Adjusting to the Bahamian time zone (Finland is +7 hours) was quite funny. When it got dark (after about six o’clock) we got tired and went to sleep. When the sun rose again, about twelve hours later, we got up. I never get this much sleep at home, so it was actually quite refreshing!
This night, though, the wind was blowing quite hard, giving us somewhat restless sleeping conditions. It didn’t take very much water movement for the boat to get jitterish and the amount of wind made me a bit nervous as well. I didn’t want Charlotte’s second day out sailing to become as agonizing as the first one.
Sailing to Shroud Cay
It went perfectly!
We had a short and good sail from Highborne Cay to Shroud Cay with fresh wind in the sails. And (drumroll) we achieved (more drumroll) our new sailing speed record (yes, these are important) of 7.2 knots! (crash cymbal)
Rowing in the Mangroves
(If I was a Bahamian blues musician I think I’d make a song called Rowing in the Mangroves. Note to self: remember this if one day I am a Bahamian blues musician.)
Shroud Cay is the northernmost part of the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park. It’s a cool island almost completely filled with mangroves and small and very shallow rivers that you can use to explore these.
And there we went, with our little dinghy and high expectations!
You’re not allowed to use your outboard in all but one of the rivers, so we pulled the engine up and started to row. Well, I started to row and Charlotte started to enjoy being a passenger on a piece of un-aerodynamic rubber moving extremely slowly forward (and with some puffs of wind, also backward).
(“I woke up this morning / had some oars in my hands / didn’t get much of sleep / all night playing with my band / …”)
It was hard work, I say! But we were so excited to see whatever was around the next bend.
And then the next, and the next.
And then the water started to get really shallow. But just a bit more.
And then the dinghy gently came to a stop, resting on the sandy bottom. This was as far as we could get.
And except for the mangroves, we saw almost nothing living. A couple of small fish. That was it. A bit disappointing.
“But you know, ninety-nine times out of a hundred explorers don’t find anything”, I said comfortingly to Charlotte (and myself). “That’s why it’s so exciting when you finally find something”, I continued and started the long row back.
(“… I’ve gotta … gotta … / … sing that Mangrove blues …“)
(Sorry, I’m overdramatizing a bit. We actually had a very nice time rowing through the weird mangroves. True, we didn’t see much more than mangroves, but the whole place is quite fascinating anyway. And I got a good workout!)
Mangrove River Two
The northernmost mangrove river allows motoring at idle speed so we thought to quickly check that out before dusk and sunset. We needed a high tide to fit through it, but for once we were at the entry at exactly the right time so we were able to enter.
Our expectations were much lower this time but I had heard that the river leads all the way through the island to the Atlantic side of the Nassau bank, so that would be quite cool to see.
“What’s that dark thing there in the water”, said Charlotte to me after maybe ten minutes of going up the river.
“Don’t know. Maybe a rock.”, I replied without giving it much thought.
And then it showed its head.
“It’s a turtle! It’s a turtle!”, shouted Charlotte and jumped up so quickly that she almost fell out of the dinghy. “It’s a turtle!!”
It was so amazing to see it there swimming along and coming up for air every now and then. It wasn’t very big, just the perfect size, and such a beautiful animal!
To the Other Side and Back
We eventually got through to the other, Atlantic side and it was pretty cool (strongly recommended!).
On the way back we saw a couple of other “rocks” that turned out to be black stingrays! They were really cool as well (and a bit scary), but I think we had already left our hearts with the turtle, so we didn’t stay for long but headed quite quickly back to our boat.
We started to get a bit tired too, obviously, since evening was near and we had just a couple hours left until our six-seven o’clock bedtime 🙂