In addition to Warderick Wells there was only one other island Joy insisted we visit on this trip, Norman’s Cay. After returning to the Angel from our dinghy adventure at Shroud Cay, we talked about the upcoming weather, and I agreed we could sail north to Norman’s, anchor there and see if the weather made the anchorage either uncomfortable or even untenable. It was only about 6 or 7 miles total distance from anchor to anchor, so it was no big deal no matter what the weather held in store. We could easily return to the protection of Shroud Cay if necessary. So, the faithful Maxwell windlass ground in the anchor chain one more time, and off we sailed towards Norman’s Cay with Joy as happy as ever. Come on now, those of you who know her, how often have you ever seen her unhappy?
Sometimes the simplest things can make a person very content and at peace; such is the case with anchoring between Norman’s Cay and this tiny little island that Joy has aptly named “Joy’s Cay” since it doesn’t have a name, and she has claimed it for herself. For whatever reason, relaxing in the cockpit and gazing at this tiny island fills Joy with a sense of serenity, of being in the right place at the right time, of oneness with these beautiful islands. She loves being right here. The anchorage at Normans is fairly well protected from winds in every direction, but our guide book notes it builds up a roll in strong easterly winds, so we kept an eye on the winds while here. We’d already had our share of rolling.
In this photo Ocean Angel is anchored just a little ways off the Norman’s Cay beach with Wax Cay in the distance to the southeast. Wax Cay is the first island north of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, and it is another privately owned island that looks very well developed in this photo, just like it looked when we were here in 2004. Closer inspection through our binoculars reveals buildings riddled with holes in the roofs and walls, damage obviously caused by a hurricane. At night a few lights burn here and there among the buildings so they clearly are occupied, but rebuilding this once beautiful retreat is slow going.
When we were here in 04, the beach bar on Norman’s was closed; it seems our fortune was the same as it was closed on this day as well; open tomorrow, they said.
One of the questions friends frequently ask is, “What do you do with all your time on such a small boat? Don’t you go crazy?” How do we explain the peace and quiet of the cruising life to a land lubber? How do we explain what it takes to make cruising long distance work? We tell them we read books, lots of books, about 30 books apiece on this 3 month cruise. We tell them that we try to care for the Angel in the same way that she guards over us. Joy scrutinizes the Angel’s interior while I inspect the exterior stem to stern each and every day looking for anything amiss. We find little ways to improve our systems to make life aboard easier. Ocean Angel is our home just as much as our Snead Island retreat is home. We love them both and we love our life together no matter where we are.
For those of you who think our boat is small, consider this husband and wife team who sailed their 1961 Meridian 25 from Texas to the Bahamas in the winter of 2009-2010. Cold tough weather like never before, and here they are, reading books and relaxing. Now that’s a small boat.
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