N24 10.336 W76 26.755 - Staniel Cay

Trip Start Mar 09, 2009
Trip End May 26, 2009

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Friday, April 17, 2009

April 16, 2009 - Thursday
N24 10.336  W76 26.755
Today we decided to leave Cambridge Cay and head south.  Our destination was Staniel Cay so we are now outside the Exuma Land & Sea Park.  We down the Exuma Sound and set our course.  Put up the main and head sail and cut the engine.  Had a great 2 hour sail down the Cays passing Compass, Pipe Creek,  Overyonder Cay, Sampson Cay, Dennis Cay, Fowl Cay and Big Majors Spot, Little Majors Spot to Big Rock Cut and into Staniel Cay. 
When we first started out down here, the thought of Exuma Sound was not in my comfort zone  thought the Bahama Bank would feel "safer".  Well, found out both can be a real bitch and the Bahama Bank with it's shallow water can be a bugger going into the wind.  Exuma Sound has  the rollers and waves of the ocean but I'm used to it now.  Either way can be a real pleasure or a real knuckle gripper.  The good news is I'm comfortable with both!

    We came in through Big Rock Cut in front of Big Majors which is a popular anchorage.  However, we saw a large sailboat sitting on it's side - obviously not a happy anchorage for that boat and I think it just happened last week.  It's an all-too-real reminder of "there but for the Grace of God go we!"  
We rounded the high dunes to port and entered Thunderball  (where 007 was filmed) where there are moorings and past Thunderball Cave to Staniel Cay Yacht Club Marina. We passed the Thunderball Grotto which is a sky lit underwater cave featured in several films including the 007 Film.  We'll stop here on our way back up and dive the grotto. 

All the moorings were taken so we decided to pick up a slip at Staniel Cay YC Marina.   Here we can get wifi and put the AC on.   The slip ($2/foot), electric $30, and wifi $10, garbage $5,  we're in for about $3/foot. 
Staniel is 1 miles long and mile wide.  It boasts three grocery stores, The Pink Store, The Blue Store and Isles General Store, two restaurants and three bars and a small airport you can fly into on Watermaker Airlines.   
As we were walking the dock from the boat, we noticed about 6 or 8 sharks in the water under our boats.  The fish/conch cleaning table was at the head of the docks and this appeared to be the local shark hangout for lunch.

Speaking of lunch, we had conch burgers at the YC restaurant.. It was reasonably priced at $15 each - dinners range from $29-$42 and there's a 5% surcharge for using credit.  If you're going to dinner, you need to call in your reservations and order by 5PM.  They cook was is reserved.   Ahhh, the Bahamas!

Staniel is unique among the Bahamian out island communities.  It's inhabitants are a mix of native Bahamians and outsiders with homes on the island.  Staniel Cay sailors are recognized as some of the best in the Bahamas with the famous local A Class Sloops, The Lady Muriel and Tida Wave and a growing fleet of C Class sailors as well.  Community hosts New Years Day Regatta and local C Class races, National Bahamas Sunfish Regatta is hosted here in August.  

We passed the cemetery and one grave was heavily decorated.  It was of Captain Rollie Gray.  Captain Rollie Gray with his Tida Wave, was a former champion of the Family Island Regatta.  Captain Rollie Gray once hosted H.R.H. Prince Phillip aboard his vessel for a sail in the Tida Wave.  Capt Gray passed away at the age of 85 this past February.  The village is small.     We heard that the boat had not come in yet with fresh foods, so the fresh veggies I was hoping to purchase aren't here.  There is one head of frozen lettuce at the Pink Grocery Store    and that's about it! 

   On our way up a hill we saw a sign (painted on wood) on the street that said "Bread" and pointed to the back door of a house.  We knocked on the door and asked if there was any fresh bread available!  Bingo!... we got the last remaining freshly baked loaf of coconut bread.  Can't wait to have it for breakfast.  Only cost $5!!



A thunderstorm was approaching so we headed back to the boat.  This will be the first rain we've had since arriving in the Bahamas.  Our boat is soooooo caked with salt,  a good hard rain is a blessing.  And....rain it did - hard, driving rain.  I can now see out the portals and hatches.  Bad news is that we have quite a fetch here and we are banging up against the dock!  That is one advantage to being on a mooring - don't have to worry about anchor dragging or banging up against something.
Hanging around the boat tonight and then heading out tomorrow.  Not sure where - somewhere south - probably Blackpoint on Great Guana Cay (not to be confused with Guana Cay in the Abacos)!
Life is good!
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