George Town to Staniel Cay

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Mon 19 Apr 2010 14:55
In position 24:10.759N, 76:26.759W
Having been in George Town for a week it was time to sail north once again.We had provisioned, fixed the watermaker problem, played volleyball on the beach, sat out some windy weather and had a great time with the friends we'd made over the previous few weeks. It was like being with a travelling show and we enjoyed the camaraderie engendered by cruising in close proximity with other people. It was a wrench to leave but they had already visited places in the Exumas that we wanted to see. We left on Saturday 17th with the promise of a good breeze to take us back up the Exuma chain. We motored out of Elizabeth Harbour with the farewell wishes from friends broadcast over the VHF  which was very humbling. We were now on our own once again.
Once we had cleared Conch Cay Cut it was out with the fishing lines as we set off at a steady 6-7 knots. The seas were quite boisterous as the wind had been blowing constantly for some days but later in the trip they subsided to a more comfortable level. About 10 miles from our destination - Dotham Cut at Black Point the electric fishing line screamed out and in the distance the unmistakable shape of a Dorado (Mahi Mahi) leapt clear of the water, its beautiful blue and yellow colours glistening in the sunlight. Unfortunately that was the only glimpse of the fish we saw as it completely snapped the line,  regrettably taking all the fishing lure and hook with it. The immediate thoughts of a barbecue grill  full of Mahi steaks diminished as quickly as the fish and we sailed on.
The next incident occurred just a mile or so from Dotham Cut. The electric reel once again screamed out (one of the most exciting sounds to any fisherman) and again the line went slack. This time the lure was reeled back in minus the hook assembly which had been ripped away from the attachment pin. So again we were dealing with a significant fish, although this time we felt that a Barracuda was at work out in the sound. We entered Dotham Cut fish-less but at least having had some excitement along the way as well as a good sail up from George Town.
As it was getting late we anchored at Black Point for the night before heading to Staniel Cay Sunday morning to get some shelter from possible strong westerly winds that were expected due to a area of disturbed air mass exiting the good o'l Gulf of Mexico. We had previously anchored behind Thunderball Cove a few weeks ago when a cold front had passed and whilst being lumpy it did shelter us from the seas being blown across the Bahamas Bank. We also wanted to explore Thunderball Cave, one of the most popular attractions in the Exumas and location of a few adventure movie scenes - most notably 'Thunderball' and 'Never say never again'. We hoped that the weather would cooperate as the cave is subject to tidal flow which can make life interesting. On arrival we anchored on the shallow sand bank just east of the grotto almost in the same position as our previous stay and waited for some slack water to go exploring.