As we slowly motored out of the harbor, we had a plan. A plan that had been weeks in the making. A plan that included anchorages that we loved and people we enjoyed. A plan that only required a short, comfortable sail to the next island.
Dumping the Plan
As we rounded the cut and headed into Exuma Sound, the winds were light and the skies were clear. We had a beautiful day to sail and only 2 hours to our destination. We looked at each other and it was clear that we were up for an adventure. The prevailing easterly winds shifted and opened up the possibility for us to sail to the Out Islands. We hung a left, turning 90 degrees to port and headed to Cat Island. By our calculation we should arrive at the end of daylight in about 7 hours.
Out Island Solitude
At sunset we dropped anchor in front of the pristine white sand beaches of Bennetts Bay. We'd left an anchorage filled with 25 boats and pulled into an anchorage on the north of sleepy Cat Island. There was only one other boat in the bay...already I'm loving this place.
Exploring Cat Island included watching turtles as we kayaked the mangroves and hiking to the Hermitage on the highest point in the Bahamas. We moved the boat to New Bight in the southern part of the island and found a few more people and services, but the slow pace remained.
Cat Island, Bahamas
As soon as we arrived in Cat Island we received an email from Dean's cousin who was headed to a resort on Long Island. With our original plan we would have missed them, but now we are just a days sail from where they'll be...such luck!
Early afternoon we pulled into Calabash Bay just off the Santa Maria Resort. The local fishermen were harvesting their catch as we went ashore to explore and find our relatives, Jim and Barbie. We haven't had many opportunities to share Snowcat II with friends and family, so watching sunsets and enjoying the bay with relatives was an extra special treat.
Heading South to Thompson Bay
There is a lot to see on Long Island, so after our family visit we moved the boat south to Thompson Bay to check out the rest of the island. Once again we were surrounded by dozens of fellow cruisers, but this time we were ready to be social again. Going ashore we met a lot of sailors at some of the local happy hours at Sous Side and Tiny's. The Saturday Farmer's Market provided some of the first fresh produce we've seen in a month!
We rented a car one day to get a better feel for the Island. Of course we had to find Dean's Blue Hole! Popular with free divers, this hole is over 600 feet deep and one of the world's deepest known seawater blue holes. From there we found the Hamilton's Cave. Leonard Cartwright owns this limestone cave which has been in his family since 1847. He gave us a fascinating tour of this local treasure first inhabited by the Lucayan Indians in 500 A.D.
Long Island, Bahamas
We're so glad that we dumped our plans and followed our instincts to the Out Islands of the Bahamas. What we learned? Set your plans aside and let the wind take you to the next adventure.3