Sunday, July 22, 2007

Nassau, Bahamas

We left Norman's Cay at 5:07 AM on Monday, April 23, 2007, arriving in Nassau about 1:00 PM. Nassau Harbour is very busy with lots of commercial and pleasure boat traffic. We had to call the Harbormaster just to get clearance to come into the Harbour. We were heading for Nassau Harbour Club Marina were we had a slip reserved. We had a navigation light and a bilge pump to fix and we needed to provision the boat. We were only planning on staying a day or two to get our supplies and to wait out a cold front. We heard the holding was really bad and there were not many places to leave the dinghy so we decided to take the slip at the marina. Maybe we're getting spoiled....

The marina was really nice. We took hot showers and Ka'imi had a good freshwater bath! Captain Mike did an excellent job of getting us in and out of the marina with the wind, current and very tight quarters, not to mention that all the surrounding boats were large and expensive.

Sorry but we were so busy here that we didn't take any pictures but you can use the Google search bar above to get more information and view some pictures of Nassau, Bahamas.

Oh, by the way, you may have noticed that we have allowed advertisers on our site. It's okay to view them they should only contain information relevant to the site or advertisers that we have chosen. They may be able to give you more information or help you plan your trip to where we have been. We have also added a button that will help you download the browser Foxfire. We use it all the time in conjunction with Internet Explorer. We think its important to have two browser features available.

We left Nassau and headed to the Berry Islands. These islands are where Mike and his friend Tim spent some time about 20 years ago. It was great seeing what Mike had talked about for so long, and interesting for Mike to see the changes that had occurred. More on that in the next post. Cheers from Ka'imi and don't forget to use the search bar for more info on Nassau.

Mike and Kim on Ka'imi

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Norman's Cay, Bahamas

Click on any picture to enlarge.
We arrived in Norman's Cay on Saturday, April 21, 2007 after a 5 hour sail from Warderick Wells. If you're interested in looking up the location of the anchorage the Longitude and Latitude are N 24.36.707 W 76.49.241. Norman's Cay is about 4 miles long and is located 210 miles off the coast of Florida.
For 4 years Norman's Cay was drug central and a hideaway for the Medellin cartel kingpin Carlos (Joe) Lehder. In 1978 Lehder, et al, started buying up property on the island including a home, a hotel and an airstrip. The locals began noticing an increase in air traffic and armed guards walking the beaches. Lehder began harassing the residents until ultimately they all fled. Lehder now had his own island and could do as he pleased. The Bahamian Prime Minister at the time was Norman Pindling. He is believed to have taken bribes for looking the other way. There was said to be an arrangement where Pindling would warn Lehder if he became aware of an potential dangers to his operation.

Norman's Cay soon became a stopover and refueling place for small planes carrying cocaine for Lehder, et al from Columbia to the US. Lehder had the airstrip protected by radar, body guards and Doberman attack dogs. When planes came that were not wanted, they would simply block the landing strip. You can read about one couples story at
You can also read an interview with Lehders personal pilot Fernando Arenas
In 1982 after extreme pressure from the US, the Bahamian government began to crack down on the drug operation and the party ended. There was an expose that ran on American television that helped put the pressure on the government. During our travels in the Bahamas we learned that during the 1970's and 1980's many locals and politicians looked the other way when it came to drug operations because it was a great source of income.
Inside the lagoon we found this plane the size of a DC-3 that had been ditched in 10 feet of water. The story goes that the pilot was high and mistook a moonbeam for a runway....I checked the web to find out if that was the real story but couldn't find any info. If anybody happens to know the real story let us know, or, maybe the moonbeam thing is for real. The plane's now a haven to fish and a favorite snorkeling spot for visitors. There is a restaurant on the island called MacDuff's that is supposed to be the Cheeseburger in Paradise, place that Jimmy Buffet sings about, but we didn't go ashore so we didn't see the restaurant, the airstrip or the ruins from the drug era.

On one of the beaches we found this wrecked fishing boat. Michael thought he might be able to fix it. Hmmm.

On the other end of the island we found this lagoon with resort houses. The picture to the right is what looks to be the docks for the houses. The houses are hidden in the bushes and trees. The lagoon was so clear we saw all kinds of sea life, including a huge sting ray , a reef shark and a nurse shark. You can see the animals in the photos but it's not real clear. The left is the sting ray and the right is the reef shark.

Here are a few other pictures from around the island, you can see how beautiful it was, Cheers for now Mike and Kim on Ka'imi

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Warderick Wells, Bahamas


Well our bad, it's been so long that we forgot we went to Waderick Wells Cay before Norman's Cay, so you'll have to wait for the Shark and Drug Lord stories. Waderick Wells has it's own history although it's very vague as the facts were never recorded. We wrote in a previous post that Warderick Wells is part of the Exuma National Park and you are not allowed to anchor. They do supply mooring balls so we had a comfortable stay not worrying about the anchor.
The water was beautiful and the island was crisscrossed by walking trails. Because the island is limestone there are many holes, caverns and interesting rock formations.

One trail led us to a loyalist ruin from the 1700's. A waist-high wall spanned the island from east to west on two sides of the ruins. We speculated that it kept the loyalists animals on his property, such as pigs and cows. Unfortunately, as I said before, there is no written history on the island so they rely on the property records and passed down stories.

We found a pirate's lair on the other side of the island but we didn't bring our camera :( The lair had a fresh supply of water from natural wells and the pirates would congregate there. The pirates often brought seeds from other countries they had visited. It is thought that either inadvertenly or maybe on purpose the seeds found there way into the ground around these wells bringing new plants to the island. They hid their ship between Warderick Wells and Hog Cay, an anchorage that would have kept them out of sight and protected from any ocean swells.

Our best sighting was that of the the endangered rodent, the Hutia, it is protected and indigenous to the island. It's about the size of an adult cat and looks like a cross between a hamster and rat. (The picture is courtesy of MSN we didn't have the camera.) They are nocturnal so we were lucky we saw even one-- we saw two hanging out under dead palm branches. They weren't particularly scared of us as we watched them scavenge through the brush. We also discovered these curly tailed lizards. There were lots of them and half of them were missing that cute little curly tail.

The beaches were amazing and we explored as many as we could. We became animal activists on this island saving one octopus that had stranded himself and many baby conchs that we thought were stranded at low tide. Hope we didn't throw them into deadly territory. The waters were filled with critters too. I saw the biggest lobster I have ever seen....EVER. It was in a rock cave and spanned the whole rock with it's head at one end and it's tail at the other. It looked like the creature Alien...for real! Along with saving wildlife, there was also a group of 5 motor boats that came in one evening having a difficult time picking up their moorings. We jumped in our dinghy and helped one boat having the worst time and after that the other boats were waving us over, saying pleaseeeee, everybody moored safe and sound that night.

Waderick Wells Cay is also said to be haunted by the tormented spirits from a ship filled with monks that shipwrecked on the island. They say you can hear them sing late at night....

Well obviously we haven't found work yet or we probable wouldn't have the time to update the web. The heat outside also pushes me to find inside projects, like how about updating the web. It's supposed to rain heavely this weekend, so guess what, I will probable be updating the web :))))) Hope your well and enjoying our stories, cheers Mike and Kim on Ka'imi.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Farmer's Cay, Bahamas


Back to the Bahamas to finish our updates. We left off in Farmer's Cay where we ducked in to hide from a nasty cold front. Once we hit the docks we had a great time exploring the island. The marina had 6 slips in all. A motor boat named Another Time was the only other boat there waiting out the front. The marina had a restaurant and a few rooms to rent out. We were able to take a shower in one of the rooms for $5 and the food at the restaurant was very good, they even had veggie burgers.

We had a great time with the owners of Another Time Winston and Joanne and there Captain Oscar. They treated us to dinner one night at the restaurant (it was Joanne's Birthday) and gave us charts to the parts of the Bahamas that we didn't have and were unable to purchase in Puerto Rico. It was incredible generousity and we couldn't thank them enough. Winston and Joanne are from Montana where they have a ranch and they along with Captain Oscar left Florida heading for St. Lucia where they have another home. They will keep the boat at their St. Lucia home. Captain Oscar and Winston have been through the Bahamas many times and were able to give us invaluable first hand information about the islands and anchorages we planned to visit. THANK YOU AGAIN WINSTON, JOANNE AND OSCAR!!
We were able to explore the entire island which is 4 miles long but not nearly as wide and has approximately 50 residents. One resident we met, the Conch man, showed us how to get conch out of the shell and clean them. We thought it was pretty cool that we were meeting a local and sharing his day with him while he was teaching us something new. He said we could take pictures and film him while he showed us how he cleaned them. He explained which parts you could eat. His favorites were the eyeballs, saying they were better than viagra. So he finishes up and we say thank you very much we had a great time....then came the bomb..."That will be $5 dollars please for taking my picture." I say "Are YOU kidding me?" "No man I gotta make a living." GREAT....what a lovely experience and thanks for sharing. He did invite us back to the store where he was making some conch salad and we could even taste it. Yaaa how much is that going to cost us? He says nothing....hmmm we'll see....we follow him back and watch him cut the conch and make the salad. He was making it at a local grocery store and the owners of the store's grandkids where they, ooohh so cute. The boys where interested in the conch, the little girl wanted nothing to do with it so went and got a bag of Funyuns from her Grandma. Her brother politely asked if he could have one and she said yes just one...then the little boy got a conch foot from the conch man and preferred that. Mike tried a bite of the conch salad, said it was good and we didn't have to pay any more money. He was the only dissapointing local, everyone else on the island was exceptionally nice. It turns out the conch man lived in New York most of his life, as a postal worker...hmm.

Speaking of postal here is the official Farmer's Cay Post Office, we did have some mail to collect, but have learned when and where to collect it...this was not the spot. See we are trainable, it just takes a little time.

We saw a typical graveyard here, it's great the way the graveyards in all the islands we visited are just there, anywhere. This one also served as a boat yard of sorts. It seems that the Nixon's were a prominent family on the Island.

Another usual thing for the Islands are abandoned houses, we saw several on Farmer's Cay. We asked one local who owned one of the houses and he told us he didn't know but we could probable buy it. We told him we really don't have the money right now. He was a pretty cool guy, he cuts the weeds around the island and had a very long machete with him, he was just walking home for lunch. Some of the houses like this circular house looked like it might not have been finished, or maybe construction ended because of a hurricane, we just don't know. Others were just old and abandoned and looked like they had weathered many a storm just fine, but were neglected in their time.

We loved the local houses, cute and with enough property that you could breath. We also found a basketball net one we've seen on many islands which doesn't take any money just ingenuity. When we get our island home, some day 30 years from now, we will put one of these up for sure. We would put it up on the boat if there was room.

The beaches and the bays were beautiful and the island was very tropical. We had a great time on this island and enjoyed it's beauty and residents. Boy do we wish we were there now!!!!!

Cheers for now, Norman's Cay is the next island we visited. It has a great history of drug lord takeover and lots of sharks, stay tuned. Mike and Kim on Ka'imi


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