Staniel Cay and neighboring cays.

Ed chillin’ with one of the famous swimming pigs.

Hello family and friends! Our next stop along our southerly stroll in the Exumas was Staniel Cay…sort of. We actually anchored a little bit north as we primarily had west winds to contend with for the week, and Staniel Cay is exposed to the west.

We anchored at the red circle most nights, but also by pig beach.

We made a short motor down from Compass Cay as the wind direction was not workable to sail and it was only six miles away. We spent our first night by pig beach at Big Major’s Cay and enjoyed our afternoon with the swimming pigs.

Ed and I found this batch of pigs interesting in that they seemed half domesticated and half wild. They aren’t farm pigs in the way you’d think of pigs raised as livestock, but they do behave comfortably around humans. They are also hairier than a domestic pig, and a few of them even have the beginnings of tusks which is a feature only wild pigs (boars) have.

We had a quiet evening on the boat, and then the wind turned westerly the following morning. We put up with the rolly water for a couple hours (Big Major’s has no westerly protection) and then hopped on our dinghy for a tour around the area just to get off the boat. We found a spot a little bit north with much flatter water and double-backed to Serenity to move her to a new anchorage. As the day went on, more boats followed suit. We watched the die-hards get rocked and bobbed for the rest of the week.

As Ed and I had just had our anniversary, we also treated ourselves to a nice dinner out at Fowl Cay which is right next to Big Major’s and is separated by a 50-foot channel. The cay is privately owned and has been built over the years as a nice swanky resort. When they have space available, they will take dinner reservations for non-guests. Lucky for us space is available everywhere because of COVID, and we had a stunning four-course prix fix meal to celebrate our anniversary together. It was also the first time in over a year Ed and I got to sit at a bar for a bit! It was really a delightful treat to do something “civilized” for an evening. I, of course, did not bring my camera for this activity.

We spent the next couple of days waiting out blustery wind and tending to boat chores. We met some fellow Leopard 46 owners who shared the anchorage with us, and we hosted a happy hour get-together. It was really nice to meet new friends, but they were working their way north back to the states as they just cruise during the winter. It seems social gatherings are fleeting and ever changing. I’m finding it to be a difficult adjustment to learn how to be social in a very fluid construct. I suppose it’s like writing in the sand at low tide.

As the wind calmed a bit, we made a visit to Staniel Cay Yacht Club for lunch. Jimmy Buffet has touted it as one of his top ten favorite places, so we obviously had to go check it out. We had a nice meal, and it was a cool spot. I’m sure during non-pandemic times it’s a lively place to congregate with other cruisers, but our visit was pretty chill and only a couple of tables were occupied. I also took the opportunity to restock with a few grocery items, dispose of some trash, and we had a good walk around the settlement. I also neglected to bring my camera as I’ve been having a hard time making sure it doesn’t get wet when we travel by dinghy.

We also took a snorkeling opportunity at Thunderball Grotto…yes, as in the James Bond movie. I again found myself lamenting at my lack of waterproof camera. I did bring my camera and snapped a couple of pics, but the real show is in the water where my camera could not come. The fish, coral, and other sea life are stunning, and the fish will swim right up next to your goggles. Apparently other tourists feed them and they’ve learned how to ask for food by staring you down. It would have been fun to hang out longer, but the current was starting to get pretty strong as the tide was coming back in.

The best I can offer for now is to google Thunderball Grotto and check out the many images folks have taken underwater over the years.

The end of the week came with a forecast of strong north-east wind so we pulled up anchor and had a quick sail down to Black Point which has a good harbor for waiting out east wind. As I write, we are halfway through our weeklong gusty wind conditions. Once again we are waiting on weather to pass so we can continue south without torturing ourselves. Hopefully, with winter coming to a close, the weather will start being a little kinder to us!

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