Wow, we’re finally here! Never before have we seen such blue, clear water which stretches as far as the eye can see. Sand, coral rocks and sea life are visible from miles away and we have transitioned to visual navigation, using the instruments only as secondary sources of guidance.
Our first stop was Highbourne Cay where we dropped anchor beside a pristine deserted beach. We’re not in Kansas anymore…
I am sure there will be lots of other photos of Rafiki in tropical locations but this is our first…and it’s pretty cool.
Crystal blue water, deserted beaches, a gentle whisper of wind…and then we arrived. One of the consequences of living on a boat is that when you get on terra firma, you run, splash, wrestle, squeal and generally burn off days of pent-up energy.
Kathryn quickly assumed control of Poca Bota and, while our hoisting procedure is labour intensive and difficult, we are quickly developing a crew approach which is proving successful.
Just South of Highbourne Cay is Allens Cay which is home to a high concentration of wild Iguanas; a huge tourist attraction but really little more than glorified, over fed lizards. Mommy was intent on capturing the potentially aggressive reptiles on camera, while the three of us were less interested and kept our distance.
Like a small community of wandering gypsies, there are lots of other vagabond families traveling our same path and we often get together to share cocktails, lies and useful tips we learn along the way. Discussions invariably revolve around weather, fishing and unserviceable heads!
The Dubois family joined us for drinks and Pierre, Luc and you two decided to go off exploring in the two dinghies. Being familiar with the “small male ego” I asked whose RIB was faster…? All four of you slowly looked at each other as the gravity of the situation sunk in until Alex broke the tension with an emphatic, “Bring it!” and the two boats roared off across the ocean. Upon your return, Kathryn, ever gracious, pronounced the epic battle for RIB supremacy…a tie.
Our second island in the chain was Warderick Wells which is a pristine and strictly controlled National Park. As soon as we dropped anchor, launched the RIB and got the boat ready for the night, we quickly changed into our swimsuits and were about to jump into the water (just like the beer commercials), when a prowling shark gave us pause for thought. Kathryn assured me that it was a nurse shark and not normally aggressive to humans. Mommy was still keen to swim, but Alex and I had lost our enthusiasm.
We went ashore and hiked the island climbing to Boo Boo Hill, named for the lost souls of a shipwrecked galleon said to still haunt the island. We stumbled onto a perfect and protected Butterfly Beach but Alex and I were just relieved there were no sharks.
The mooring field at Warderick Wells is about forty feet wide and six feet deep. These types of moorages tend to get significant swell which makes sleeping uncomfortable. Since the wind in the Caribbean often increases at night, sleeping can be an issue, however, Alex sleeps in the forward cabin which gets less hull slap and Kathryn, while in the aft cabin, sleeps like a rock.
Our next stop was Staniel Cay which is a bustling little community of 80 inhabitants with bakeries, island groceries and a vibrant influx of visitors. We are holed up here waiting for yet another cold front and anchored in a small bay which is protected on all sides. That being said it was the scariest approach of my life and the GPS packed it in as we were approaching the reef! You two were promptly sent on deck to help pick our way through sandbars, coral heads, and rocks.
Staniel Cay is famous for wild pigs that swim out to greet visiting boaters for scraps of food. While they are not overtly aggressive, they can tear the side of a dingy with their feet so we were quite cautious. Pigs can’t fly but apparently, they do swim!
The RIB is proving to be indispensable as a taxi, tour boat, grocery boat, social vehicle, and entertainment. Grossly overpowered, it still is a rough ride when we are forced to head into open water.