Hanging Out Near Pipe Cay

February 13, 2021

There are some places in the world that are just beautiful and I was fairly warned, before arriving that this was one of them. The views are outstanding.

On Wednesday I departed Shroud Cay looking for some protection from South winds and was headed to Black Point. I reached out to my new friend Elie and he suggested I come into his little anchorage (that’s his boat in the first photo) and wait out the weather here.

This is a pretty tight place based on my experience, but Elie (a former yacht captain, so his opinion carries extra weight) assured me I could get in here so a sharp turn to port and I headed to this little anchorage. It sure is pretty.

I came in at low tide and slowly inched my way around the rocks (dead centre, second photo, ‘First Try’ on chart below) and anchored (where that catamaran is in the photo). This is a remarkably tight spot and I sat in the pilot house analyzing my decision until Elie returned from Staniel Cay to guide me on the wisdom of that decision.

Keeping in mind that he is used to running very large yachts, and he knows every bump and pool in this bay, he looked at me and asked “How did you get in here?” I’m that good. Scratch that. I am that brave. Scratch that, wow am I stupid. Just kidding it wasn’t that bad. I did decide to exit to someplace with more ‘wiggle’ room and so as the tide started coming back in I squeaked past the rocks and slid out without incident to anchor a few hundred feet away with substantially more water, but a lot of tidal flow.

On Friday, a catamaran (draws 4 feet of water vs. my 6′) came in at high tide and I watched, wincing as he rammed into the underwater rocks (see the ‘oops’ in the diagram), luckily without doing any serious damage to his boat, but the captain of that boat was not able to fight the current taking him into the rocks, or didn’t look at the charts. I spoke with him briefly and all was well with his ship due to sacrificial protection for his engines (pods, too, so it could have been bad!).

Now I have been anchor down and making new friends for two days. Another catamaran from Vienna, Austria (Martin, Anna, Christina, Marco, Adrianna and Stef), along with Elie and then later a further catamaran (Nizhoni, with Mick and Leslie) spent time getting to know each other, eating drinking and sharing stories from our lives.

The winds are still strong and I am well anchored, so I haven’t moved. There has been time to clean the boat from the trip down the chain (I was pummeled from pounding into the waves on the way from Shroud to here, with 18-25 knots of wind and a lot of crashing spray.). I have spent time on the bike and doing other essential chores like laundry. It is nice to sit at anchor and just get things done.

My little project to track home free is still on the go and I have completed the basic bits but I am also working on turning this tracker into an anchor watch as well. Since I haven’t really written any code in a few years now, I will take some time to work things out, but hopefully I will have an anchor watch/alarm that doesn’t rely on my cell phone soon.

I didn’t post much about my time at Shroud and I know many of the people reading have a strong preference for photos . . . so without much prose, here are some pictures from the mangrove swamps/rivers around Shroud and more from my anchorage outside of Pipe Cay/Hattie Cay.

The inland lake at Shroud’s ‘tributaries’ – end of the mangrove swamp – The water is crystal clear (this is close to low tide) and you can see the fish and turtles clearly in the water.
Inland lake at Shroud Cay – The landscape is visually stunning in person
On the opposite end from the lake (above) is the ‘ocean side’ entrance to the channel. You can only get in here with a dinghy but the views again are very pretty. The water is deep, clear and fast moving as the tide rips into the channel.
At Pipe Cay, the sand bars (low tide) offer another stunning view and for people who make it here, an awesome place to relax on a beach
This is the same view as above (a little to the left). High tide, the beaches disappear. Note the trawlers are always anchored there. About 4.5-5 feet of water at low tide and they have private moorings
The bike on deck at night . . . gotta keep the legs going round until I get back to decent roads

3 thoughts on “Hanging Out Near Pipe Cay

  1. Hi Don, I have so many great memories of the clear water and white sand beaches of the area you are at. Wish we could have a few sun downers on your fly bridge. Enjoy your time in the sun. Your are not missing much here.
    Cheers
    Nick

  2. OMG Don colour me jealous. That is a spectacular vision contrasting nicely with the minus -11 -20 with wind chill and snow that we have here.

    1. Thank you Peter. It is a wonderful place really. Very safe and due to Covid, few travellers so it’s kind of a haven. If you don’t have things to do it could be tough looking at beaches and water everyday though. … or excessively relaxing. 😀

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