Cruising With The Chilbergs: Searching for Paradise (BLOG) - PassageMaker

Cruising With The Chilbergs: Searching for Paradise (BLOG)

Have you ever caught yourself dreaming about the ‘Perfect Cruising Ground’? Well, I have — my whole life. As a one-year-old was placed in the pilothouse of a 1928 36’ double ended trawler named “Ellie”...
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“When you leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition, what you discover will be wonderful . . . What you discover will be yourself.”

— Alan Alda

Have you ever caught yourself dreaming about the ‘Perfect Cruising Ground’? Well, I have — my whole life. I was born in Seattle, Washington, and as a one year old was placed in the pilothouse of a 1928 36’ double ended trawler named Ellie, as we cruised throughout Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. The water was cold, the season short, and the rain felt constant. But, when it was sunny, this was a spectacular and beautiful place. Overcoming sunlight deficiency syndrome was the major drawback.

Then we moved to Rumson, New Jersey, and enjoyed the unparalleled variety of Long Island Sound, the Chesapeake Bay, Block Island, Lake Champlain, and Martha’s Vineyard. A few floating bodies in the East River, sea nettles, and marina costs that required a loan from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia were the drawbacks of an otherwise spectacular experience. Again, another cruising season was limited.

ChilbergSlide

Fleeing the East Coast, my parents retired to Coronado, California, outside of San Diego. The weather is delightful and we enjoyed a cruise down the Baja Coast to Cabo San Lucas and La Pas, Mexico, but it was 750 miles on the Pacific Ocean to get there! There are very few places to cruise in California; the water is cold and the smog is ubiquitous. The cost of slips in California rivals oil rights in Dubai, and sharing Avalon on Catalina Island with 800 other boats moored is not for Susan and me.

The search begins: That's little me steering Ellie in 1953.

The search begins: That's little me steering Ellie in 1953.

Yes, the Great Lakes are spectacular, but last I looked there were not too many people cruising in February! The East Coast of Florida is close to the Bahamas and the West Coast of Florida has lots of snug anchorages, but the weekends are filled with large boats racing by with 6’ wakes. We love the Southwest Florida Coast with dolphin swimming along our wake, the clean water, variety of anchorages, and 12 month cruising season. But can we find someplace that has it all without the crowds?

Yes! As we write this we are anchored in the perfect anchorage, Big Majors Spot, Exumas. We are a short dinghy ride around a point to Staniel Cay for provisions and perhaps the easiest snorkeling spot in the world at Thunderball Grotto.

Big Majors Spot Cay is high enough to block the 20 knot winds out of the east, so we have a calm and motion free anchorage. Here at Big Majors, we are in 10 feet of crystal clear water over white sand and terrific holding for the anchor. The anchorage is over a mile long and half a mile wide. There are no more than 25 boats here, and we are all at least 50-100 yards apart for privacy. The beaches are pristine and varied.

The anchorage at North Big Majors.

The anchorage at North Big Majors.

To the south is ‘Pig Beach’ where you can swim with friendly pigs and feed them before they try to climb into your dinghy. Susan and I passed on that beach! To the north of the anchorage is “Pirate’s Beach.”

The pristine sands of Pirate Beach.

The pristine sands of Pirate Beach.

This comes with tables, chairs, fire pit, dart board and a great ‘Jack Sparrow’ vibe. The beach was set up by Jim Goostree and Janie Hermann aboard their Hatteras Pirate a few years ago. We have had the privilege of joining them for several parties this last week. They are both knowledgeable cruisers and generous souls. Enjoy the pictures of Big Majors, stop dreaming and join us. It’s actually very comfortable here; just follow your intuition!

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