2012-01-28 to 2012-02-02 Compass Cay, Big Majors, Staniel Cay

2012-01-28 Compass Cay – actually Pipe Cay

So we dropped the mooring ball today and headed down to Compass Cay via the banks (inside route). It was a bit of a bumpy ride but not drastic. Inched our way toward Compass Cay via their channel markers of which a few were missing so it was a bit nerve wracking first following a range and then heading close inshore. We finally made our way into the lee of Pipe Cay and dropped the hook which held first time. The current was very strong though!!

We then dinghied into Compass Cay Marina where we had burgers for lunch and then went off to the beach which was deserted – ours were the only footprints there!! Headed back to the marina and bumped into Steve and Amanda (Diana) again!!! Then it was swimming with the nurse sharks – Leanne and Amanda egging each other on :) – photos to prove it!!

Then headed back to Amanzi as I wanted to be there at the turn of the tide (current) to make sure that the anchor would hold. Leanne and I dinghied around also looking for coral heads for lobster but no luck!.

However, very near where we were anchored we saw that some irresponsible boater had dumped a huge number of beer and wine bottles into the water – there was even a broken deck chair on the bottom. How sad that there are still people willing to spoil the environment like this!!!

We then watched the most glorious sunset and each one of us saw the “green flash.” This occurs as the last bit of the sun dips below the horizon. I’ve been sceptical about it but there it was!! But not what I really expected. It appeared as a green dot just as the sun dipped. It was so quick that I didn’t get it on a photo. But we all saw the same thing :)

2012-01-29 Pipe Cay to Staniel Cay/ Big Majors Spot – Fishing

Today the weather forecast (Chris Parker) was for light variable winds, so we decided to take the outside route (via the Exuma sound) to Staniel Cay to see if we could get any fishing in. We gingerly threaded our way between the various shallow banks past the non-existent channel markers and entered the sound at Conch Cut. As soon as we were out of the park area, I let out the lure hoping to catch a Mahi Mahi or a Wahoo or something. I mean everybody catches so much fish that they get sick of eating fish and are always hanging out for a burger when they get to any kind of restaurant.

Well, two things happened. Firstly, the light variable winds turned into a south-easterly at 15-20 knots!! Seems to me the Bahamas weather forecast and my simple GRIB files are consistently more accurate that Chris Parker’s 6.30am forecasts!!! So the result is that the sea state was somewhat rougher than expected. Fortunately, the swell was on our port bow so our motion wasn’t too bad.

The second thing that happened that we did not catch any fish – not even a nibble :) :)

We even went past Big Rock Cut ( our entrance to Staniel Cay from the Sound) to try to get in some more time fishing. The wind started freshening and the swell was kicking up a bit more so we turned around and headed back to the cut. Looking at our track on SPOT, it would seem we missed the entrance but this was not so :)

So we slowly motored our way down the channel – passing a rock awash, clearly marked on the chart. But the gap seemed so small between it ans the island, even though I had plotted the course!! What to do, what to do? I’m not sure!!! Drifted to the western side of the rock, even if course said eastern! And being more to the right, the gap on the left seemed even smaller!! Oh dear!!! (‘dear’ is a euphemism :) ) Looked at the chart again – current also carrying us forward. Ok there’s enough room on the right to squeeze past. Looking back the gap on the left was actually huge :( Motored on past Staniel Cay Yacht Club and around Big Majors and tucked ourselves into a nice little spot off the beach and in front of all the other boats anchored around.

Then it was off to see the swimming pigs while Mary stayed aboard and baked some more bread – yummy stuff!! Back to the boat via some beach time for the boys although they were not in their swimming togs!! This little beach in front of us seems to be the “social beach” with chairs and a large bonfire pit.

After lunch Leanne and I dinghied around looking for various spots for lobster and Leanne dived a few but there was nothing to see anywhere. Back at the boat, it was so hot that Mary had put up the cockpit shades and filled the little inflatable paddling pool for the boys which they thoroughly enjoyed.

At sunset we looked out for the green flash again but there were clouds on the horizon.

Slept well in the lee of Big Majors :)

2012-01-30 Big Majors Spot.

Today the winds were pretty heavy but Leanne and I  dinghied into town – getting quite wet from the spray on the way – to replenish some of our depleted stores. Went to the Blue and then the Pink Store and were quite successful in getting some good provisions. We had also taken 2 garbage bags which we were able to dispose of :) Then filled up the dinghy fuel tank and dinghied along a dinghy channel to the Isles general Store. On the way we  met Steve and Amanda dinghying there too! So we had a nice little natter while motoring side by side. Got some more provisions at the store and then headed back to the boat. We had bought so much stuff that the extra weight prevented me from being able to get Amadink on the plane, so it was a slowish but pleasant trip back – not so wet!

This afternoon, we took off to see the swimming pigs but all we saw was all of them disappearing into the bush. So, we headed off to a very deserted beach and while there Steve and Amanda arrived. She wrote a happy birthday message to her mum in the sand and then photo’d it to send – nice!! They then returned to Amanzi for drinks and dinner and a very enjoyable evening. They had brought along some dark rum which we all enjoyed thoroughly and Amanda had baked a fresh loaf of bread which she shared – yummy again. We now have that recipe from her too :)

The wind picked up during the evening but we all slept well – NOT a function of the rum, mind you :)

2012-01-31 Big Majors Spot

Weather, weather, weather! Our lives are ruled by the weather. Forecast today to 15-20 knot easterly winds. Not too much of a problem for us, tucked into the lee of Big Majors. Mary decided we should go into Staniel Cay so off we went packing another huge garbage bag – good grief, where does it all come from – plus the stroller for the boys.

Stopped at the beach to see the swimming pigs. They obviously hadn’t had any food so we had 3 come out to Amadink for some lettuce and stuff we had brought along. There were also 2 little piglets – still suckling – but they didn’t venture into the water. It’s an amazing experience to see these pigs swim out to the dinghy looking for food. Also around were a few barracudas and some other smallish fish.

After that we continued to Staniel Cay but as we rounded the headland we found the chop quite heavy and everyone was almost soaked by the time we decided to turn back after five minutes :) Not the best decision to try to cross to Staniel Cay given the wind speed and direction.

So… back to Amanzi for swimming togs and off the beach for the rest of the morning. It was absolutely perfect and very calm being protected by the land mass of Big Majors. It was very hot out of the wind so it was back to the boat for lunch and afternoon rest/nap/quiet time.

Still hanging out for those lobster but it appears (from local knowledge) that one will only find them in deeper water in the cuts and Sound side of the islands :( However, Steve of Diana has also had no success diving for these wretched beasts in the cut – so, who knows?????

2012-02-01 Thunderball Grotto

The weather still plagues us. Winds are still forecast for 15-20 knot range building to 20-25 knots  :( Where are these Bahamian days that you read about in various blogs? You know, idyllic days of sunshine and fun??

This morning Leanne and I headed off to Thunderball Grotto while Mary elected to stay behind and look after the boys. On our side of the island it was quite peaceful and calm and we got Amadink up on the plane quite easily. Once again, going round the headland we hit the swells and it was a very wet and bouncy ride to the grotto. Good thing we already had our wetsuits on :) There was no-one else there and we made our way in though the cave entrance. It was low tide so we easily entered the grotto. We didn’t even need to swim underwater to get in.

The grotto was amazing with the fish life in abundance. We had taken some old bread in plastic bags which we released slowly and the fish literally “swarmed” around us. I held some bread crust in my hand and got my finger “nipped” by some little nipper of a fish – not painful at all! We spent about 30 minutes there all alone and had a great time.

Then it was off to some coral heads and an inspection of the cuts to the Exuma sound for lobster. Sadly, despite an intensive search we found no lobster at all. We did see many Nassau groupers of all sizes – sadly, we couldn’t take any as they are out of season!!

After returning to Amanzi it was lunch time and nap time although I spent some time in the water cleaning the hull of all the growth she had accumulated since Baltimore, but especially since Fernandina Beach!

Later it was off to our “private” little beach and then back to Amanzi for showers and dinner. Another great sunset was seen but no green flash this time :(

Tomorrow we are relocating around Big Majors to Staniel Cay Marina as the winds are expected to increase over the next few days and we need to get Leanne, Mary, the boys and their luggage to the airport in a dry state :)

PLUS we’ll have some internet access – YAY :)

2012-02-02 Staniel Cay Marina via Thunderball Grotto

Upanchored early this morning and headed around Big Majors Spot and picked up a mooring ball at Thunderball Grotto and then dinghied to the grotto for some more snorkelling. Once again it was amazing and Mary and Luther also enjoyed the experience! By the time we had finished it was almost lunch time so we headed off to the Marina, refuelled with diesel and then entered our slip where we’ll be staying till Leanne and the boys leave on Saturday.

Treated ourselves to lunch at the Marina restaurant and had very reasonably priced meals.

After lunch we headed into town with the boys in the stroller. First went to the BaTelCo office to see if we could sort out Mary and Leanne’s cell phones with their Bahamas Sim cards. Both are unable to text or phone internationally! Well, the lady was unable to sort out the problem so the purchase of the Sim cards has really been a total waste of time apart from being able to text/phone locally and the USA.

Then went via the small airport to the Isles General Store and picked up some provisions – including a case of diet Pepsi. Thank goodness for the stroller to carry the case back to the boat :)

Whiling away the late afternoon a sportfisher boat came in and the crew started cleaning the fish they had caught – 51 on them including a large wahoo and many yellow eyes! Naturally we were green with envy. But, they had been fishing in the  Tongue of the Ocean which is about 20 nautical miles from here!!!

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One Response to 2012-01-28 to 2012-02-02 Compass Cay, Big Majors, Staniel Cay

  1. Mary Dickens says:

    Great photos! I’ve never heard of a swimming pig before; that must have been a sight! Take care and be safe.