Sunday, April 30, 2023

Da Bahamas!

We had heard from our trusted sailing friends on “Jayana” that the Bahamas had incredible cruising. They were right!  The amazing wildlife, crystal clear water and endless anchorages make it a place that we could spend a lifetime. 

When we arrived here, we had a great opportunity to visit a very remote atoll in the southern Bahamas because of a stretch of very settled weather. It was called Hogsty Reef and it was an unprotected dot in the middle of the ocean. There were many wrecks to dive, fish to hunt and even a few sharks around.  All of this made for some very interesting snorkeling. 

The visibility in the water was unreal. We have never been able to see nearly this far underwater anywhere else that we have visited. 

We saw many sharks while we were anchored at Hogsty Reef. It was unnerving to see them while we were snorkeling, but we quickly got used to it. It helped to have a spear gun - just in case!  They are incredibly graceful and beautiful underneath the waters surface. We saw blacktip reef sharks and nurse sharks. None over 5-6 feet long.  After the swimming was done, the kids decided to tie a fish head to a rope and attract all the sharks at once.  It was a highlight for them. 

We managed to get some frightening close-up footage of the sharks with the GoPro as well. 

Next, we found a nice & remote stretch of beach to chill and have a marshmallow roast. The water was super warm and we saw rays right from the beach. 

The anchorages in the Bahamas are so vast. It is shallow for miles, so you can literally put your boat anywhere you like.  It’s pretty crazy. 

We have become comfortable with snorkeling and holding our breath, so we wanted to visit a “Blue Hole”.  These are narrow, very deep holes that are typically used by free divers to practice their craft. Dean’s Blue Hole is on Long Island in the Bahamas and is the second deepest blue hole on the planet. 

The blue hole was surrounded by a conical sand beach that sloped down briefly and then dropped off into the abyss. The hole itself was only about 15-20 meters across, but was over 200 meters deep!  The way that the sand fell slowly into the hole was mesmerizing. 

Stu tried to swim down as deep as possible, but only made it to 15-20 meters deep. Interestingly, once you reach that depth, you are no longer buoyant and you start to sink (because of the compression on your lungs). It’s an advantage for the free divers, but it’s a very creepy feeling.  While we were there, some pro free divers were practicing for an upcoming global competition. One diver made it down to 110 meters that day!

The free divers used this rope tethered to the bottom for safety. It was useful for the kids to pull themselves down to see how deep they could go. 

The kids are growing up so fast on this trip and seeing so many wonderful things along the way. Micah had her 9th Birthday and got a nice boat cake!  The candles spelled “Congrats”, but she wanted it to say “Goats” instead :). Eva from “Nahla” was there to celebrate with us. 

The Bahamas are where Christopher Columbus first made landfall in 1492. We anchored near where it’s believed he and his crew first sighted land. Conception Island is now a nature reserve and it was stunningly beautiful. 

We snorkeled near a tiny deserted island off of Conception Island and flew the drone for some scenic shots. 

At Conception Island, we dinghied up a tidal estuary and saw many rays and turtles. 

After a couple weeks of remote cruising, we were ready for some civilization. We sailed to Georgetown, the largest town in the Exuma Cays. It’s a place where a lot of Canadian and American cruisers spend the whole winter season. During our sail over, we got to practice our light wind sailing techniques, and flew the mizzen staysail. 

While we were in Georgetown, The Bahamian Annual Family Regatta was on. Teams come from all over the Bahamas to race traditional Bahamian Skiffs. The racing was awesome to see as we chased the sailboats around in our dinghy. 

At the cruisers restaurant called “Chat-n-Chill”, the stingrays have gotten very accustomed to people and would come by for a quick touch on the back. 

Near Georgetown was a defunct marina complex with a blasted-out canal for dinghy access. It was great for cliff jumping!

There were a few turtles in the canal as well and we got to swim with them too. 


After Georgetown, we will continue to sail north up the chain of Exuma Cays. We will take our time in this part of the world because it is unbelievably beautiful.  We have plans to be in Nassau by the second week of May. Thanks for watching & reading!  Feel free to comment or send us an email :)

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