A Little Intrigue at Normans Cay

Norman’s Cay is one of those places described as a must visit sort of place. Like many cays in the Bahamas, people and places come and go with the climate, the storms, and in this case, the attitude of the government. The anchorage here is a great place to stay – now. The holding is really good, there’s plenty of room for lots of boats, and there is a whole world of exploring to do. Not too far away is a reportedly great hurricane hole, something a sailor should always keep in the back of his or her mind, just in case. As with every island we visited, the water is incredibly clear, the scenery is amazing, and life is great. What more could we want?

Ocean Angel Anchored at Normans Cay
Ocean Angel Anchored at Normans Cay

Not that many years ago, back in the 70’s and 80’s, Norman’s Cay was home to one of the largest cocaine smuggling rings in history. You’ve heard of it, no doubt. The Carlos Lehder drug cartel became firmly established here in the late 70’s. He expanded his private airstrip, sunk millions into the property, and discouraged anyone from visiting or anchoring. As you see, not all the planes made it. The stories say this plane was the last to attempt to bring drugs through the island, and not too many years after it crashed, Lehder finally ended up in prison. That’s certainly good for us as we are free to roam the island, explore the waters, and hope that maybe someday, Bahamians may once again inhabit this part of their country.
The Last Drug Plane
The Last Drug Plane

Joy and I spent quite a while wandering around this island both by dinghy and on foot. The roads are too soft for the scooter, so Joy’s foot wandering was limited to the shoreline, but we had fun no less. There are still quite a few abandoned buildings scattered around, but time and weather will soon claim them if they are not returned to the Bahamians. With the exception of Nassau and Freeport, most of the people we met are easy going, enjoying life, and living as they always have, off the land, the sea, and now, the tourists. We are not sure yet if this will be a good or bad long term trend as wherever we find the opulence of wealthy tourists, we see the resentment of those whose country is changed forever by those dollars. Time will tell.  
Explore Normans Cay
Explore Normans Cay

Joy insisted I prove I actually was a part of this adventure and not just the narrator! Seems like I’m always the one taking the photos and I never am in them. So here we are, Norman’s Cay in the background and me front and center. We had a great time here, spent a whole day in the dinghy exploring, and soon realized that our time was running out, and we had to think about heading back to the west coast of Florida before the hurricane season became firmly entrenched. This was 2004, remember that year? Four hurricanes in Florida in a little over a month with the first one striking a scant six weeks after we were back at our home port.
I was There Too!
I was There Too!

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