Monday in Nassau was a very busy day, Steve met with a guy at 9 am to see if he could fix the dinghy motor, end result was no, so he shopped around and found a brand new 2 stroke 5 HP mercury outboard, the SAME as our 18 yr. old one. I apologize for the “wordiness” but this kind of needs an explanation. Our current dinghy davits are too low to keep our inflatable dinghy hanging when we do passages, ultimate goal will be to get a back arch on the boat that can carry a hard bottom dinghy (another future goal) and get a higher horsepower motor that can be lifted on & off with a winch. In the mean time Steve has to LIFT the motor on & off the boat so the current one is just the right size. Got it delivered and took apart the old motor for spare parts, filled up new gas can (came with motor) & old gas can and of course went to the grocery store to re-provision (cruisers never pass up a grocery store)
Tuesday after topping off with fuel (we had heard Georgetown had been out of diesel for a few weeks so we top off whenever it is easy and available) we are once again leaving Nassau shortly after 9. It had rained over night so humidity is up, light winds, blue skies with calm seas, a beautiful motor sail to Shroud Cay. We are anchored by 4:30, get the dinghy out and set up and go for a test ride with the new motor. Starts right up, does NOT stall out in neutral, we are so happy, we no longer have a “clunker car”, well at least the motor part. As we are test driving Pipe muh Bligh (another Kemah TX. boat) comes into the anchorage, we met them at Norman's, and they had returned to Nassau to pick up a friend flying in to visit and were docked next to us. Back to our boat in time to enjoy our sundowners watching the sun set to the west with the full moon rising over the Island to our east.
Wednesday we are up early ready to explore the Island with the dinghy. We take the main creek on the north, thinking it goes all the way to the other side, but we come to a dead end and have to walk across to the beach on the sound side. Beautiful beach, but not the “place” we were looking for. We had seen a turn off to another creek so we backtrack and find Driftwood beach & Camp Driftwood. It is a fabulous beach and where the creek flows out to the Sound on an outgoing tide it creates a water surge to rival any water park ride. When we get there, there are 2 dinghies there and we see them riding the tidal flow. It does not take us long to jump into the cold water and enjoy the ride. The water is deep flowing down to a sand bar before dumping out into the sound, so the hard part is to stop and walk back across the sandbar to the beach with a very strong undertow. It is a blast, and we ride it several times wishing the tide was not slowing down. Next we climb up the path to “camp driftwood” which no longer exists, BUT the views are still worth the climb. Once upon a time back in the 60's a man living on his boat near by built himself this camp up on the ridge out of driftwood. From the stories it was once quite impressive and over the years cruisers stopping by would add things. Well I guess it got out of hand and dangerous as the parks people removed it all, now there is just the sign please don't leave anything and the beautiful views. Back to the boat for lunch and then into another part of the Island to hike to a fresh water well. Back before water makers, boats would stop here to get fresh water. NOT an easy walk carrying nothing, glad I don't have to lug a couple of jerry cans for water. Next stop Neptune's Oasis, a coral reef close by to snorkel at. Weather & water both warming up, for snorkeling with wet suits it's comfortable.
Thursday we make a reservation on the VHF radio for a mooring at Warderick Wells for Friday, the parks headquarters and most popular Island of the park. Nice calm day so we get the kayaks out and go out to explore another section of the Island winding our way up a creek through the mangroves. We bring the hand held GPS with us, a good thing because it would be easy to get lost in the mangrove swamp in the interior. Nothing much to see but a lot of mangroves, but the water is crystal clear, so you can see everything on the bottom, the sky is blue and clear, temperature perfect, and who could ask for more. Oh yeah, the paddle into the mangroves was against the tidal current, but the ride out is with it, so no paddling, just a beautiful sun drenched glide on a magic carpet. Relaxing afternoon on the boat getting ready to leave on Friday.
link to pictures; http://picasaweb.google.com/103931849054358791487/ShroudCay?feat=directlink