Warderick Wells to Cambridge Cay: 1/25/2009, 16 nm.
We left Warderick Wells on Sunday planning to go into Cambridge Cay for a few days. Getting there is a bit tricky. It was one of those damned if you do damned if you don't kind of things. Piloting is visual 100% (the charts in Raymarine stuff is poor and not based on the Explorer Charts like most are today - but that is no excuse for running aground).
For those of you considering the purchase of a chartplotter, some of the Navionics charts of the Exumas have way too much info (all contour lines so cluttered you can't tell what is where) and some have almost no info and just block out the island in sort of rough form. If the plotter you are considering uses Navionics Charts you might want to consider something different. The Raymarine charts for Cambridge / Bell Cays are like the latter (just an outline of the island, kind of thing).
To get into the anchorage at Cambridge, you have to snake your way thru the shallow water around Bell Island (East). Follow the deep blue water out the cut and back to Cambridge (west). The rub is you get good visibility either going east or west not both. We figured it was tighter around Bell (yep true - maybe a 50 foot wide cut of deep water) and then back into the sun for the short run back west to Cambridge Cay. With the sun in your face you can't see the bottom and tell where the deep water is.
Well Old Vic didn't hug the shore of Cambridge close enough. Bumped (read ran aground), spun the boat, got off, and waited for a dink off "Movin' On" to confirm that close to shore was right (lead us in). It took 1452 miles to run this bitch aground but I finally succeeded.
On Monday the Park Service arranged for Tucker, the owner of Compass Cay Marina, to pick us up and ferry us over to Compass Cay for lunch and a walk around. Tucker is a great guy and has spent the last few years improving his marina. It is quite unique. Tucker is considering having a "Stupid Bowl" party on his dock complete with transportation from the Cambridge anchorage to Compass and back and lobster appetizers. If he does we may just hang around here until Monday. There is plenty to do and see here and the water is truly "gin clear." There are some of the best snorkeling in the Bahamas with Rocky Dundas Grottos, Sea Aquarium, and Coral Garden. Not to mention, this is a good place to sit out the next westerly blow coming on Friday.
This post is via SSB email and therefore no pictures. Someone drop me a note and let me know if the post works.
Fairwinds and Rum Drinks,
Vic & Gigi
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