Bimini to Nassau to Pimlico Cay
Stopped in Nassau for a few days to wait out weather, reprovision and to use as a hopping off point for the Exumas, a mere 30 miles to the southeast. I’ll admit, we had a preconceived idea of what we’d find in Nassau, partly fueled by our cruising guidebooks and their geriatric writers, and by the mass of cruise ships we saw anchored off the west side of the harbor. We thought it would be a crowded and dirty piece of land, that held nearly half the population of the entire Bahamas, most of them who were most likely criminals. Turns out, of course, we were wrong. In fact, we were a little enamored with Nassau, especially since it had the amenities of a “major city”, most of which were conveniently located just across the street of our marina, which was beautiful and fairly inexpensive for Nassau.
We found a large American-style supermarket, a BTC, a nice liquor store, and best of all – a Starbucks with free WiFi and a Dominos pizza. Huzzah!! Paradise! We spent every morning at Starbucks, leaching of the strong Internet connection and enjoying overpriced lattes, which were unfortunately, not nearly as good as the Cuban coffee I had grown to love in Key West. However, they did still have Pumpkin Spice, which usually disappears around December, so that was a plus.
We spent an entire day giving the boat an epic scrub down thanks to the unlimited fresh water at the marina. I haven’t seen her look that shiny in a while. I’m sure it won’t last long, but something in seeing the boat all spanky clean and organized made us feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. We’ve sailed our own boat from MD to FL then some more to the Keys then over to the Bahamas. All by ourselves. And we’re all still ok. Holy sh*t. Amazing, considering we don’t think of ourselves as being sailors. I’ve been trying to record our progress on the paper charts we bought, tracking our coordinates every hour over long passages. And to think this was all Greek to us when we bought them. My, we’ve come a long way.
Had another come-to-Jesus moment when we went shopping in the American-style grocery store. We were warned about Bahamas prices, and expected them to be higher because they basically import everything, but nothing prepared us for some of the numbers we saw. I thought they were in Euros for a second. $8 for a box of Cheerios. $10 for a clamshell container of spinach. $2 PER lemon. Good lord. We wandered over to the liquor store next, sure to find the same extraordinary prices, and were not disappointed. A case of Coors Light was $55. Kalik, the beer of the Bahamas, brewed just a few miles away in Freeport was only slightly cheaper at $42. However, I found plenty of wines for $10-$15 a bottle, only a few more dollars then what they are in the states. How can a bottle of California wine, shipped nearly 3,000 miles to this little store in Nassau be cheaper than a beer brewed just an island away?
Guess who we ran into at the marina in Nassau? The trawler group we had met at the marina in Bimini. They seemed much warmer to us this time around. I guess it’s because we made our own travel plan and stuck to it despite the general consensus of ‘the group’ against it, made the two day trip across the Grand Bahama Bank and Tongue of the Ocean all alone, got ourselves safely to a marina in Nassau, and caught an epic sized Mahi Mahi along the way. I guess that makes us credible to them now. Ha.
We departed Nassau on Monday 2/2 without even watching the Superbowl the night before. Instead we had dinner with an interesting Kiwi couple who were twice our age but entertained us all night with the interesting stories of their life and how they came to be at this little marina in Nassau with us as their dinner companions. Only realized that the Patriots won thanks to a discarded newspaper at Starbucks the next morning. Bummer. As Ravens fans, we really wanted to see the Pats go down. Oh well, another golden ring for the Golden Boy, Tom Brady.
We were going to cross over to Allens Cay as our entry point to the Exumas, but found that the wind wanted to take us in a different direction, so we set a course for Pimlico Cay, just north. It was a beautiful day of sailing, and thankfully the clear sky and noon sun made the dark ominous coral heads we had to navigate thru very obvious and easy to read in the water. In some areas, they looked like landmines on our charts, but in reality, they were much farther spaced and easy to navigate through than we had once feared.
Once we anchored and settled in, we loved the fact that we were the only ones in the little half moon harbor of Pimlico Cay. Unfortunately, there were no white sandy beaches, only a cliff of coral that provided a nice backdrop of crashing waves to add to our quiet, isolated Caribbean hideaway.
We heard on the VHF the other boats that were headed to Allens Cay complaining of the crowded anchorage and poor holding, and just laughed. They seemed to be having a hell of a time getting a good spot, and here we were just a few miles to the North enjoying a little slice of heaven all to ourselves. We were treated to another beautiful sunset – this one completely unobstructed by land or other boats – and enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner and watched as the full moon took the sun’s place in the eastern sky. Matt decided to drop his swimsuit and enjoy the moment au naturel. It’s seems I’d be staring at two full moons that night. My lucky night. Eventually we fell asleep right there in the cockpit, feeling accomplished that we had finally made it to the Exumas, and excited for what the next few weeks of exploring them would bring.