Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Week at Pipe Creek

A week ago we dropped our anchor in Pipe Creek, on the west side of Thomas Cay.  And we love it here.  The scenery is just beautiful.  The anchorage is protected and calm and no one is around.  The boat sits to tide, so we shift directions every few hours.  At slack we sit to wind, then when the current picks up we sit whichever way the current is running.  Most boaters hate this.  They don't like it when their boats change positions for fear of their anchor coming up and not resetting.  We have sat in tide current before and have not had a problem. So for us, we haven't minded the tide shifts.  In fact, this week we have loved it.  The current holds us abeam to the wind, so we have been getting a great breeze constantly blowing thru the boat, which keeps us nice and cool.  We have loved it.

At low tide there are a few sandbars nearby.  None of which are close enough to swim to, but make the scenery just gorgeous.  David hasn't minded running us to the different sandbars to play in the afternoons.  We love the one furthest west.  It is steep enough to land the tender on, piled high with soft white sand.  On one end the water pools in around some rocks and the colors of turquoise, light blue, and rock are just amazing to the eye.

The closer sandbar, in the middle of Pipe Creek, isn't steep, it is more low lying, but it is filled with shells. It is huge and you can walk and walk at low tide.   In the middle is soft white sand, and then as the tide runs out, the surrounding sandbar that appears is a treasure chest of sand dollars, tellin shells, and horse conch shells, but most of these have residents living in them. We even found some starfish. We found a few horse conch shells that had been abandoned to bring home.  In fact, I picked one up, took a quick look and thought it was empty.  I walked a little further, and out of the corner of my eye I saw something coming out of it.  I held it up, to see a white sucker laden leg come out.  Studying it, I thought, that doesn't look like a snail, what is it... and then I realized, it was an octopus leg, and sure enough it was fully climbing out of the shell.  I had never seen an octopus in a shell, and as it started spreading itself all over the shell, I screamed and dropped it.  It freaked me out!

The kids and Brittany came running over.  My camera was fogged up, so I didn't get any good pictures and I haven't gotten any from Brittany yet.  It was very cool it watch the octopus.  It didn't look like it was surviving well on the sand, so we found a broken conch shell to scoop it up in the sand and take it to the shallow water, where it changed colors to match the grass and plants in the sandy water to blend in.  It was very neat to watch.  Eventually it swam away while we watched.

The kids have enjoyed going to the close sand bar in the afternoons.  With the hand held Vhf they can radio us if needed, and we can keep an eye on them from the boat, while the little kids nap.  They build sand castles and sand forts, kayak in the shallows, hunt for shells, or walk and walk and walk. It's just them and the sand.  No one around to have to share it with.

Near the boat was a great snorkeling spot.  Best done at slack tide to make the swim back to the boat easier, but it is a shallow area full of coral, and sponges, and little colorful fish.  The kids also spent an afternoon on Thomas Cay hiking to the top of a nearby hill.  Its not very high, but it was fun to wave to them from the boat.  They hiked along the rocky eastern shore as the waves crashed on it.

Its been quite windy this last week, especially the last few days.  We have enjoyed being in this calm spot, you hardly notice the boat moving.  There have been only a few boats in the anchorage, mostly its just us and one or 2 other boats.  No one lives on Thomas Cay, and the other nearby cays have only a handful of private resort homes, so there really is no one around.  We get a few boats a day zooming past us going here or there, and a few going slowly appreciating the beauty of Pipe Creek.

Nearby is the little island of Overyonder Cay, with a pricey resort.  For $50000 a night, you and 12 guests can have the whole island and resort to yourselves.  They have their own seaplane, and it has been busy.  Sometimes it takes off or lands thru Pipe Creek, and we get to watch it from the boat. Alexander loves planes, so he gets very excited when the seaplane is nearby.

A few miles to the south is the small settlement and popular anchorage at Staniel Cay.  We spent an afternoon there, dropping our trash and checking out the 2 small markets.  Bananas were $3.00 a pound. A big box of cornflakes $6.00, and a litre of boxed milk $4.25.  I couldn't bring myself to buy any.  I did splurge on a big bag of grapes, that I thought were sort of reasonably priced. We paid a visit to the BTC, Bahamas cell phone office, to purchase additional data for internet, which is slow, but it works.

We have really loved the beautiful Pipe Creek area and would happily return.  In fact the only other place we have anchored this long, is Peter Island in the BVI's, and we also love that anchorage.  But the winds will die down on Sunday, and our time is ticking away, so we plan to leave the Exuma's behind to visit Eluthera.  Hopefully it will be as beautiful as here.


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