July 2019: Sailing around Exuma, swimming pigs, iguanas, and sharks

Addie, Shannon and Ashley spent July 4th week at the Exuma islands in Bahama checking things out for later in the summer when Mak and Ella were coming back with friends.

After sailing about 6 hours from Nassau Yacht Haven (where Aventis had been docked during our time in NC during June), we stopped at Leaf Cay for the night so we could check out the iguanas on the beach and swim.

The current is strong so we always make sure to swim off the back of the boat with a “911 line”.

The next day we sailed south to Warderick Wells Cay in the National Exuma Park, where we spent 2 nights. 

We were greeted by the locals right away. Our guess is that these nurse sharks get fed by boaters. They never came up to us while we were swimming though.

We walked to the top of BooBoo Hill to call the girls and let them know we were ok. Turns out the cell tower on Highbourne Cay went down in the middle of our first night at Leaf Cay so communications were spotty at best. Cruisers leave driftwood with their boat name and date at the top of BooBoo Hill.

The view to the east from the top of BooBoo Hill on Warderick Wells.
The view to the west from the top of BooBoo Hill. Aventis is the middle boat.

We took the dinghy out for a ride around the islands around Warderick Wells and found our new favorite beach. A private beach with perfectly white soft sand, crystal clear water, and rocks for jumping off into the water. 

And of course, we spent many evenings relaxing and watching amazing sunsets…

When we were motoring to Highbourne Cay, we had an awesome dolphin escort.

While at anchor at Highbourne Cay, we saw two sets of amazing fireworks on July 4th. One set was from a mega-yacht and lasted about an hour. The other set was from the resort on Highbourne Cay and lasted about 30 minutes.

We finished our week with our last night at Allen’s Cay (right across from Leaf Cay where we were the first night). We like this spot because it is only big enough for one boat to anchor in the harbor and you have a private beach, except for the iguanas. It is the perfect spot to leave from when heading back to Nassau. 

We spent about 10 days in Blowing Rock taking care of a few house projects and visiting with friends and family. We got to enjoy the Blackberry Festival in Lenoir, NC with Julie (Shannon’s mom) and Jack. Here is Addie with the Blackberry Lady:

We had dinner and visited with our friends the Tageson’s.

Ashley had a visit with her siblings (Greg, Brie, Brandy and Lindsey) in Greensboro NC.

Makenzie and her friend, Kate, went to San Francisco for a few days…

Ella and her friend, Ramsey Parker join Addie, Ashley and Shannon on the boat for a week in late July. Makenzie stayed home to watch the dogs. After a quick provisioning, we headed from Nassau back over to the Exuma islands. Our first night was at Norman’s Cay. 

Ella and Ramsey swimming after a day of sailing.
Sunset at Norman’s Cay.

Then it was off to Stainel Cay to see the swimming pigs. When we arrived, they tried to jump in the dinghy with us to get the food we brought over for them. Once we got onto the beach, the girls had a great time with the pigs.

Also while at Staniel Cay, we got to snorkel Thunderball Grotto. This is where the James Bond movie, Thunderball, was filmed in 1965.

We then went back to Warderick Wells and tried to show Ella and Ramsey our favorite private beach, but it was not so private on this day (another cruising family already staked it out for the day) so we found another secluded beach!

Over the course of the week, we observed many beautiful sunsets…

We had a fun and relaxing week with Ella and Ramsey!

And Makenzie did a great job taking care of the dogs back in Blowing Rock/Boone. Next month it is her turn in the islands!

Chance missed us!

Coming up next month: More adventures in Exuma

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