.
It reminder me of when me & Jonell were at Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale with Gettin’ Looped”

But guess what – we are all here in the same marina, enjoying the same beautiful water, independent of wallet size.

There are only “30 Slips” in this Marina.
We were extremely lucky to get this slip for 6 nights with bad weather coming.

Highborne Cay Marina – 1st Look !

I called the marina about a week ago and made a 2 day reservation.
I called back about 5 days ago and extended our stay at Highborne to 6 days.
The forecast for the next week is not favorable, with more high winds & RAIN (UCK).

So our plan now is a 6 day stay, moving on to the Exuma Land & Sea Park on Saturday.
This will put us significantly behind schedule, but we don’t want to repeat the Chub Cay to Nassau ride.

You can see in the Top Line of the Windfinder Chart – that the stinkin’ Wind is starting up tomorrow (Mon) & not letting up until Saturday (Yuck).
The forecast is also showing many days of Rain (Double Yuck).
So it might be a slow week for the blog.

The good news is – Highborne Cay Marina & Resort is incredible.
I thought that the Palm Cay Marina & Resort in Nassau was great – 9 of 10 Rating.
The Highborne Cay Marina & Resort is an 11 of 10 Rating.
It is soooo beautiful – the photos don’t due it justice.
Here are some shots from our initial walk around

During our walk-around, we met a very interesting person named Christine.
Christine is from Ontario and lives right on the Welland Canal waterway.
She is working as a Stewardess on a vessel owned and operated by a Mom/Pop Canadian couple.
The SS-Bonarparte is a 1964, 82ft Berger.
The Canadian couple & Christine do about 20-30 one week cruises a year.
They keep the vessel somewhere down here in the Bahamas.
This week, they were entertaining a family of 5 people.

After our initial walk-around the Marina & Resort, we cleaned up and headed to dinner at the Zuma Restaurant.

The ambiance at Zuma was excellent, the food was great, and I enjoyed the treat of being able to watch the last 9 holes of the final round of the Masters while eating dinner.
I had maybe the best Snapper that I have ever had & Nellie had a Cornish Hen.

The day ended with a wonderful Easter treat from our 37 year old daughter Ashley.

Ashley lives in Fairfax California, but sent this beautiful memory of her & my dad coloring Easter Eggs a long time ago, when Ashley was a young child.

It was a great way to end Easter Sunday.

Day 2 = Mon Apr 10th

Well, the weather man was again – not exactly correct.
Most of the weather outlets forecasted light rain 12p-3pm & heavy rain 3-6pm.
We had some heavy rain at 7am, then a lot of clouds, some heavy & dark, but no rain as of 6pm.
It seems that the forecast changes very quickly in this area.

We hung around the boat most of the morning working on some projects & locating our upcoming anchorage at a place called Warderick Wells, in the Exuma Land & Sea Park.

By Noon the sun was breaking out, we were project free & ready for some fun.

We spent about 2 hours swimming. lounging in the water, and having drinks on the beach.

After swimming & lounging on the beach, we went for a walk to the pier located at the entrance to the harbor.

Evidently, they feed the sharks about 2pm every day.
We were told that when they are first fed – it is quite the frenzy.
We arrived about 2:30pm, and the Sharks were becoming very docile.

I know that I said – one of the reasons I came to the Exumas was to “Feed the Sharks”
But today, at this location – I think that I will pass !!!
Someone mentioned Bull Sharks – I will be studying intensely, the difference between the Bull & Nurse Shark.

Monday ended with another amazing dinner from Deena – Mississippi Pot Roast.
No Jerry Scheller, we did not tell Deena how to make it.
It was just a coincidence that she made the same dish, with the same recipe, that we recently came to love in Fort Myers.

Deena had pre-made & frozen 15 meals for 4 people, back when she was in Marathon Key, before we joined the Luck’s for the trip.
Thank God for that, we can’t afford frequent trips to the Zuma Restaurant $$$$.

Day 3 – Tue Apr 11th

Guess what – the weather man was Right today.
We woke up to Rain & High Winds !

It was a very low-key day, the blog post will be a bit boring today.

We spent the day ; trying to make new reservations for upcoming stops, walking around lookin’ at BIG ships, lounging on the beach again, & watching a mega yacht dock.

The morning was spent discussing the wind/wave forecast, and deciding when we would try to move to our next couples stops ; The Exuma Land & Sea Park/ Worderick Wells (est Fri/Sat) & Staniel Cay Yacht Club (est Mon/Tue).

The late morning/early afternoon was spent walking around and looking at the mega-yachts.
We have had some new additions since we arrived on Easter Sunday.

During the afternoon, we dodged the dark skies & raindrops – and salvaged a 3 hour period on the beach or under the gazebo right near the beach.
I spent about an hour by myself on the beach.

It was almost magical/or euphoric to sit there in solitude, being the only one on the beach, with the crystal clear water lapping up to my feet (honorable mention to Carla D’Arca for the memory).

About 4pm, we watched a mega-yacht enter the harbor.

From the angle in the video, it looks like the new mega-yacht is just a little bigger than the yacht in front of it.
But not from the side view – wow.
The yacht in the front of the photo is a 50ft boat.
The mega yacht that just arrived is a 150ft vessel.

Thanks to some detective work from Deena – here are the specs of the Norma Jean
Click the Link = Norma Jean
I can’t get the link to display in a new page, hit the Return button after viewing the Super-Yacht.

Our night-time activity included the Card Game Golf, that we recently learned from our friends in Fort Myers.

The rest of the week looks like more rain – “Carl, The good lord would never disrupt the greatest boating trip of my life”. (Bishop Pickering – Caddy Shack, 1980)

But we have seen the weather forecast change quickly.
And even rain days are usually not a complete washout day.
Keep the faith, we are in the Exumas !

Day 4 = Wed Apr 12th

Ok, it’s Day 4 at Highborne Cay and we are getting itchy to move !

Highborne has been a great place to hide from the very high winds (25mph).
We have been totally isolated from the East Wind in our little slip on the west side of the island behind trees & bushes.
The Mahi has barely rocked or swayed for 4 days (sooo nice).

We were supposed to stay at Highborne for 6 nights, but as I mentioned yesterday – the weather forecast seems to change daily.
Hopefully we are being blessed again, the Wind forecast now looks good for over a week, starting tomorrow.
The Rain looks better starting tomorrow, but with pop up showers – but Fri, Sat & Sun look Sunny (Yea).

Wind Forecast

Rain Forecast

So after a lot of Consternation, Talking, Planning, Replanning, calling Marinas, calling for Mooring Balls – we have developed our plan for the next week –

Thu Apr 11th – Sat Apr 13th (3 nts) = The Exuma Land & Sea Park, Emerald Rock Mooring Balls.
Sun Apr 14th (1 nt) = Compass Cay Marina
Mon Apr 15th – Fri Apr 17th (4 nts) = Staniel Cay Marina & Resort

Today is a real bonified SOAKER, raining pretty steady all day.
So this will be the end of the posting from Highborne Cay Marina & Resort.

But before we go – we have 2 bonus Video/Trivia for You ;
1. A Jerry Luck Accordion Video ( requested by Steve Lang).
2. A Boating Trivia Question.

A few days ago, one of Jerry’s friends (Steve Lang) asked if Jerry had brought his Accordion with him on the trip. We responded that due to the supplies that we needed for 4 people for a month, the Accordion did not make the trip.
WE hope that you enjoy the musical treat – this video was filmed in Key Largo in 2019.

Todays Trivia Question = Where did the term “Head” come from, that signifies the Bathroom of a Boat ?

For the answer, please pan down to the bottom of this post

Pan Down

Pan Down

Pan Down

“Head” in a nautical sense referring to the bow or fore part of a ship dates to 1485. The ship’s toilet was typically placed at the head of the ship near the base of the bowsprit, where splashing water served to naturally clean the toilet area.

Port #3 – Nassau Bahamas

Hey blog followers,

It’s been a couple days since we last communicated with you.

This blog post will cover our 4 day stay in Nassau.

Day 0 – Nassau (Arrival Day April 5th)

We had a pretty rough ride from Chub Cay to Nassau. We had expected a rough ride, but we did not want to get stuck on Chub Cay for 4 days waiting for the winds to die on Sunday.

We’ll, we should have stayed at Chub Cay !
The seas were so rough, that the auto pilot kept shutting off.
So it was about 6 hours of steering up/down the waves hitting the port side bow, attempting to balance ride comfort, minimize roll, and stay on our course line.

While underway from Chub, we got our next piece of bad news – the Marina we wanted to stay at was booked (OMG-RATZ)
We then called 4-5 other marinas, all of them were booked (OMG-DOUBLE RATZ).

Many of you know me as “a planner” having missed no details. Well, it was a combination of –
1. Bimini & Chub marinas were easy to get into with 1 days notice.
2. A couple of the Exuma harbormasters told me – 1-2 days in advance is enough.
3. We did not really know when we were wanting to go to Nassau until the last minute, due to weather.
That’s my story for not having a Nassau reservation, and I’m sticking to it !

So while underway in 6-8ft waves, we frantically searched for some safe Anchorages.
The wind was out of the E/NE, so we needed to find an Anchorage on the west side of the island.
The waves wanted us to go east & north which would have made us miss the entire island of Nassau.
So we had to tac on our course a little.
We ended up approaching the island in the middle of Nassau, about 5 miles from the west side that we desired to anchor.
We had to surf the following seas back down to the west end of Nassau for our anchorage.

We ended up at a pretty cool honey-hole called the West Bay Anchorage. It is a large U-shaped cove open on the west side, surrounded by a bunch of nice homes. The Red Balloon is the marina we wanted to go to, the Blue Dot is our Boat. We wanted to go the Palm Cay Marina at the red balloon because it was away from all the chaos of Nassau, but close enough to taxi/Uber to for site seeing. And Palm Cay was planned back in March before we knew of 20mph east winds.

West Bay Anchorage photos –

In spite of the 3 sided protection, we are still experiencing a lot of swinging on the anchor line and a slow side-side roll. There are about 40 other boats with us in the large bay.

We welcomed ourselves to Nassau with a swim in the beautiful Bahamian waters of West Bay.

The arrival day ended with a beautiful sunset & a fabulous Taco dinner from Deena.

Day1-Nassau (Thu-Apr6)
Thursday was a very low-key day recuperating from the ride from Chub.

It was a work & task day.
Jerry did engine, Bilge checks.
We worked on the Audio System Speakers.
We washed the salt off off the Isinglass using the magic salt away product (magic potion, it works great).

But most importantly,  we spent most of the day calling marinas in Nassau for our remaining 2 days until the winds die down on Sunday.

Guess what – after telling us yesterday(wed) that they were booked thru the weekend,  we were able to get into the Marina that we desired in the first place – Palm Cay Marina.

So – persistence pays off, sqeeky wheel gets the grease, keep calling/bugging the marinas.

Day 2-Nassau (Fri-Apr7)

Anchor up = 09:15 hrs
Departure = 09:30 hrs

On to Palm Cay Marina for 2 nights , before we finally depart for the first of the Exuma Islands – Highborne Cay !

Well it’s been 3 days since a land shower or shave while being “on-the hook (at anchor). The Mahi does have shower facilities, but we are conserving our fresh water because it’s expensive in the Bahamas (typically $0.45/gallon).
Plus I made a bet with my buddy Jerry Sheller that I could go 1 month without a shave.
It seemed a good time to launch the bet.
Well, it looks like Jerry Scheller wins the bet, I can’t stand it.

Some guys just look bettery with facial hair & the ‘scuffy look”.
Take for instance this guy –

We arrived at the long awaited Palm Cay Marina at about 12:30 hrs.
The waves were still high, but we were on the leeward side of the island, so they were only 3-4 footers.
But our course was directly into the waves, so the boat and passengers did pretty well.

I had done a lot of reaserch on the marinas in Nassau.
We did not really want to stay on the north side of the island & all the chaos near the Atlantis resort & 15 other marinas in a 5 mile radius.
That is when Palm Cay Marina came into the picture back in Jan/Feb of this year.
Palm Cay had great reviews & photos, was in a quiet area of the island, and looked really good on-line.
But you never really know about a place until you get there.

Maybe it was the joy of being back in a comfy marina, or the end of 3 bouncy/rolly days on the water, or that we are just becoming better friends.
But during our usual “Safe Arrival Toast, we ended up with some unique photo ops:)

So after the “Safe arrival drinks” we started scoping out the marina.
Remember what I said about – you never really know until you are there ?


I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story.

After a few relaxation hours at the pool, we got cleaned up and went to dinner at The Pink Octopus Restaurant, one of two restaurants on-site.

Maybe it was the relief of being in a nice cozy marina again, maybe it was the beauty of the surroundings, or maybe it was just the great music. But the Luck’s had some romance in the air, tickling all the way down to their feet.

Jonell & I did not dance tonight, but we did share an excellent Shrimp & Calamari Pizza 🙂

Day=4 (Saturday, Apr 8)
Hummm – ok, it’s Saturday night and it appears that everyone is on the internet & everyone in the marina is using Verizon cell service.

All the lovely photos that we are sending you, usually take about 10 seconds to load.
Tonight, the photos are taking so long to load, that WordPress is timing out and not loading the photos (Errors).

The bottom line was – nothing really new for today.
More Pool, a little Beach, and another nice dinner.

We are off tomorrow from Nassau to Highborne Cay, the first of the Exuma Islands.

It will be about a 4 hour ride (36 miles), and the water is supposed to be perfect (note = Windfinder Pro & Sailflow are pretty good at identifying which days are good to go, but become less reliable on wave height predictions as the wind level goes up).

Talk to you in a couple days.

Port #2 – Chub Cay

Hey blog followers, We’ve had a couple interesting days, no Internet or Phone at our 2nd stop – Chub Cay.
So trying to catch up in this post. We are currently in Nassau Bahamas after a pretty rough ride from Chub Cay to Nassau (more to come).

I wrote this Chub Cay Post yesterday while we were doing our 100 mile trip yesterday, but just posting it today.

Port #2 – Chub Cay (Tuesday, April 4th)

It was another early start today.
Wake up at 06:00 hrs
Shove off at 07:00 hrs.

We had 101 miles to cover today, to move from North Bimini Island to Chub Cay (pronounced “Chub Key”).

The early morning jobs included –
1. Securing the Salon & Galley for rough seas.
2. Coiling up all the heavy 50 Amp power cables
3. Prepping the dock lines for an unassisted on-boat departure
4. Setting the Way Point & creating the Auto-Guideance Routes into the Chartplotter & IPAD.

Me & Jonell are very fortunate that the Lucks allow us to be fully submersed into the work activities.
It brings back great memories for us from The Loop.
Captain Luck allows me to set up the Chartplotter each day & Captain the Mahi while underway.
Maybe Docking will come later in the trip.

Our departure from Bimini was accompanied with some anxiety, because the wind had kicked up last night, and rocked the boat well into our night sleep.
Windfinder & Sailflow were both predicting about 15mph winds & 2-3 ft waves out of the east for our trip (not bad). But, we weren’t really sure that the ride would be soft, until we got out and around to the east side of Bimini Island.

All turned out OK- the waves were 1-2ft in the morning, growing to 3-4ft with some white caps in the afternoon. The waves were on our bow, creating a relatively soft fore-aft pitching ride.

It was good to get the 100 mile trip to Chub Cay behind us, because the wind is projected to increase again tomorrow & for the next 3 days. If we didn’t leave Bimini today,  we would have been stuck there until Sunday

The winds will kick up another 60% for tomorrow’s ride into Nassau, but we only have a 50 mile voyage so we can tough it out for the short ride. (as I edit this post one day later, OMG did the waves kick up Wednesday).

So back to our ride from Bimini Bahamas to Chub Cay. You may wonder ” what the heck do you do for a 10-11 hour / 100 mile ride ?

Well, we do the following –
1. Talk
2. Read
3. Take Naps
4. Listen to Music (Jazz & Blues)
5. Eat Lunch
6. Play “What’s that object in the distant horizon”
7. And of course we watch the Chartplotter & IPAD, and adjust the Auto-Pilot course as needed.

The Mahi Mahi has been a great vessel – she purrs along at 9mph / 1800rpm, and consumes a thrifty 5 gallons per hour (2 miles per gallon).

The new Chartplotter & Auto-Pilot that Jerry put in are working fabulously.
The Chartplotter has some nice features.
1. The Auto-Guideance feature is easy to program.
2. The Auto-Pilot overlays a nice tracking line which contains tic marks for distance. It’s easy to see how far away you are from the next marker, obstruction,  or other boats.
3. The Chartplotter is also acting as an AIS system,  showing us other boats near us & their names if they are transmiting. Jerry says that he did not pay for AIS, but it’s working.

See the photos below ;
Purple Line = Auto Guideance Course
Black Line w Tic Marks = Auto-Pilot Heading
Little Green Triangles  = Other Vessels near us
(see vessel “last mistake” right behind us).

Back to the game – “It’s a game where one of us says ” what’s that in the distant horizon?”.
Then we come up with crazy guesses –
1. It’s a very large tower.
2. It’s a freighter
3. It’s an oil rig
4. It’s a sailboat
5. It’s an Island
The Chartplotter is set on a 2 mile graduation mark, so the chart only shows about 20 miles of distance. And during the game, you can’t highlight the object.

Here is an example.
Ok, no cheating blog readers – you can’t blow up the 1st photo !

Tonight we are staying at the Chub Cay Marina & Resort. It is a private club, but does permit transient boat docking ($7/ft).
And if you pay an extra $19 per person, you can then eat at their clubhouse restaurant !
This was not a highly anticipated stop for us, but the options are limited in this area.
If we didn’t stay at Chub, we would have to had traveled 140 miles & 15 hours in one day, or anchor near Chub (and there were no good anchorages).

We decided after a long day on the water, a nice plumbed hot shower would be good.
So we arrived at Chub Cay only to find out
1. The Internet was not working
2. The entire island had been without cell service for hours before our arrival.
3. The Showers closed at 7pm (WHAT !!!)

But overall, Chub looked like a great place, and folks were very nice, but we really did not want to get stuck there for 3 days.

With The Lord’s blessing,  we will be off to Nassua tomorrow for 2 days of rest, before we head to “Highborne Cay”, our first island stop in the Exuma Islands.

Thanks for reading.
Sea you in a couple days.