I have wanted to spend time at Cambridge Cay for years after reading about the place in a sailing magazine long ago. Time and circumstance had prevented White Pepper's visit despite passing it by several times. Cambridge Cay is part of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. It is maintained in a pristine condition. No fishing, shelling or spear fishing is allowed and no one lives on Cambridge Cay. There are mooring balls available and the protection is 360 degree.
What I did not count on was having to spend so much time at Cambridge due to the weather.
White Pepper arrived Sunday morning after a short trip on the outside (in Exuma Sound) from Norman's Cay. There were mooring balls available which was excellent since a westerly blow was forecast ahead of a strong cold front. In addition to its natural beauty Cambridge Cay is one of the best places to wait out a westerly in the central Exuma Islands, esp. if a mooring ball is available.
Before the storm Jan and I had time to explore the cay and hike. The beaches are wonderful. We had happy hour on the beach with fellow sailors. We were able to visit the famous Sea Aquarium behind O’Brien Cay. It is a snorkeling spot. There is calm deep water behind a small island that wards off the surge. When we dove in there were swarms of aquarium quality fish and abundant live coral. The place really deserves it reputation. High waves and problems with the dingy motor prevented us from visiting other prime snorkeling spots such as the Rocky Dundas or the Coral Garden. Hopefully, we can visit these spots on a future visit.
Just across the channel from the Sea Aquarium was Johnny Depp's island. On it were still the tents that he had erected to house his guests for his wedding last week. On the way to the Sea Aquarium were passed Bell Island which is owned by the Aga Khan. How Johnny Depp and the Aga Khan managed to acquire land inside of this national park is very controversial even today.
Since there is no fishing allowed here we were able to see numerous fish, sharks, rays, and turtles. The rays jump and make loud splashes. The seascape in so many shades of blue is indescribable. We have several memorable happy hours on the boat and on the beaches.
Finally on Wednesday afternoon the cold front hit with a vengeance. This was the tail end of a system that froze Atlanta setting cold records all across the South. It blew hard from the west , then northwest and north. After the rain the temperatures dropped, and White Pepper was quite chilly. We had to break out the long pants and sweat shirts once again. After the front passed White Pepper remained pinned down with strong winds from the northeast and east caused by “a compression zone” of the high pressure behind the front. We spent four days on the boat without getting off. While this is unusual, it has been an unusually windy and chilly winter in the Bahamas this season. Still I was very glad that we were on a sturdy mooring rather than an anchor. We read, napped, and did minor chores. Hopefully, I was able to fix the dingy motor by tightening the limit screw on the throttle.
All bad weather passes eventually and White Pepper left by way of the south entrance. This is a testing shallow ,narrow and intricate passage that can only be safely down at high tide. We made it out onto the Banks heading for Black Point. Black Point is a wonderful Bahamian community with good wi-fi, good food and a great laundry. Readers will remember several posts about Black Point.
As happy as Jan and I are to be at Black Point I do regret not being able to fully explore Cambridge Cay due to the bad weather. Maybe we will be able to stop in the Spring in calm weather and properly do all of the wonderful snorkeling that is available there.