Staniel Cay is our third taste of civilization in the Bahamas. First was Bimini, our pantry and refrigerators were full so all we needed was to set up our BTC (Bahamas Telecommunications Company) data and voice plans for the winter. Next was the unplanned visit to Nassau where we were able to fill up on produce again, take care of generator business and a few household chores.
Staniel Cay sports a BTC tower on the beach in front of town. This is a welcome sight after weeks of signals on the edge that blink in and out unless the iPad is being held up high on the hard top.
From the water the yacht club to the east has fuel, trash, a great restaurant and bungalows for tourists. A short walk to the west is two little stores, the library, church, and a bit further down is an airport and a general store that takes care of propane, mail boat deliveries, and fishing gear.
C Spirit is anchored waiting for us to go shopping.
The first stop is the Pink Store and two houses down is the Blue Store. Boy am I glad we spent so much time packing Costco, BJs and Walmart products on Makai. I’m sure most families back home have more food on their shelves than these stores do. But how can we complain, the kids got ice cream and Pringels. We were able to pick up some lettuce, eggs, and boxed milk.
Saturday’s big event was a fund raiser for the library. There was a rummage sale where I picked up a huge tupperware bowl, perfect for popcorn. At the library we donated several books from Makai and feasted at the baked goods sale. Wow, we ate donuts, muffins, brownie/chocolate chip cookie muffins, cheese cake tarts, lemon bars, and there were so many other goodies we just couldn’t eat anymore. We ate all this as a charitable donation to the library, so I’m sure that cancelled out the calories. Afterwards there was a lunch near the beach but we couldn’t possibly eat another bite.
In an effort to keep Topaz away from town, on another evening we went in search of a good beach. Across the bay and out through the cut was a little island with a bit of sand to play on.
It is always fun to find a beach off the beaten path.
Topaz appreciates her romp on the beach.
Roy spent quite a bit of time on Windflower one morning. Getting the scoop on what the boys at Serenity are up to and discussing free diving, trolling and spear fishing. It was a great conversation and we got some great tips. So the first order of business is to plan a fishing trip.
The crew on C Spirit joined us for a Sunday morning fishing trip to troll along the drop off on the east side of the Cays. The bottom quickly drops from about 20 feet to a few thousand about a mile off shore. There was no wind so we motored which was better for controlling the trolling speed as well as stopping for “Fish ON”.
When the spool started letting line out and everyone was running around, things started getting crazy. Jamie grabbed a hold of Roy who was grabbing a hold of his pole which had some sort of sea monster on the other end.
Finally, they landed our first Wahoo. This 36 inch streamlined silver piece of fish mussel really made everyone’s day. We’re not quite sure how much it weighed because the scale reflected something the size of a trout instead of a Wahoo.
Even though Roy has cleaned all of our fish so far, Jamie had some great tips on how to made a cleaner fillet.
The next two fish were barracuda which we don’t keep. The excitement of the fight is great fun. It is also nice to see this guy on the end of our fishing line instead of patrolling the reef while we’re snorkeling.
Check out these teeth, they look like Topaz’s pearly whites.
We also spent quite a bit Hobie Sailing. C Spirit has a sailing dinghy, so we both zig zagged between the little islands. One day we sailed the Hobie more than two miles out to Harvey Cay. It was a windy day and the waves were bigger than I am used to in the anchorage, but C Spirit was our mother ship and we had fun snorkeling once we got there.
Topaz is very glad she came cruising. She runs, swims, goes snorkeling, and barks all she wants. There is never time enough for her to have a nap.
Thunderball Grotto is a cave inside of one of the small islands in the anchorage. At low tide there are entrances on both side of the island. This is one of the locations the James Bond movie Thunderball was filmed.
The inside of the cave rises up about 15 feet with openings that let the sun shine in.
Since the entrance has a foot or so of clearance, you never have to hold your breath to get in. This makes it easier for Topaz.
Inside there are many beautiful fish and corals. I always love fish schools.
The lighting is unusual with it being a little darker in the cave.
Those crazy Sergeant Major fish can really mob a swimmer.
The inside of the Grotto is protected. I think the unusual lighting really highlighted this orange coral.
Lastly, there was a lonely anemone wriggling in the current.
Just as the fish are going about their business underwater, the ever goofing off girls are going about their business at the dinghy. They like to bounce on the pontoons and launch themselves off into a cannon ball. There’s always plenty of giggling and splashing as well. Genny and Marie are in heaven with C Spirit’s four little girls.
Roy also hooked up with Cole and Gauge from Serenity. They live here on Staniel Cay where their family business includes vacations rentals and boat rentals. Its a beautiful place if you are interested in vacationing here. The boys recently put together this Cape Dory 25 and invited Roy to have a sleep over on the boat.
Meanwhile the girls did hand stands for the fun of it.
C Spirit also has an inflatable wind surfer on board. The girls had yet another platform for goofing off. Genny did manage to sail it for a bit.
Big Majors is a Cay adjacent to Staniel. The anchorage on the west side of the island is large enough for many boats and there are three little beaches. There are quite a few large power boats here as well. The boat at the back of the anchorage had several jet skis as well as some crazy water powered rocket boots. We’ve seen these in Saint Martin and Saint Thomas. It’s pretty fun to watch.
There’s never a dull moment in the anchorage. One day the fuel boat came through the anchorage on its way to Fowl Cay resort. All power in the islands is provided by generators. Fill ups should be fairly common, but this is the first we’ve seen such a big boat in the anchorage.
If this week wasn’t exciting enough, the package we’ve all been waiting for arrived. The new rotor for our generator. It was due to be delivered on the Wednesday mail boat, but when we heard the announcement that the mail boat wouldn’t be arriving until Saturday, Eric made arrangements for it to arrive on the Flamingo Air commuter flight.
Eric got to work right away installing the new part and putting the generator back together.
By the next afternoon he was able to push the one button starter and it fired right up. OH YEA, 50 gallons of fresh water per hour. No more solar showers, and paper plates. Topaz gets nightly baths again, and I even hosed out the cockpit and rinsed the salt, sand and dog hair off the new cushions. Eric is the big hero today!
The old part is heading to the trash. I can’t believe how heavy it is, it takes both hands and plenty of muscle to hold it up.
More fun with friends. Roy and Jamie cleaned today’s catch. I have been cooking fish daily. The Wahoo was good for three meals including a fun pot luck with 3 boats. All the grouper, snapper and trigger fish have also provided many meals including pot luck tacos for lunch.
This evening we joined three other kid boats on the beach for a bonfire.
Our neighbor brought over the Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp for our movie night. We really love that Makai can accommodate 13 people for movie night.
The girls are always begging for sleep overs with Pheonix and Indigo. Topaz likes it because there are more girls to cuddle on her in the morning.
C Spirit took them all for breakfast while we packed Makai up to move after a week in and around Staniel Cay.
We took care of chores like putting the Hobie back on deck, Roy had to drill a hole for Eric in some cramped space, and I cleaned the sand, salt and dog hair out of the cockpit while Eric made a deal to pass the portable generator on to a fellow cruiser.
Lastly, we took the dinghy down to the beach on the southern end of the island that’s occupied by pigs. The story I heard is that around the time of the beginning of the Gulf War some guy thought it would be WWIII and decided to keep some pigs on the island for farm stock. If you google Big Major’s Pigs there are several photos and videos to check out.
The one big hairy momma came out first. She swam up to the dinghy grunting for food. Many people walk on the beach with them and even touch them, but we thought it was too dangerous so everyone stayed in the dinghy.
The little ones were very cute and we could have spent hours watching them. But we had to go back to town and take care of a little business.
Eric needed to pick up our propane tank that was being filled, Roy needed more trolling bait. He started getting these frozen Ballyhoo all strung up with hooks and leader line for a tasty trolling treat. We also had trash to drop off and one more lunch at the yacht club.
Everyone ordered the same as our dinner last week. I got a plate of conch bits with a crisp garden salad and a Bahamian Beer.
While the rest of them ate cheeseburgers in paradise. We were all so hungry and happy to be eating out, that the left over box was fairly empty by the time it got back to Makai.
While we waited for food the pool table kept the kids entertained.
This afternoon the bar was full of Americans and Canadians watching Olympic Hockey.
What a great week full of fun, food and friends.