Staniel Cay to Fowl Cay

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Mon 8 Jun 2009 13:38
24:16.46N 076:32.28W
Staniel Cay:   We had a great time anchored off the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, a popular marina for luxury yachts. The area is also famous for the filming of the James Bond movie Thunderball - which features what is now called "Thunderball Grotto" on a small islet in the bay. At low tide, you swim up to the entrance and go under a low overhang into the grotto. The grotto then opens up, about 8m high with light shining in from above - very dramatic. There are also lots of fish and pretty coral which made great snorkelling. A large school of Sergeant Major's were swimming around us, when I felt a sharp sting on my leg - one of the little critters had bitten me! Nothing serious, just a small red welt. I have been having a fine time with the wildlife here ... masses of mosquito bites, conch scratches and now a reef fish nip, luckily I kept my fingers away from the sharks' mouths! 
On Friday we drove Indigo around the area having a look at some of the private islands and smaller coves. There are many small cays surrounded by beautiful clear water of differing colours of blue, depending on the depth of the water. You use these colours to help you navigate, so as not to hit a sand bank. We had one near disaster.. our dinghy was not tied on to the yacht properly (thanks Willy!) and it escaped.  Luckily Mike noticed it drifting away, and luckily my fins were close at hand so I could dive in and swim out and get it. The currents are very strong here and you could loose of your dinghy pretty quickly. 
Staniel Cay is quite a  small island but does have a runway with regular flights to Nassau. So rather than sail back down to Georgetown to drop Karen off, she booked a ticket out of here back to Nassau. In typical island style, you buy the ticket from a woman who meets you at the general dealer, and then hauls her documentation out of a plastic shopping bag. When it is time for your flight, you sit on a wooden benches next to the runway and wait for the flight to come in. You take your bag to the pilot who puts it in the hold, you get in, and off you go ... simple and efficient!   I was very sad to see Karen go, not only as she is such a good friend, but also because all our visitors seem to be men!  Come on girls, I need back-up! For the record, the Exuma Scrabble Championship was won by Karen, 8 games to 7, but I did manage to get the highest score at 414.
Fowl Cay:  We sailed up to Fowl Cay on Saturday which is on the southern side of the Exuma Marine Park - meaning we can still fish. Mike and Willy made a sterling effort, and yesterday managed to find 5 good conch in about an hour. The most efficient method to find them, is  towing the guys, wearing their snorkelling gear,  behind the dinghy.  The other great news (John, you will be happy to hear) is that Mike has finally waxed the process of getting the conch out the shell  - no longer does he have to smash the shell into smithereens with a hammer. He now makes a small slit near the back of the shell, loosens the foot with a knife, and out it slides...looking like a giant firm snail. The only problem I have with all of this, is that after doing the  basic cleaning, the animal could still be alive. I discovered this in the galley as I was about to start slicing the "foot" into medallions MOVED ... I screamed..... arrgggghhhh.  I think that like with the fish, all the seafood preparation will now be left to Mike.
(Photos to follow once we find Internet access again)