Monday, April 20, 2009

April 19, 2009.

On our last evening anchored behind Green Turtle Cay we had an anchor drill of sorts. Chris and Craig on Tilt noticed that the unoccupied boat next to them was drifting away after a brief bit of high wind had come through. They were prepped to leave for the states in the morning and their dinghy was already lashed on deck. So they called Norm on Blown Away and asked if he could take care of the errant boat. I called Norm and asked him to pick me up and we could reset the anchor for these people. Norm put his dink back in the water and zipped over to get me and we hightailed it over to the s/v Sunrise.

I climbed aboard while Norm took his lookie bucket out to check out their anchor. The anchor was just laying on its side on the bottom so I let out more scope until there was 175 feet out. The boat stopped moving and all seemed well. It turned out that the people had been at a waterside restaurant and were on their way back because they saw that their boat was leaving without them. They were very thankful for our help and the event turned into just another interesting way to meet people.

The next morning we sailed the 5 miles north to Manjack Cay. All I can say is “what a place”. The anchorage offers decent protection from the north, east and south. The Blown Aways have good friends that have been living here for over 15 years. Leslie and Bill have created themselves a tropical paradise here on the cay.

They live in a large home surrounded by wide rambling porches. I don’t know what Leslie did before she moved here to the cay but she should have been a botanist. When we met her she was in her gardening clothes and working her way through the yard trimming and managing their astounding foliage. The first impression I had when I stepped off their dock was just how good their property smelled. Tropical plants were flourishing everywhere.

She graciously took the time to show us around their property. They grow their own vegetables and keep bees and chickens as well. The entire household runs off solar panels much like our boat does. They have a huge series of tin roofs that act as a rain collection system that channels water into their cistern. Very cleverly they use an above ground swimming pool assembled under a roof as the cistern itself. Ingenuity just oozes around every corner. They start a lot of their plants in a hydroponics system that’s automated, quite productive and all powered by the sun. They are also allowing us to use their wifi so we can keep in touch.

The cay is crisscrossed with beautiful trails and walkways through dense foliage. They built a boardwalk that crosses a mangrove swamp. The mangroves grow unimpeded as you walk the narrow plank path several feet above the water. It’s just beautiful.

Another great thing about this place is the diving. On the ocean side there is a reef system that goes for miles and miles. The wind is supposed to clock around to the south and then west so the water should be perfect for spearfishing. But who can wait for the weather….

We took the dinghies out a small cut and onto the ocean side. Big seas were breaking on the reef close to a half mile offshore. Inside the outer reef is a maze of coral heads, one after another. The water was pretty stirred up but visibility was still good enough to do some hunting.

Norm took a humongous grouper while I harvested a Margate, an Almaco Jack and another really nice Hogfish. I saw a ton of nice fish and even a grouper that would have probably beaten me to death if I had tried to take him. Norm and I might have to gang up on that bad boy. So this place is a slice of heaven, we’ll be staying for about a week or until the next weather window allows us to cross back to the states.

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