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Old 22-07-2010, 14:16   #1
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Norman's Cay

Just read Turning the Tide, a riveting story about one-time dope kingdom in the Exumas. New edition out in 2010 and I've found at least YouTubes by pilots who visited there and posted photos of Lehder's house, now a ruin. So, I guess pilots can land there but what is dock situation there now?
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:41   #2
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There are no usable docks on Normans. The large dock on the south end has deteriorated. You land your dinghy on the beach. An excerpt from a certain Bahamas Cruising Guide,

Normans Cay
Normans Cay won fame, or rather infamy, as the base of Colombian drug runner, Carlos Leder, during the bad old days of Bahamian drug trading. Leder’s operation was eventually infiltrated by “the feds,” but not before there were (supposedly) a bevy of murders when cruising boaters came too close to his operation. Today, haphazard development on the southern tip of Normans Cay (once the heart of Lederland) with a large dock (now deteriorating) and some houses (still there and bullet ridden) and the remains of a “Berlin” wall, which once guarded Leder’s territory, are just north of the airstrip. A ditched aircraft in the southern anchorage (now almost completely obscured) and a BTC-type mast on the southwest tip of the cay (still used as a landmark) are all that is left of Leder’s domain.
Today, the visible signs of the bad old days are disappearing as new owners bring about revitalization and development. Normans Cay has always been at the top of the list of boater’s favorite cruising destinations because of its beautiful beaches, good gunkholing, nice hiking and great anchoring options. If we cruisers wish to remain welcome here, please don’t even consider burning your trash on the beach by the dock or leaving it at the old dump. Better yet, come to shore with an empty bucket, and help remove the remnants of previous trash transgressions! There is good easterly protection along the entire western shore of the cay, but there are also coral heads and shifting sand bars. Negotiate this shore with good light, and use your sunglasses. You will find good holding and protection from surge south of Galleon Point in at least 1.8 meters/6 feet of water. Explore the area around Galleon Point and Saddle Cay by dinghy. The colors of the waters here are extraordinary.
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:43   #3
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Do locals turn out to give you the grand tour like these YouTube pilots apparently received?
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:52   #4
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We have never seen anyone do that.
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Old 22-07-2010, 15:46   #5
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When I first went to Normans in 1990 the clubhouse was still intact. Today it is a shell although the cistern is still good. In 1990 the big colour tv was still there and lots of furniture and records in filing cabinets. Lots of bullet holes too. It was interesting reading the stuff in the files. Bills for repairs to their fleet of Cigarette boats, all sorts of interesting stuff. In 1990 no home owners had returned to the cay yet. There was a detachment of police there, they came from Nassau and were stuck there for weeks dying of boredom. We used to have beach parties with them, they had lots of soda and chicken but no booze so the cruisers provided the booze and the cops provided the food. We used to take them out in our dinks to get conch as they had no boats and were stuck on land. I often wondered what they had to have done in Nassau to get exiled to Normans.

The airstrip is in good condition and many of the local pilots stop there for lunch at McDuffs, the local bar/restaurant/beach cabins joint which has now been re-named Normans Cay Beach Club. Mr. Leder is still in Florida, I think he's got another 50 odd years to do.
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