Steve waited at Eddies Edgewater in George Town for  Clarence Propane to fill our empty propane tank on his weekly propane refill stop there, while I finished some last-minute provisioning at Exuma Market.  Being there deliberately early after filling our water jugs, Steve was first in line when Clarence Propane turned up promptly at 11 am, so we were back on the boat at Kidd’s Cove and had weighed anchor shortly after noon.  It was a strange feeling, as we sailed past the anchorages at Volley Ball Beach and the Monument to be saying goodbye, after making this our home for almost 6 weeks, the longest we have stayed on one place since leaving Queen City Yacht Club. We said goodbye to our friends on the morning Cruisers Net, and left through Conch Cay Cut.

Leaving George Town

Leaving George Town

We did not have far to go, having decided to spend a night at Emerald Bay Marina, where we could recharge our ailing, failing elderly batteries with a good dose of shore power, do our laundry, have showers, access wifi and other luxuries. Our friends (from QCYC), Ken and Deanna on Allure, had left a few hours before us and were there to greet us when we arrived.  We have really enjoyed their company and getting to know them better since they arrived in George Town in early February.  They had made dinner reservations at the Grande Isles for an early Valentines dinner out, so we decided to make it a foursome. In the meantime we got busy with loads of laundry including all our bedding, cleaning the boat and making a trip to the nearby liquor store (a good one) to stock up on wine for the rest of our stay in the Bahamas. We had a great dinner out, the Grande Isles being a lovely resort and one of the nicest places for fine dining on Great Exuma.

A mushroom rock near Rudder Cut

A mushroom rock near Rudder Cut

I did a fourth load of laundry and tried troubleshooting my dysfunctional wifi antenna with the Bitstorm service center while I had wifi access. They gave me a few more things to test and try but I ran out of time as Steve finished cleaning the boat and we rushed to leave Emerald Bay at noon to get to Rudder Cut before low tide. Allure had left ahead of us, but we made good time, sailing in decent wind all the way and we came into the cut just behind them. We heard our friend on Options III, Brian and Yvonne hailing on the VHF radio, and found out they were anchored just around the corner between the Darby Cays (Little and Big) near Rudder Cut. They suggested we anchor to the left near them after entering the cut. We saw a few other sailboats in the anchorage which was sheltered from most directions, so we pulled in behind them, over some patchy coral, and anchored in sand….however, our anchor did seem to get wrapped around a patch of coral despite our best efforts not to.

Ken diving down to take a closer look at the mermaid

Ken diving down to take a closer look at the mermaid

Our goal in entering this particular cut and  anchoring nearby was to check out the underwater sculpture, commissioned by David Copperfield, the coordinates for which La Toison D’or had acquired when they shot the commercial for the Superbowl. Of course they shared it with us, and we shared it with Allure and then Options 111. We had arrived just before slack low tide (as planned)! Ken and Deanna picked us up in their dinghy as soon as we anchored and we took our iPad with GPS and charts as well as our snorkel gear. We had no difficulty finding the sculpture which sits in 12 feet of water at low tide, in a small bay off Rudder Cut Cay. It was beautiful – a mermaid resting against the piano stool next to a full-sized grand piano. The light was filtering through the water and reflecting off her tail. A few fishes darted in and out of the piano. Very special. We were thankful again for such an opportunity.

Mermaid Coordinates:

23 52. 163 north
76 14 157 west
The web site is www. underwatersculpture.com

Meanwhile, back on T’ai Chi, I quickly put the pressure cooker on for the lamb, which I had been marinating in garlic, red wine, onion and fresh thyme. I LOVE my pressure cooker – 45 minutes for a tender, well-cooked, flavourful Lamb Daube! It’s fast and very economical on cooking fuel. Ken and Deanna, Brian and Yvonne all came over for dinner so we celebrated Valentine’s day in style, in the company of friends, on T’ai Chi. We were surprised to find out that both other couples had been together longer than we had – Yvonne had met Brian when she was 13, and Ken and Deanna were high school sweet hearts. So as we are coming up to our 35th anniversary, we were the most newly-wed!

Passing Musha Cay

Passing Musha Cay

We were up at 6:30 am as usual listening to Chris Parker’s weather on the SSB, very wary of an approaching system bringing unusually strong winds from a westerly direction, rendering all the anchorages on what is normally the lee side of the Exuma chain too exposed. So after consulting Ken and Deanna again, we both headed north after breakfast, aiming for Big Major Spot. We needed to transit a very shallow area near Rudder Cay Cut at high tide, which we did, not seeing less than 7 feet on our depth sounder, though Allure’s Navionics charts tried to misdirect them over a dangerously shallow bank. Luckily, after chatting on VHF, they changed course to follow us. We passed Musha Cay again and admired the very lovely houses and tiki bar on David Copperfield’s private island.

We sailed all they way and contacted La Toison D’Or as we rounded Harvey Cay as we knew they were planning to be in Big Major Spot. They reported that the anchorage at Big Major Spot was already rough so they had just moved around the corner to an anchorage between Big and Little Majors, where they felt we would also have more protection from the approaching front. So we cut in past Staniel Cay Yacht Club and the dangerous “crown of thorns” in the cut, and anchored near La Toison D’Or between the Majors. The holding was good but the current was strong and Steve was not happy to find that our boat kept sitting over the anchor! Allure anchored close by as well, and we all went over to La Toison D’or for happy hour(s). I will say it again – one of the best things about cruising is the people you meet, the friendships you make, the company you keep.

View our photo journal for the Mermaid.

Day 248: February 14;
Distance travelled on this leg: 24 NM;
Current Position: 23° 51.51 N; 76°14.76W;
Left Emerald Bay at 12:50;
Anchored at Darby Cay at 16:20;
Wind SSW 5-10 kn; seas 0.1 m, sunny and clear, 26°C.

Map:

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