Where are they now? Update on Alleycat – by Marita Whitley

Alleycat and our sister boat for the past 6 years – Shiloh – spent the compulsory quarantine months in the remote, rugged Ragged Islands in the southern Bahamas, together with a nucleus of around 15 other yachts, writes Marita Whitley.

Supplies from the ocean abounded – lobster season was at its height and the pickings were plentiful.  Conch and many species of fish were easily dived and fished too – it was a rare day when our dinghies came home empty!  Unfortunately, sharks were equally well represented, making swimming off the boats a risky endeavour – but it was a short dinghy hop or kayak to the nearest beaches, where we could swim and do ‘talking heads’ to cool off, or gather under the welcoming thatch of Hog Cay Yacht Club for happy hour.

In addition, the almost weekly mailboat delivery ensured we had fresh supplies – as well as propane, diesel and gas – couldn’t imagine a better place to be quarantined. We were free to walk the many beach trails and picnic on the shores.

Once the lockdown ended, the boats started moving north one by one – and soon there were only 3 of us left.  We made our way up the island chain and finally arrived in the Exumas, some 80-odd miles north.  We had these islands all to ourselves – not another boat in sight, able to enjoy and explore.  But we needed supplies again, so had to head for places with tiny settlements – where we could meet the mailboat and also do some much needed laundry.  We had our first restaurant meal in months!  Alan also found the local men building their  race boat under the trees …getting ready for the island’s regatta, which is a big event in the Bahamas.

Now we’ve arrived at Staniel Cay – more or less the midway point of the Exuma chain of islands.  Here we found that superyachts and big boy fishing boats were crammed into the small marina and anchorages.  Da big boys are in town!

Luckily, they are taking Covid very seriously here – masks mandatory everywhere on the island, and temperature guns aimed at your head before entering the Staniel Cay Yacht Club.

Suddenly, reality bites!!!!  So many people……
Staniel Cay is popular with the super and mega yacht fraternity, who hop across from Florida – many proudly flying their Trump flags.

It is home to the famous swimming pigs, as well as Thunderball Cay – made famous by the James Bond movie of the 60s.  The island also boasts a small marina and a small plane airfield.

It’s very hot – 36 deg C with winds max 5 knots – phew!!!!  Water temps are no better –
we have to find spots with ocean currents to cool off.

Hurricane season is looming, and stormy weather is an almost daily occurrence.
We find ourselves between a rock and a hard place – face the storms or head for Covid infested Florida??  At the moment it’s no contest – we’re staying!



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