After a wonderful evening on the beach at Little Bay we were rudely awakened the next morning by barking dogs and then the painful yelping of a dog in pain. Apparently a pack of local dogs, “potcakes“, turned on one of the pack. The injured dog retreated to the safety of the water and stayed there while the pack waited patiently ashore. There was not a lot we could do from the boat so I jumped in the dinghy and raced towards shore. The pack went crazy, barking and charging the dinghy. I raced at full speed parallel to the beach and the pack followed at full tilt. The diversion worked as the injured dog ran off to the relative safety of the scrub brush. I ran the dogs up and down the beach several times. They soon tired of this game and laid down to rest. Needless to say Goliath didn’t get his beach walk that morning.
Potcakes are very personable dogs and are very mild mannered but the Bahamians let them run wild and I guess it doesn’t take long for their instincts to resurface.
A short sail away was another the Anchorage of White Point. It was a bust as the reefs were nonexistent, the beach unproductive (no beans or shells) and surge reappeared after dark.
Once more we moved south, staging for our trip south in Exuma Sound to Georgetown. Anchored near Galiot Cut south of Big Farmers Cay, we explored and snorkeled. We dinghied over to Big Farmers to do some shelling. As we made our approach to the beach we noticed sand dollars in about three feet of water. Donning our snorkel gear Mary and I finned our way along the beach. Every so often we would scoop up a sand dollar or two. Small fish swam around us and we observed anemones in the sand. They would retract into the sand as we would reach out our hands. It was a very cool way of “strolling” the beach and we had a great time. The water was relatively warm for this time of year.
As evening fell I knew that the snappers and other larger predatory fish would be leaving their shelters and start foraging. While we were anchored in 10′ of water our stern reached almost to the channel edge where the current ran and the water was much deeper. I rigged one of my light spinning reels with a chunk of mahi (not any of the good parts) and tossed it into the current. Less than a minute later, line was zipping off the reel. A quick set of the hook and the fight was on. I managed to hold the fish for awhile before it would strip more line. Slowly I began making headway as it tired. With the light fading I pulled the leader to the swim platform and saw the largest mutton snapper I had ever seen. We gaffed it and brought on board.
It weighed in at ten pounds, I could swear it was a lot more than that!!!
It was quickly cleaned and as scraps and blood were washed over the side more fished showed up. Jacks would swoop in a grab the scraps. I tossed the remaining carcass overboard. The jacks nibbled at it persistently until, sensing danger, they scattered. A shark, no more than five feet, made one pass, circled and with lightening quickness grabbed the carcass and was gone. Seconds later it was back for more but there was none, so eventually he left. Upon his departure the jacks returned so I baited up and tossed it in. Quickly I had a large Horse Eye Jack
This fish was much stronger than the snapper. He peeled off line at an alarming rate. I slowed him down as he pulled parallel of our port side. He turned and crossed the stern and then went up the starboard side. Again I turned him and brought him back across the stern. I was able to get him relatively close but as I tried to leader him to the platform he saw me and made a run for it, breaking off as he went. Oh well, I really didn’t want to clean another fish.
Morning broke and we weighed anchored for our trip to Georgetown. About a dozen boats were to make this trip and nobody seemed anxious to be first out the cut. The tide was briskly ebbing against an easterly breeze. This sets up a “rage” or a wild mixture of steep waves against the current. It can be quite dangerous when going against the current but going with it can be quite exciting. Soon we were breaking through the waves at over ten knots! It doesn’t last long but it is exciting. Some accurately describe it as sailing in a washing machine.
After exiting the rage we set our rhumb line for Georgetown. Heading south we noticed darkening skies to the East. No squalls were forecast but these sure looked like rain. We needed to watch these clouds. I went below for a “break”. Mary hollered something at me but I couldn’t make it out. Then I heard her say something and I picked out the word, waterspout! That’s not a good thing and as I stuck my head out the companionway we she pointed to port.
The spout would form, turn white with captured water, then recede, then form again. This went on for twenty minutes and finally ended as it passed over Rudder Cay. It came very close (200 yards) to our buddy boat “Camelot” but we were well ahead of it. Many of the boats behind us got a lot of rain but no one else was in danger.
At least we were rewarded with a nice rainbow.
The rest of the trip was uneventful and produced no fish.
Our stay in Georgetown was short. There were perhaps 300 boats or more anchored there and the crowd didn’t interest us. We provisioned, filled with water and moved south in Elizabeth Harbor to a favorite spot where he snorkeled our favorite reefs and anchored for the evening.
Surprisingly, I have been enjoying my role as “tour leader” for our two buddy boats. We have known Gary and Marcia on Camelot and Tom and Lisa on Symmetry for most of our cruising years but you never know how things will work out when we you’re with people for weeks on end. I think they appreciate my enthusiasm and love of the Bahamas. We have been having a great excursion.