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Staniel Cay

sunny 77 °F

The commute wasn't too bad. We upped anchor at Big Majors Spot at about 0930 because the marina said that slack water would be near 1030 and arrived just a few minutes ahead of that time having proceeded very slowly. The wind continued unabated from the SE at 17 knots. We worked our way to the channel although the chart plotter had a span of water at 5-ft, but the slack water was at high tide so we were OK. There is a nasty shoal/reef between the narrow channel and the marina and a big sailboat was anchored right in the wrong place, the equivalent of a semi parking in the middle of an exit ramp on the expressway. F.... Him! seemed like the best policy so we came very close to his anchor line, closer than was polite, but did not actually cause a problem.

I should have seen this one coming but blew it. We had requested a berth wherein the SE wind would push us toward the dock; an easy landing versus a difficult exit. Things were looking pretty good and then the marina guy said that he wanted us farther up the dock, not at the end of the dock where I was headed. I was screwed; I tried to get some forward momentum by revving the engine, but the requested wind was in charge and only accomplished a game of bumper cars, caroming down the dock until folks took pity on the old guy and tried to salvage the situation. It looked like a 911 call and I know what those look like. 15 people helping to manage 3 lines, trying not to embarrass the captain, moi! We finally got moored and, I hate this part, people came by saying that they thought that I did pretty well CONSIDERING THE WIND! Humility is an earned trait and I have earned more than my unfair share.

When at Warderick Wells Cay we took that dinghy ride to Rendezvous Beach where we met and chatted briefly with David, an Australian, and his boat person/partner/crew, Dana, she being from Washington state, a relationship that Carol and I are too old to understand, if it is in fact even a relationship as we would understand that term. Turns out that we are moored directly behind his boat.

So the four of us headed over to the "store" where Carol dropped off our laundry. She's liking this part, moving from doing laundry to managing laundry; she was an executive and has a graduate degree, after all. There was a thatched pavilion at the store; while the others were doing business I went out to sit in the shade and ended up engaging one man in conversation. It was wonderful; he owns a business in Nassau and was here to visit his mother. One of the items we discussed was all the incomplete construction on the several islands, something that David had also noticed. His explanation was interesting. He said that these are retirement homes on the family islands. The construction is proceeding apace with the plan to be completed in several years. People take time off to work on the houses; this year a foundation; next year a course or two of cinder block and so on until the target retirement date when a lot of stuff gets done all at once. It seemed credible. He also said that lots here, on Staniel Cay, were going for $1 million. The locals can afford housing because their land had been owned by their families for generations.

Talking with David was also interesting both culturally and generationally, he being in his mid twenties. Our governing concept, family, kids, house, career, is alien to him, at least at this point. He's a boat and water guy, and if those two things can somehow give him some sustenance, he seems to be good with that. Aspirations, goals, long term do no seem to be part of the deal except, maybe, getting the boat back to Australia. He mentioned that he had been to Cuba and scuba dived at the Bay of Pigs, seemingly without any sense of the history of that place. Still, he is a very pleasant, very personable young man and we enjoyed the afternoon and we will probably see him again as both boats head south. Hanging out with people young enough to be our grandchildren is interesting.

Some work did get done. We cut my hair again, no pony tails for this sailor despite how cool Mel Gibson looked in Mutiny on the Bounty, greasy hair! And, I cleaned the cockpit which after about 10 days looked pretty much like a land fill. I'm not sure how that area gets so dirty. Maybe it's windborne. We will have to get used to a dirty boat, or one cleaned only with buckets of salt water. At 40 cents a gallon, or more on some islands, if I don't get a fresh water bath then the boat doesn't get a fresh water bath.

Friday being January 27th, our anniversary, we think, we went out to dinner at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club; it sounds better than it actually is. Carol has bought two new dresses this trip and tonight she wore the first of those, purchased in Ft. Lauderdale. It must have been a big night: she washed her hair and made a point of mentioning that she was actually putting on eye makeup, a first this trip she said, as if I would have ever noticed.

To get to the restaurant area we had to walk through the bar which had the ubiquitous large screen TV's showing sports. So, what's on TV? Cross country skiing -- blond, Scandinavian white guys named Anders and Bjorn wearing Lycra suits and sweating on the snow. Go Figure. Cool Runnings is alive and well on a small island in the Bahamas.

Dinner was nice; they started with conch chowder, which I actually tried. However, when we got back to the boat I felt an almost irresistible impulse to put a fish hook in my mouth and to flop around on the deck. Carol had lobster and was glowing and radiant, as all women are on special occasions when they feel special. I liked the Key Lime pie and complimented her eye make up.

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One of the reasons that I was eager to come to Staniel Cay was,"Bond, James Bond," this being where the grotto scene from the movie Thunderball was filmed. Every skinny, goofy, dorky guy like me wanted to Sean Connery, pretty much the epitome of cool in that role.

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I had hoped to snorkel into the grotto which is just part of a chunk of rock out in the harbor formed by several islands including Staniel Cay. That is best done at the slack water following a low tide which this day will be after 2200, 10PM; so, that is not going to happen. Disappointing, but only a little bit. I'll just have to keep trying to find the bikini babes from the poster, a pretty good consolation prize for an older guy. The grotto is in the right hand most of the three islands.

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I saw this in the bar last night when I wasn't watching cross country skiing. For me it was like a magnet; for most others, white noise, a part of the background. The flag in the shadow box was the one carried and used by Henry Stimson, Sec. of War, at the 1945 Yalta conference, that conference being an important part of history for the 20th century. Why it should be in a bar on Staniel Cay instead of the National Archives or the Smithsonian is a mystery to me and almost all others on the island.

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Carol had her walkabout this morning ... less sun, cooler temperatures; I had mine this afternoon, more sun, warmer temperatures. I walked over to the windward side of the island to Ocean Beach. So far, all of the windward sides in the Exumas have been intimidating for sailing vessels. This one also had pretty water.

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There is a much used fish cleaning station here at the marina. Predictably, marine animals have figured this out, in this case, nurse sharks. They are not the most dangerous of the breed, and the largest of these was probably no more that 5-ft.; but each does come equipped with a standard set of very sharp teeth and a big appetite. It's hard to see but there were about 25, maybe more, in the area and perhaps a dozen in the picture. These guys were fairly polite about the whole thing -- no feeding frenzy, no eating each others tails, but petting and wading was not advised. We also saw several rays or skates in the area, some commingling with the sharks. These were, at most, 3.5-ft. across.

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Our last night we saw this sunset (oh, no Mr. Bill, not another sunset) and life is still good. Tomorrow, Sunday, we head south to Blck Point Settlement on Great Guana Cay, maybe 10~12 nm.

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Posted by sailziveli 18:11 Archived in Bahamas Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises fish beach boating bahamas Comments (0)

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