After Black Point and the the fun of the Super Bowl party, Sanitas and our buddy boats parted ways for the first time since Bimini! Yikes! Leef Nu had family visit and Elixir wanted to explore the northern Exuma Islands. We on the other hand were looking forward to hitting some new spots that we missed last year. Ok, perhaps “hitting” is a poor choice of words. When planning our route, Capt. Mike asked me “Are you ready to be adventurous and try to sail where the charts say we won’t have enough water?” Honestly. How would YOU have answered that question?
But we’ve learned a thing or two in the past year. And we now know that the depth on a nautical chart marks the mean low. Yes, that’s the average low tide depth at that spot. And there are resources we can use to find the daily tide tables which indicate how much above or below average the tides will be on any given day. So Capt. Mike’s says things like “Even at low tide , we’ll see an extra 0.4 feet of water.” And of course, we can time our entry into an anchorage close to high tide to ensure we have even more water. Our chart plotter keeps a history of where we’ve traveled, so if we manage to get into an anchorage successfully and keep track of the shallowest water we see, we can follow our purple track line back out a few days later or in the dark. We’re also much better at visual piloting – watching the color of the water to determine if we are nearing sandy shallows or grassy patches or rocks or coral. So we went for it!
From Black Point we sailed south past a number of private island owned by celebrities such as David Copperfield and Johnny Depp. We carefully followed our well-planned route, snaking between sandbars and islands for the final 6 miles, keeping Sanitas carefully in the deeper water. And it was so worth it! We dropped anchor just off Rudder Cut Cay in front of a beach that looked right out of Pirates of The Caribbean.
The white sand beach had just the perfect number of palm trees. The water was the perfect shade of blue. And there was a pirate cave available for stashing stolen treasure. Arghhh.
We nestled our six-foot-draft monohull in between a few three-foot-draft catamarans feeling pretty darn proud of ourselves. Then we went off to play, snorkeling the rocks at the entrance to the cut as well as the famous statue of a mermaid playing the piano that David Copperfield installed here. It’s in the process of growing into a new miniature coral reef. I stole this picture from Jeff and Trish on Elixir because I don’t have an underwater camera, if you can believe that.
The next day, we took a short hike to the ruins of the “Green Castle” at the top of Darby Island. It’s a stunning location, with 360 degree views from the second story patio.
And it also has a very interesting history. During WWII, Darby Island was owned by the British hotelier (and Nazi sympathizer) Sir Guy Baxter. He was gifted the island by King George and he built an 8000 sq foot “Castle” on the highest point. Rumor has it he hung lanterns to guide Nazi U-Boats, dredged the channel, and built a concrete mooring to allow them to resupply with water and to hide in the island’s network of caves. Supposedly he had very advanced radio and communications equipment in the attic. The ruins of the house do retain a spooky air, so I absolutely believe it! We also toured the caves, complete with their gigantic spiders and colony of bats. I expected a giant spider to come out of the shadows and grab me, just like in The Hobbit.
Our last morning was spent relaxing on that pirate beach while I read my book and Capt. Mike built an arch. I think it was worth braving the shallows to experience Rudder Cut Cay, don’t you?