Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thunderball Cavern, Big Major Pigs and Staniel Cay

I keep taking pictures of the boganvilla because I can't
believe it's so beautiful, but they never do it justice!

Scott makes amazing bread with his bread
machine and happily does it often!

Brave kids getting out of their dinghies and close to these
pigs. They tried to get into our dinghy and I found them
kind of frightening (the pigs not the children)!
We hated to leave Warderick Wells but Julie and Peter's son Kristian was flying home from Staniel Cay (well, flying to Nassau and then onward). We wanted to spend a few days there seeing the famous Thunderball Cavern and the swimming pigs on Big Major's Spot. Pigs have been an attraction here for a long time and I have no idea how this came to be. But they patrol the beach there waiting for the food to arrive by dinghy. And of course everyone comes with food and probably quite a variety.
We anchored right off that beach and enjoyed their antics from a distance. Last year we fed them and perhaps they hadn't been for awhile, because they tried their best to climb in our dinghy. Oh no! We beat a fast retreat.

Yes the pigs really swim!
Great shot of Peter's - luckily for the birds it was dead calm!

Pirates Cove beach on Staniel Cay. The start of a wonderful
hike around the north east corner of the island.
We can never get enough of Thunderball Cavern however. It is so beautiful and the number and variety of fish, amazing (they too get fed regularly here). This is a natural cavern inside a small cay that has a few holes in it's roof, allowing the sun to shine in beams on the water. Around low tide it's easy to swim in with room overhead from the two main entrances, but at high tide you have to dive down.  Julie is a little claustrophobic and wasn't sure she wanted to do it, but we persuaded her to try. Brave girl, she did it and was so glad she did.
Scott, Kristian and I enjoyed diving down and exiting the smaller secondary entrances through tunnels. The snorkeling around the cay is also excellent. Unfortunately we don't have waterproof cameras or cases for them so can't show you pictures of all this. Sorry!
We walked around the Staniel Cay community and visited the three small grocery stores looking for fresh produce - not much of it. Scott and I also loved the hike around the north east end of the island. We walked from the Yacht Club trying to find the start of the hike and were helped by a local woman in a golf cart. It begins at Pirates Cove beach just past the east end and goes up past white cliffs and across a few rough roads to a more well defined path that winds around the end of the island overlooking the cut out to Exuma Sound. Then it goes down to the east beach where a narrow sandy road brings you back to the paved road where you turn right to return to Pirate's Cove, or in our case, back to the Yacht Club. This would be an easier trip made landing your dinghy at the beach (just past Tunderball club) and starting from there.
Our last night we made reservations for dinner at the Yacht Club. It is necessary to order your dinner before 5 PM. Everyone sits down together at 7:30PM. It was a very nice meal and included soup, salad and dessert.

The trail around the headland on Staniel Cay looking south
down the east side of the island
We brought a special dessert with us. Scott made a birthday cake for Heather - chocolate! The staff there added strawberries and candles - and everyone sang Happy Birthday! What a great evening. Unhappily we were saying goodbye not only to Kristian but to Ron and Marie on Molly Bloom. They were heading down to Georgetown the next morning while we were off to Black Point and then Eleuthera.
We were really sad to see them go as we'd had such wonderful times together. This is one of the hard things about the cruising life - we're all on the move and that means saying good-bye a lot.
Kristian, Marie, Julie, Heather , Ron and in the back, Peter

Happy Birthday Heather
Yeh, another great year!

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