From Chub Cay we sail east, past the island of New Providence, without stopping in Nassau, the big, crowded, polluted, crime-ridden capital of the Bahamas, to Allens Cay in the Exumas.
Someone, whose name we don’t remember, whom we met only once on the beach in Chub Cay, has left a detailed Cruising Guide to the Bahamas on the steps of our boat in the morning of December 25th. Or maybe it was Santa on jet-skis who did it? In any case, the gift is greatly appreciated and we are using it every day. It tells us where is what and how to get there. It also tells us a lot of other useful information not only about the places’ geography, facilities and attractions, but also about their history, climate, and other particularities as well. But there is a downside to the cruising guide phenomenon. Everyone goes to the same place recommended by the cruising guide and it can get really crowded. Like Allens Cay.
As we reach the tiny anchorage near the tiny uninhabited island, we find eight other boats already anchored there. We drop the hook with just a bit of chain as we are too close to the other boats. The reason why this place is so popular is the iguanas.
The cruising guide says that this is the one and only Bahamian island where the critters can be found and admired; everywhere else they have been extinct. (But it is not true; later we find them again on a another island many miles south from Allens Cay.)
The lizards proliferate on the island thanks to the cruisers and the tourists who come here in big numbers every day brought by speed-boats to feed and photograph them. The biggest local attraction.
We wait for two days for most of the boats to leave, and visit the fat iguanas only when there are no tourists around, which is very rare.
A sign on the beach explains that the iguanas are wild and protected, approach them with caution and do not bring your dogs. But they are not really wild, if you ask me. They are like zoo animals used to people and entirely dependent on them for food. Only, they are not tame and one even bit Ivo mistakenly taking his pinky toe for a piece of bread. Since then, Ivo regarded them with mistrust and hostility.
Soon, we get really disappointed with the place, thinking that the Exumas would be less crowded. The anchorage in front of the next island south, Highborne Cay, is literally full with boats; we count twenty at least, and not even sailboats but big luxurious mega-yachts, which bring with them all sorts of noisy contraptions for fun-having like jet-skis, inflatable air-chairs and speed banana-boats, and even tiny one-person inflatable submarines, and they just zoom around the anchorage all day. This great motorboat presence and activity we explain with the proximity of Nassau, about thirty miles northwest, and the holiday season.
We keep going south and only twelve miles later we find what we have been looking for: a protected anchorage where we are the only boat, an uninhabited island with channels formed by the tides cutting across the mangroves from west to east and vast sand flats in the middle exposed at low tide and flooded at high tide, a beautiful secluded place not even mentioned in the cruising guide (because there is no marina, no bar, and no ‘facilities’ there).Share