Saturday, May 2, 2015

Norman's Cay

After our little debacle in West Bay, we decided to move Moitessier to right outside Old Fort Bay so that we would have an easier time leaving before sunrise from New Providence to make it to Allens Cay with enough daylight to spare.  Luckily for us, at that point, the winds had died down, so being unprotected was no longer a problem.  Waking up around 5am, we headed over to Allens Cay, it was pretty uneventful except when we entered the cut, we noticed that there was not a single place we could anchor.  The anchorage was narrow with shallow water on either side, and there were boats EVERYWHERE.  Turning around to get out was a little challenging as the current running through there was also pretty strong.   Since there were really not many other options to anchor our deep draft boat, we ended up anchoring outside on the west side of Highborne Cay, with a strong west wind.  This was incredibly nerve wracking as it was unsheltered, and the bow of the boat kept bashing into the water.  Since we didn't want to risk dragging into the lee shore, we decided an anchor watch was necessary through the night given our circumstances, we had no other choice but to stay wary and alert, in case we did drag.

After a restless night, we pulled anchor early in the morning to make our way further south to Norman's Cay which was the next place on our route.  We ended up getting stuck here for about 10 days, as a huge front came through, pummeling us with bad weather for a week straight.  It's a pretty remote little place with no stores or anything, except one bar/restaurant with overpriced fare, and so on our last couple of days, we were forced to be creative with our cans, as we had not prepared to be stuck for so long.  Those days were spent dreaming about all the foods that we missed….burgers, broccoli, foie gras, steak tartare, chocolate, arugula, mushrooms, ice cream.

Bad weather...
Ashley learning to play guitar

One of the highlights of Norman's Cay that you absolutely must see, is the sunken plane.   This was one of the drug running planes that had crashed during the height of cocaine smuggling in the 80's when the whole of Normans was under the control of the nefarious drug lord Carlos Lehder.  There is actually a reference to the island in the movie, Blow.    From above the water, you can see the hull of the plane, and it doesn't look like anything special, but the moment you enter the water, it becomes quite a magical site.  The plane is covered in a colorful array of coral, and there are fish in every nook and cranny.  I can't deny though that snorkeling in some parts of the plane creeped me out a little.  There was something very eerie about it, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting a little scared whenever I passed by the cockpit.  It felt a little haunted and at times, almost like something was watching me.  Irrational I know, but that still didn't keep my heart rate down.


Another highlight during our weather imprisonment was that we ended up hanging out with a group of young professionals from NY who had chartered a boat for a week and were passing through.  We had a little beach party on one of the tiny little islands, and since they weren't cruisers, they had plethora of goodies that we were dreaming about….fresh salsa, champagne, brie, and even pumpernickel!  What a treat it was to not only talk to some younger people but we got to indulge ourselves a little over a bonfire.  You'd think that we were some sort of primitive animal, being stuck on a boat with just the three of us for a week straight with nothing to do but sing songs, have dance parties, philosophize over the meaning of life, and elaborately plan meals out of the stores we had left.

Lil island we had the bonfire on

On one of our mornings there, I was awakened by hearing Frank go to Ashley, "We're about to get hit…"  Scrambling to get my clothes on, I thought for sure we were dragging into someone. When I got on deck, I noticed Frank at the bow of the boat fending off this big powerboat called "Daddy's Money" whose stern was bashing into our bowsprit.   Apparently this guy had somehow dragged into us or perhaps the current had swept him into us, but when we finally fended him off, all the captain's wife could manage to say was "Whoopsies!"  No apologies, nothing…just whoopsies….and then motored off.  Not even hailing us on the radio to apologize.  Some people really have nerve.   What I couldn't understand was, even through it all, why didn't the captain just drive the boat forward so that his stern wasn't repeatedly bashing into us?   Ashley and I had even thought of going to their boat in our dinghy afterward, and saying something like, "Hey, we forgive you for crashing into us this morning.   There wasn't too much damage done to our boat, but do you think you could give us all the fresh produce you have in your fridge as consolation.  We'll call it even then…"  But of course, we didn't have the audacity to do that, and left well enough alone, instead we just vented about it to each other throughout the day, getting more indignant with each re-telling of the "Whoopsies!"  Fortunately, they left the anchorage shortly after the incident, as our anger over the situation was starting to get the best of us.  I guess there is something to be said about acceptance, that sometimes in life, you are going to encounter people who lack wit as well as a fully developed brain.  You simply can't change the world, and making peace with that fact is all a part of growing up.

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