In Staniel Cay - Exumas

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Sat 3 Apr 2010 18:51
In position 24:11.02N, 76:27.60W
We are writing this after a fast sail (for us, that is) down from Great Guana Cay this morning. We had in excess of 20 knots of wind at 120 degrees off the starboard quarter and the boat was sailing at between 7 and 8 knots for much of the 2 hour trip. These speeds are almost unheard off for Ajaya which is heavily laden with fuel and water, not to mention everything else we carry in our cruising lifestyle and has the sailing characteristics of a house brick. What helped most were the relatively flat waters of the Bahamas banks as we were sailing just a mile out from the Cays over the shallow waters. With the average depth beneath the keels being just 9 or 10 feet with the bottom visible all the way it was quite a surreal experience, but we'll probably pay the price some other time for such an exhilarating sail! But we did enjoy it whilst it lasted.
Staniel Cay is one of the major attractions in the Exumas. Just 60 miles from Nassau a lot of the luxury yachts from there visit this location. There is also an airport linking Staniel to the outside world as we witnessed today as a departing private aircraft came close to taking the top off our mast and a few others in the anchorage . Today we are anchored west of Big Majors Spot (aren't the names wonderful out here!) which is an island just yards from Staniel Cay itself. Also in the vicinity, lying just between Staniel and Big Majors is Thunderball Cove where scenes from the James Bond movie of the same name were shot. They certainly didn't waste any opportunity in renaming it from whatever it was called before. If you snorkel the grotto at Thunderball the friendly fish pester you for food, having a particular passion for frozen peas of all things. Well, they're frozen when you depart the boat but have probably thawed out by the time you get to the fish. The guide book states that If you don't have frozen peas then fish food will do nicely. Well, they're fresh out of luck with us!  If pea-eating fish weren't enough to cope with in the famous grotto then here at Big Majors Spot the local roaming pigs (which coincidently just happen to be very spotty) have aquatic tendencies and will sometimes swim out to your boat to procure any tasty titbits you may have on board. Just hope they like Soya Protein chunks as that's probably about as close as we are going to get to anything they may be interested in. As for the fish, well, with the price of peas here they will have to go without and just hope they don't have a Barracuda mate that takes care of mean-spirited snorkellers.