Keep an eye out for the Sharks

Trip Start Jan 30, 2008
Trip End May 10, 2008

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of Bahamas  ,
Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hello again from Staniel Cay in the central Exumas!  We arrived here four days ago, and since then have been visiting with our parents and Granny.  They decided to join us down here for a quick stay and get a taste of the island life.  Since the last report from Highborne, we have been sailing south and stopping at many of the small Exumas islands on the way to Staniel.  First stop was at Hawksbill Cay, which provided a wonderfull, calm mooring that felt like we were sleeping on land again; it was so peaceful.  We did our usual hiking excursion all over the island and this was the first island in a protected chain the makes up the National Exuma Land and Sea Park.  This park is protected by Bahamian laws and prevents any harm done to the islands, such as open fires or littering, and any fishing within three miles of the islands.  This protection is nice because the land is pristine and the fish population over the top! It is sure tempting to take our spears to some of the reefs.  We left the following day and headed to the Park Headquarters in Warderick Wells.  This Cay features a semicircle of moorings with a huge sandbar in the middle, which is nice for running around, throwing the football, and just relaxing.  The drop off from this sandbar is so steep that you can run and dive off it into about 12 feet of water.  The area also features plenty of hiking trails all over the somewhat mountainous island.  At the top Boo Boo Hill, there is a shrine dedicated to all the sailors who have visited the area and its filled with pieces of drift wood carved with vessel names.  It also features impressive views over the crystal aqua waters.  Off the coast of Warderick Wells was a ship wreck many years ago, and they say that ghosts still haunt the island... we were looking, but sadly did not hear any spirits.  After leaving Warderick, we traveled on to Cambridge Cay.  This inlet was fairly narrow, as most are down here, but we safely navigated around the treacherous coral banks and made it to a secure mooring.  Soon after I jumped in for a quick swim before sunset.  After surveying the surrounding bottom for potential hazards, I swam to the stern of the boat and saw a large fish swimming towards the boat.  Slowly but surely it made its way closer and closer and got bigger and bigger until I realized it was a shark!  Now I have been on a shark dive with my family so I have seen some in the water before, but when it is just you and the shark, you get a little more nervous about it.  I was out of the water in a split second and was soon watching it swim beneath the boat!  We later learned that some Bull sharks had been seen roaming the moorings looking for scraps from boaters, but to be very cautious because the Bull sharks, unlike the tame Nurse sharks, are known to attack swimmers.  Since then we have been watching over our shoulders for these nasty guys, not wanting to loose a toe!  We soon left Cambridge, and headed to Compass Cay marina.  This marina had a great island feel to it, and was still run by the family who had inherited the island from the Bahamian government years ago.  After setting anchor, we dingyed into the marina for a look around and a cold beverage.  We got talking to some people from Annapolis, and invited us back for some drinks on their 75 foot motor yacht.  Before we knew it, they asked us to stay for dinner!  It couldn't have come at a better time either, because we were getting pretty tired of the pasta dinners.  We ate like kings that night and had a feast of steaks, mushrooms, baked potatoes, and green beans.  The people were very nice and we ended up staying talking till 11 oclock.  It was a great meal and gave us the energy for an adventure the next day  Again there were multiple hiking trails on this island, and one which led to a "bubble bath".  The bath was created by enormous waves crashing on the coral rocks and spilling over into a pool on the other side, creating foamy water with bubbles floating up into the air.  We all dove into the pool, and it was extremely refreshing after the three hour hike to the bath.  Later the next day, we did some kiteboarding close to a sandbar off the marina.  The wind was blowing 15-20 kts, and was great for kiteboarding.  Austin was tearing it up out there, as was Brayden until he lost a part to his kite, which soon sent him flying through the air 7-10 feet.  It was hilarious from my point of view in the chase dingy, seeing Brayden fly once with the board, then a second and third time just being launched through the air!  I quickly raced over to him, as quickly as you can with a 5hp, and loaded up the kite and board, while Austin was doing circles around us.  The current proved to be pretty wicked though and was sucking us out fast.  We finished short after Brayden's incident, and relaxed the rest of the afternoon on the sandbar located in the middle of the harbor.  Next stop was at Sampson Cay, just further south of Compass.  This marina was very high class and every boat was at least 55 feet, with a couple over 150.  We grabbed some lunch and then headed off to find some conch for dinner.  We scoured the water and found a bunch of conch shells.  We cleaned them, and fried the conch, using bisquik pancake mix for the batter and some herbs and spices for flavor, into some fritters, which were delicious.  Left there a few days later and headed to Staniel to meet up with the parents.  We cleaned up the boat and waited for the parents to arrive, but we quickly were ordered to leave the marina because of a strong west front soon to blow through in two hours.  Everyone at the dock was told to leave, and it was a mad, frantic dash to get out before it blew through.  As the dark clouds rolled in and the wind picked up, everyone was trying to seek shelter somewhere.  We ended up finding a spot not too far away in between two islands, providing decent protection from the strong west winds.  We waited out the storm for the night, as the parents arrived shortly after we had left.  The next day turned out to be gorgeous, and gave us time to anchor back closer to where the parents were staying.  Over the time we spent with them, we got to do some fantastic snorkeling in Thunder ball Grotto, featured in James Bond film.  An absolutely amazing cave that you had to swim under huge boulders to get to.  Once you surfaced inside the cave you find yourself in a dark enclosure, with light rays through cracks in the ceiling creating a surreal atmosphere.  We explored all around Staniel and Sampson Cay in the rental boat and again dove for some conch.  The conch we found were a little too small the keep, and after some harsh words from some local Bahamians,  were given some we could cook up. We went out for a nice day sail and threw out some lines in hope of landing a dolphin, but had no such luck.  In fact, a whole school of these yellow and blue accented fish swam right along side the boat, basically teasing us, before diving down again into the deep blue.We ventured over to Big Majors Island, and saw the infamous swimming pigs!  They came right up to the boat, wanting only one thing: food.  We went on shore to find about seven little piglets playing in the bushes, and tried to coax them out for a closer look.  These pigs were actually pretty aggressive at times and one even bit Brayden on the leg after he was teasing them with the bread.  Overall we had a great time seeing our parents and granny, ate fantastic meals, and got some great time on land for a good change of pace.  We are anxious to get back out on the sea, and keep the journey going strong.  We are off to do some much needed laundry in Black Point, and then venture down to a huge beach for some kiteboarding, praying the wind is right.  From there we are off to our southern most destination, Georgetown, on Grand Exuma Island.      

Michael Pitcairn
Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • Please enter a comment.
  • Please provide your name.
  • Please avoid using symbols in your name.
  • This name is a bit long. Please shorten it, or avoid special characters.
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


trudypitcairn on

Fantastic visit!
Dad and I had a fantastic time with you guys these last 5 days! All three of you looked wonderful, tanned, fit, bushy, relaxed and happy! Just seeing you guys in action, it really becomes evident how much you have accomplished and how challenging it has been at times. From storms to anchoring, shallow water mazes to agressive iguanas! The water you are sailing in, is truly the most gorgeous hues of blue I have ever seen!! Thank you so much for making us the welcome cake....delicious and the glimpse of what your adventure has been like so far! Love You! Mom

offshortravlr1 on

Hey yall
Well brothers, it sounds like yall are having a blast down there. I can't wait to come and visit yall. Life in Charleston is pretty boring and I can see why yall have been telling me that i need to get out more. Im ready to come after this week. Middle of April. If yall will still have me. I still haven't recieved my passport. Don't know why, but im sure that there is a perfectly logical explanation for it. Any way everyone else is doing alright. Carolina cup was fun. And work, although im doing really well, sucks. Anyway. I envy yall and can't wait to hear from you. Your buddy, Andrew.

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: