This was our first time stopping at Mayaguana Island. It is one of the most south islands of the 700 in the Bahamas, and I believe it is the most south port of entrance or exit into the Bahamas. We could have continued further north and visited a customs office somewhere else. But this seemed like a good place to take care of all the formalities. I had read that next door to the government offices was a Batelco office, and we needed to get a data sim card and plan, so this would allow us to clear in and take care of internet. Last time we came thru the Bahamas we did not come across a Batelco office until a few days before we were going to leave the Bahamas, and I didn’t want to make that mistake again, as internet throughout the Bahamas is quite spotty, but their cell phone service is plentiful.
The anchorage at Mayaguana is large and we had anchored out aways from the town dock. We had read it gets quite shallow as you get close to the dock, so we took the littler dinghy in, and boy does it get shallow. We picked our way thru the deeper spots to get to the dock, but in many places there was barely a foot of water. Once on land, it was a short walk down a dirt road to find the government building. The town is a small settlement with a few hundred people living on the island. We didn’t venture very far into the island, but spent our time taking care of our 2 items at hand. Both the customs office and Batelco office were very friendly and helpful. At the customs office the lady handed us a copy of an article that had been printed online by a vacation boater that had stopped at the island with a group of boats in the last year or 2. They had transitted from Puerto Rico and made their first stop in the the Bahamas at Mayaguana as well. The Writer and his wife expressed high expectations of visiting the Bahamas, as they had been told such wonderful things about the country, but they then wrote about how disappointed they were with their first impression in Mayaguana. The short walk we had just made to the customs office, they described as a mile long smelly, desolate, dirt road. They continued into the town hoping to find a store for food, and lunch, and bread. Why they needed these items after leaving Puerto Rico on 3 days before, I don’t know. But my guess is they had not done the needed research, which would have informed them, that the water and beaches of the Bahamas are breathtaking and unforgettable. But in order to have such pristine waters, and deserted beaches, there are no facilities for “tourists”. There are no stores, or cafes, or bread shops. These islands get deliveries of needed items once a week. They are poor. And this far south, they rarely get visitors, so they are not prepared to provide for the rare stranger that shows up. The townspeople were hurt by this opinion piece and the bad judgments made about their small island. We had stocked appropriately, and could spend our time enjoying the best of the Bahamas, its natural beauty. It’s sad that some people miss out on that.
After returning to the boat, David debated whether we should continue on to get closer to the Exuma chain or spend the rest of the day resting up anchored where we were. I was still exhausted from our 55 hour journey, and could tell David was quite tired too, he just didn’t want to admit it yet. After I insisted we stay put another night, he finally decided he really needed a nap, and off to bed he went. The kids all got ready to go for a swim in the gorgeous waters, and then I looked out and saw a spring storm headed our way. We waited an hour and had lunch as the rain poured down and passed us by. Then the sun came back out and in we went for a swim. With the shallow waters, and reflecting white sand below, the water temp was warmer than in the Caribbean. It was great. Savannah had a great time snorkeling around the boat checking out the little sea life nearby, including a shark. I wasn’t in yet to see what kind of shark it was, but from her description I would guess a reef shark. It swam away a few minutes later as they usually do. When I got in to swim, I felt like I was in a swimming pool. The water was unbelievably clear. Most places we have been have clear water, but there is usually silt or particles in the water. This rarely visited place was just crystal clear and pristine.
When it rains, it really pours.