Sunday, May 7, 2017

Highbourne Cay, Exumas

Lunch at Xuma

The winds finally decided to calm down for one day, so we moved from Allen's Cay to Highbourne Cay. Highbourne Cay has a very large anchorage which attracts all the megayachts. There is a marina, but it is geared toward the crowd that carries high end credit cards. We wouldn't even consider paying their slip fee for one night. So, we anchored outside with a number of 100 - 150 foot luxury yachts and a few regular sailboats.

We enjoyed the new view and the fact our boats were actually riding fairly smoothly for the first time in a week. We all looked forward to a good night's sleep for once. Don and Mike made plans to dinghy to the marina the next morning to top off some diesel jugs while the girls stayed aboard to get all prettied up for lunch ashore. Gail and Brenda were excited to be getting dresses out for the first time in a very long time. We knew Xuma (the marina restaurant) was a bit more upscale than we were used to, so the ladies wanted to dress for the occasion.

The ladies looked beautiful in their colorful dresses. The guys cleaned up as well before we dinghied in for lunch.The small marina was so picturesque with neat buildings, grounds and landscaping. We followed the path to Xuma which leads you along their swimming beach. Wow, what a view!

Gail and Brenda

The waiter gave us the corner table overlooking the beach which was perfect. The menu is pricey, but it does have some interesting items on it. We ordered a couple of appetizers and some drinks as we settled into what we planned to be a leisurely lunch. Everyone but Mike ordered the sangria which turned out to be a big hit. Several of those sangrias were eventually brought to our table. The food was all very good and the scenery was beautiful. We knew we were spending way too much money, but we hadn't spent one penny in over a week which helped us justify the expense.

View from Xuma

After lunch we walked down to the beach and enjoyed the lounge chairs for a while. Then we walked over to the cabanas to marvel at the opulence of the megayacht lifestyle. The boat staff from one megayacht had set up a picnic lunch in one cabana and then stacked thick white monogrammed towels in the second cabana for the owners. Once the owners returned to their yacht the staff returned to clean up and retrieve the picnic equipment and the towels. Nice life.

The girls snuck off for ice cream!

We decided that even though we didn't have boat staffs that we should use a cabana for a while too. Hey, our life isn't too bad either.

We noticed a big rain cloud coming toward us, so we did what any smart sailor does, we headed back to the protection of Xuma's bar. After sampling a few of the bar's exotic drinks and enjoying the good company we ran out of excuses to stay any longer. We climbed back into our dinghy and returned to our boats for the evening. Visions of another good night's sleep were in all of our heads. We hadn't fully decided at this point whether we were going further south in the Exumas or starting to work our way toward Florida. After viewing several forecasts which once again showed southwesterly winds we decided it was best to head northwest to New Providence. We went to bed in fairly calm water only to be jarred awake by an awful surge at 3:15 a.m. What happened to the famous east winds in the Bahamas?

Although we had planned on leaving at 8 a.m. we were all awake earlier and decided to just get going. We started the diesel and as always checked the exhaust to make sure it was pumping cooling water out. Hmmm, no water today. We shut down the motor and Mike started troubleshooting. The belt was good, the strainer was clear and water flowed in with the hose removed from the pump. Next Mike pulled the water pump and inspected the impeller. It appeared to be in good shape. After replacing and tensioning the belt with a new one we tried the motor again. Ok, water is pumping. As Mike was pulling the anchor for the second time Brenda saw that the water flow had stopped again. Dang it.

Mike rechecked everything and replaced the impeller just to make sure. At 8:30 a.m. we tested the motor again and all was well. Up came the anchor for the third time and we were on our way. We figured that if the motor problem resurfaced we would just sail to New Providence and work on the problem there.

The sail to New Providence is 50 miles and the forecasts all said 1-2 foot waves with 8-10 knot winds. Sounded perfect to us. We put up our sails and motorsailed to make good time. We were cruising along at 6 knots in 2-4 foot seas which we figured would lay down like the forecast predicted. No such luck. The waves stayed really rolly all day long which made for a tiring 10 hour crossing. As we approached New Providence a big ugly black storm was brewing to the northwest. We dropped all our sails just to be prepared for any nasty wind gusts. Without any sails up and bashing through waves Wrinkles just doesn't have the horsepower to keep up a good speed. We really slowed down for a long stretch. Don and Gail have a new 52 horsepower diesel and can easily power along. But, they graciously stayed with us until we reached our destination. The storm stayed just northwest of us which was a relief. We were all exhausted by the time we dropped our anchors in West Bay at 6:30 p.m. At least the diesel ran perfectly all day.


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