May 07, 2010
We were hoping for the strong Easterlies to change direction or at least lighten up so we could make our way East to Conception. However, that was not in the cards so we decided to head back North. After a great sail up the Exuma Sound we shot through an inlet and dropped anchor off the Western beach of Rat Cay. Rat Cay is a small uninhabited island covered with impenetrable trees and brush with sandy beaches and craggily rocked shoreline pocked with caves. The one nice thing is that we were completely alone. No people. No boats. No lights. After being surrounded at all times in Georgetown, this was a real treat. The celebration began. We made cocktails, then rowed Lil Vill over to the tiny nearby island Pigeon Cay, that is also uninhabited. We thought, what a great place for a bonfire tonight! After we gathered wood and pine needles for kindling, we made a nice fire pit on the beach. We rowed back, made dinner, and got provisions. It was dark now around 9PM and we saw a strange motor vessel pull up around the corner of Pigeon Cay. Then several other small skiffs were zipping around it in the night and they began unloading (or loading) stuff from a large crane arm. This continued until late into the night and was suspicious because the transaction was behind Pigeon Cay, blocked from the sight of the nearest settlement, Barraterre, just a handful of miles away. The vessel did not look like any fishing vessel we had seen and it did not look like a transport vessel either. It looked like an old double decker ferry. Of course we are speculating at a fast pace that it was drug smuggling, as the Bahamas are notorious for, or even merchandise smuggling to evade the 40% import duty that Bahamians must pay. As the night drew, we decided to proceed with out bonfire plans. Only whispering we silently rowed over in the cover of darkness to evade the eyes of the smugglers who were just around the rocky corner of the beach on Pigeon Cay. We were letting our imaginations run as it intensified what was already exciting. Once we were out of their sight line, we began laughing and beached Lil Vill. The fire lit with ease and became a roar in seconds. Ty made Dark and Stormy cocktails (Ginger beer and spiced rum) that were delicious. I brought a gang of fireworks that we were sure would either incite or scare off the smugglers. We began small with some little rockets and whiz bangs and firecrackers. Then we stepped it up to some big rockets that require launch tubes to stabilize their take off. My favorite, the “Red Neck Rocket” ascends about 200 yards with blazing streak and screaming noise then bursts into a huge spherical multicolored plume. We were running around laughing like little kids. Sometime during the night, the mysterious smugglers had slipped away while we slept.
The next day we geared up to snorkel around the reef off of Rat Cay and explore a cave that we could see with our binoculars. Adventure!