Transiting from the Exuma Sound to the Exuma Bank
Trip Start Dec 09, 2006
217Trip End Ongoing
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Before cutting over to the Bank we had a nice and fast sail under full main and Code 0 heading for Conch Cut and Fowl Cay (not to be confused with Fowl Cay Resort - on a different island). On the way, just north of Dothan Cut, we hooked a good size mahi mahi. Maybe finally our poor luck had changed! Dave reeled the fish over half way back to the boat, watching it jump multiple times, but it got off before we could get it in. Damn. No other fishing action after that….
As forecast, the next several days were slick flat calm. The Exuma Bank was like a mirror. On May 7th we departed Fowl Cay for Highborne Cay, "flying" over gin clear waters 10 to 20 feet deep. If you have to motor, this is the way to do it. Standing on the bows looking down into the glassy water gives the sensation of flying over a beach 20 feet below. But it was hot and humid. Boat speed, 6.5 kts. Apparent wind speed, 6.5 kts from dead ahead.
We had not visited Highborne Cay during our prior season in the Bahamas, but the island offered some reefs that Donna thought might offer some snorkeling opportunities during these “dead wind” days that wouldn't be accessible during more typical weather because of their wide-open exposure to both the Sound and the Bank.
We arrived at Highborne Cay and anchored in the open on the Bank side. We got a good anchor set in clear sand on the second try. Dave didn't have to dive on the anchor to check it as the boat drifted right over it in the calm conditions and we could plainly see through the shallow crystal clear water that it was well set.
We took this opportunity to snorkel an expansive nearby reef on the Bank side as well as circumnavigate the island in the dinghy to explore the eastern shore (Sound side), also lined with reefs. We did not find significant snorkeling to catch our attention on the Sound side, but we loved snorkeling the reefs on the Bank side where we found lush and healthy coral and a fabulous diversity of fish. This is a huge barrier-style reef that extends over miles which means moving with your dinghy from spot to spot, but the effort was well worth it—so much so that Donna recorded the GPS coordinates for the great locations we found so that we could return some day!