On to the Plana Cays

Like I said in the last post… when the weather agrees, you go along!

From our anchorage at Acklins Island we had some successes and some disappointments. Our first day, we spent fishing. We trolled lures all along the edge of the reef and got nothing. Nothing… until it was time to pull up the lines at the end of the day. After several hours of trying with no luck we were headed back into the anchorage. I had pulled in all the lines except the last handline, and it was almost halfway into the boat when a cero mackerel grabbed the lure, and ended up in our freezer. About as “last minute” a success as you can have!

The next day was beach exploring. The beaches are beautiful, but were a little bit of a disappointment for Karen because there was a lack of interesting shells. We had expected to do some exploring inland, but that was not to be. This part of the island is not sand or solid rock, but rather a jumble of large, angular coral rock boulders. Very unfriendly to try to walk on.

We decided to take advantage of a break in the weather and jump to the next landmark. A 10 hour sail to the Plana Cays, a pair of uninhabited islands along the route to Mayaguana, our next major landfall. As we rounded the southern corner of Acklins Island, there is a long deep reef system that extends to the east. We paused there to drop a line, and in fairly short order pulled a nice, big, bright red “silk snapper” up from 400 feet under the boat. The rest of the sail was as nice as they come. Karen suggested that if sailing was always like this we’d sail until the food ran out. Daybreak brought us up to West Plana Cay were we anchored in the lee of the island.

The first beach-combing expedition here on West Plana turned up more shells, although Karen is still reserving judgement about how awesome it will be. Both East and West Plana Cay are currently uninhabited, but we did find ruins of very old occupations. Also, a pile of conch shells where the visiting fisherman clean their catch.

We even found the skull of a rodent, obviously not a common rat, it is wider and much heavier. It is almost surely the remains of the the only native mammal in the Bahamas, the Bahamian Hutia. The Plana Cays were the last place they were found before they were reintroduced to other islands. We didn’t see any evidence of living hutia on the island, but a marked lack of diversity in the local flora suggest that they might be here in significant numbers.

We’ll be watching the weather for the next few days here since this anchorage is open to the ocean the the east, it is not a place we want to be in case of a change in the winds. Our next harbor will be Mayaguana, about 30 miles to windward of our current location. Once we get there we’ll have a connection to allow posting of photos.

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