Sunday, February 1, 2015

Little Halls Pond, Cambridge, and Pipe Cays

Dodging more weather and in need of groceries we decided to run back to Staniel Cay before turning back around. Lo and behold and happily for us we found our good friends aboard Piper who we first met in Maryland and spent a lot of fun times with over the Summer and Fall. Tripp, Finn, Andy and Drew went a-hunting and brought back fish and lobster for dinner. We also enjoyed happy hour on Super Bowl Sunday at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club and talked about places we wanted to visit. Our ideas meshed well so we knew we would get to spend some time together over the next several days. On our way north to Little Hall's Pond Cay we heard from No Rehearsal who were sailing north from Georgetown and wanted to catch up with us. They caught THREE mahi mahi on their 70 mile sail and were generous enough to share. So we combined forces and had a tasty dinner aboard Tangent with everyone pitching in. Over the next few days we all got a chance to do some great snorkeling, socializing and excited ogling of the insane preparations for Johnny Depp's "simple" wedding on Little Hall's Pond which he owns. We actually got kicked out of the anchorage by the Exuma Park Rangers because they were going to conduct "defense training operations" aka "ogling tourist and annoying paparazzi expulsion exercises" over the next few days. I'm sure Mr. Depp made a generous contribution to the Park for their services. It was a fun few days together!
Dinner caught near Staniel Cay. That's a lionfish to the left which is an invasive species. It's ok to kill them just for elimination purposes but during a blind taste test when Kurt and Will were here everyone loved the lionfish. You have to be very careful cleaning it to avoid the venomous spines but it is worth the effort if you get a bunch and can make a meal out of it. The other fish are margate and mahogany snapper which Lisa cooked whole.

Drew and Finn posing before cleaning

Lisa calling the 80s 

The crew of Piper anchored at Little Hall's Pond Cay

No Rehearsal is a Catana 52. A beautiful, solid and fast catamaran

Kids enjoying fresh mahi mahi

A sea plane making a delivery of all kinds of crap to Johnny Depp's island. This guy made several more deliveries during our 24 hours there.

All of us watching the sea plane land right behind us. We all clapped like idiots when he landed. Kind of like you impulsively do when the pilot of a jet successfully touches down on the runway without killing everyone. Yaaaayyyy! 

The pilot then took off and threaded the needle between No Rehearsal and that boat in front of them. Show off! 

This barge full of construction equipment and lumber showed up while we were sleeping

This is the tent village set up presumably for all the guests. It looked pretty deluxe in a rustic sort of way. Where is a telephoto lens when you need one?

No shame. Apparently security-esque types can make eye contact through binoculars. Weird. 

Here's Daryl at the helm of No Rehearsal. We first saw them in Annapolis over the summer and couldn't miss them when we spotted them up north, again at the boat show in the fall and then finally in Georgetown where they sailed beautifully into the harbor on the kind of day that would have kicked our butts and no one else was out there. 

Piper suiting up for a snorkel on a plane wreck

The plane wrecks are kind of creepy but there are lots of them

Drew loves the water and can dive deeper and deeper with ever improving breath and buoyancy control. Evelyn loves the fish identification and is starting to dive down too. And she has started pressing forward instead of scurrying back to the dinghy when she hears "barracuda" or "shark"

Nurse shark. We see lots of these

Nassau Grouper with lionfish above. Nassau Grouper season starts March 1!

The one and only picture of just the two of us together in a long time. That's a nice drop of water on the lens for artistic effect. Probably for the best given our dreadful bathing attire. But hey, that's a really pretty sand bar near O'Brien's Cay.

Cute kids being sharks

Drew calls this the lazy river. It's fun to drift along with the current

The crew of Piper heading back after our afternoon recreation. We anchored here in the morning and got kicked out in the afternoon by the Exuma Park Rangers. We decided that if it were our island we'd be really cool and invite everyone anchored out to the wedding. Because that's the type of famous people we'd be. Not selfish party poopers like Johnny Depp.

We always have a million dishes in the sink. It's hard to keep up when you make everything from scratch in a tiny space without a dishwasher. Evelyn gave up soon after this. 

After a night at Cambridge Cay we moved to the west/bank side of Pipe Cay. Daryl, Andy and Drew went out and caught these beauties

The one Andy is holding is actually a really nice size which makes the big one look like a monster

Kind of unappetizing when you really look at them

Drew is now a capable fish and lobster cleaner. He gagged the first time he cleaned a fish but now he delights in making others gag

A lovely dinner aboard No Rehearsal at Pipe Cay. We all got a lot of sun that day

When we talk about fronts coming through this is actually what they look like. It just rolls in and the wind spends a few hours or a day clocking around. Sometimes it's strong, sometimes it's weak so sometimes we have to move to an appropriately protected spot and sometimes we just stay put. But we're getting tired of these things because we often have to move, talk about it and plan around it more than we'd like to. This one brought in a lot of cold air, rain and high winds. This pattern might benefit us when we try to sail to windward on our way to the Caribbean but that's a post for another day.

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