Staniel Cay

We arrived at Staniel Cay Friday afternoon and anchored just off the marina. We opted for Staniel over Big Majors because a frontal system was predicted to pass and would be accompanied by strong winds. The dinghy ride to the airport in those conditions would be long and very wet, so we chose a closer location.

Saturday morning we headed to the dock where David rented a wet suit for our trip to the Grotto for some snorkeling. We came on the end of slack tide, so currents were already picking up by the time we entered the water, so we took an abbreviated trip through the grotto and spent the rest of the time enjoying the area just outside the entrance where currents are not as swift. The colors of the fish and coral are always amazing, and photographs are nice, but simply don’t do justice to the vivid colors of the underwater palette. Late Sunday morning we took a slow wet dinghy ride to one of the small cays south of Fowl Cay and walked the beach. Winds were already kicking up to the 20 kt range, so our ride over the white-capped stretch was wet enough to require periodic pumping. We returned to the boat with enough time for lunch, Andrea and David showered and made their last-minute sweep to pack up as we did a quick washer load of wet clothes. Damp, but at least clean. Saltwater soaked clothing does not travel well!

Dinghy loaded, we headed for Isle’s store and the short walk to the airport. Check-in was simple, the pilot is the ticket agent, the check-in agent, the security force, and the cabin attendant on the short flight to Ft. Lauderdale. We said tearful goodbyes and watched as their flight headed up and to the west. It was wonderful to have them aboard, even though the time seemed very short.

We stayed at the spot we were anchored, taking advantage of internet access to catch up a bit. Isis, a 53 Selene pulled into the marina, and we learned that their winch had developed some mechanical problems. I offered to help or provide any parts that might be helpful, but a local fellow was able to provide the odd bolts they needed to make the repair. I assisted with the final re-mount, and testing- the winch worked fine! Again, the definition of cruising is repairing your boat in exotic places. The cruising community is small, but always ready to pitch in to help fellow cruisers. We all know it could be our own boat in need of some help at some point!

The full moon that occured over the weekend was of note as it was particularly large and the moon as close as it had been in some 20 years. It was quite a sight at moonrise. A consequence of the moon’s proximity was a stronger effect on tides. Tidal ranges were more extreme, the most in many years. Our anchorage spot normally shows a foot or two under our keel, but with the extreme tides, we were on the bottom on Monday afternoon. Not wanting to ride the bottom for another tide cycle, we waited until the tide lifted us free, and headed for the deeper water of Big Majors. Our transit of the channel out of Staniel showed depths under our keel of less than a foot, highly unusual, but we were able to make the short hop to the anchorage without bumping. We joined a few Selene’s remaining in the anchorage, and planned to depart Tuesday for Black Point, just over an hour south. It would be new territory for us, as all the area we covered in just under a month in the Bahamas we had visited in 2009. Several Selene’s planned to head south to Georgetown, and we would likely join them at some point in the next few days.

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