Three Sharks & loads of Iggies

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Sat 24 Apr 2010 20:12
From Thunderball Cove we sailed back to Black Point for our third visit, principally for the purposes of dealing with a smouldering pile of laundry which was festering in the lockers. Without doubt, Black Point is one of the best locations to undertake such a horrid chore and the locals certainly know how to spoil the cruisers. There is a well equipped laundry room full of gleaming white machinery, which is a big bonus when visiting this friendly community. Unfortunately as the front opening 'day' fridge was still playing up onboard and needing some further attention Phil wasn't able to make the laundry run on this occasion so the dirty washing was dealt with by Nikki (as usual).
Having achieved success with the laundry and failed miserably with the fridge we arrived back at the boat to find 3 large fish shapes hovering underneath our home. We assumed them to be Barracuda until Phil enticed them away from their lair into open water using a shiny spoon lure only to discover they were small sharks. They were still there in the morning! However they were in all probability Nurse or Lemon sharks and harmless, although there were no volunteers for the Ajaya evening water aerobics class.
The following morning we were up early so as to squeeze in a visit to Bitter Guana Cay just a couple of miles away, where there is a resident population of land Iguanas that are quite pleased to see visitors - provided they bring some tasty morsels. We anchored about 100 yards from the pretty sandy beach..............
View from Ajaya to 'Iggy Beach' - Bitter Guana Cay                                                                 View from 'Iggy beach' to Ajaya with rain clouds forming
....and sure enough we could see the ugly critters lumbering backwards and forwards along the sandy shore as if expecting us. We were joined by another cruising yacht which also dropped anchor and it seemed a stand-off as to who was going to head to the beach first. We were both beaten to it by a small day boat with some tourists which closed with the beach, dropping its passengers off in the shallows. The Iguanas became quite excited and started to run, or walk fast towards the new arrivals where they were rewarded with various items of food thrown at them. We took the opportunity to head to the shore whilst this diversion occurred and we landed further along on a more deserted part of the beach. Phil was then approached by a large (3' long) fattish looking specimen a tad uglier than its friends, that seemed to want to get too close for comfort. The information we had on these Iguanas was that they were reasonably friendly unlike the ones on one of the islands a few miles away - but we decided to take no chances and kept the beasts to a minimum of a metre away
Two members of the 'reception committee' expecting treats                                           Getting closer by the minute and Phil's hopeless with reptiles!
That's too close as we don't have any food, and there's certainly no meat on Phil's legs        ........ so he's off.
After a walk across the island we walked back to the beach and there hiding under a bush was Iguana No. 13. We knew this as it was clearly painted on its starboard side. This was strange, as none of the other Iggies had any form of numbering system that we could see. If they ever had numbers then they certainly didn't have them now.  Strange that it should be number 13. Maybe it used to play for Bitter Guana United football team but couldn't afford a shirt so his number was painted on his back, or maybe it was the last surviving player on the island and the team had since disbanded due to lack of opposition. We will never know.
And here, emerging from under a bush and (almost) looking cute is ........                      Iggy 13. (Who is number one we ask?)
Later we met up with the occupants of the other yacht and had a chat on the beach, although it was hard to concentrate on conversation as we were gradually becoming surrounded by some of the larger Iguanas now that their recent food source had motored off to somewhere else. They sensed that the ladies bags may contain more food and were inching closer for a better look. One of the other yachtsman had a suede leather glove which he had used to offer a titbit of food and he showed us a piece of the suede that had been taken apart by a particularly hungry Iguana. Whether it was the same one or not but the Iguana that was now just 12" away from his leg and getting closer received a hefty whack round the head from the same glove that may have just fed it, which prompted a hasty retreat into the bushes where it then started to slowly circle round our group to approach from the opposite side. It now began to rain and as we had a couple of hatches open we headed for the dinghy but not before we witnessed the comical sight of a large fat Iguana chasing 3 others along the beach at a speed of about one mile per hour with the 3 chased iggies achieving exactly the same velocity. We sped back to the boat and continued to Iggy watch until, being reptiles, the temperature fell and their batteries ran flat through lack of heat, and the beach was then empty.
The resident 'beach committee' on lookout duty..... and finally, just for a change ........      we spotted this 12" long 'common or garden' non-iggy lizard thingameebob critter .
We stayed anchored overnight off Bitter Guana Cay - not the best of anchorages on this occasion as we rolled relentlessly throughout the night from a side swell from the southwest, which made good sleep virtually impossible. . Every loose object onboard was rolling around, doors were slatting on their catches and Phil was up in the early hours stowing the grill tray from the oven which had been perched on top of the microwave, which he'd forgotten to put away after washing up. You just cannot get good kitchen staff any more!  The rolling must have stopped just around dawn as the water was still and crystal clear as always in the Bahamas.
The next day we were heading off to Cambridge Cay and into the Exuma National Park, 176 beautiful square miles of  protected land and sea reserve. A complete 'No-Take' zone, no fishing, no conching, no crawfish taking and no shelling, but we had a few miles to try and catch a meal on the Exuma Sound side before the lines had to be stowed until clear of the park boundary further north. Would we be lucky this time and hook a monster fish?