We generally attempt to sail but this time of year the winds seem to always be coming from the wrong direction so we usually end up motor sailing. For the trip from Exuma Land and Sea Park to Big Major Cay we were able to sail about half the way before starting the engine.
Big Major Cay is famous for pig beach. These pigs come running onto the beach when you pull up looking for handouts. They’ll even swim out to your dinghy if you don’t land. Most of the pigs were asleep in the shade when we got there but a couple of them showed up looking for food. We brought carrots to feed them but neither of us wanted to lose a finger, so we basically just threw them down and let the pigs scarf them up. They’re so used to people you can pet the sleeping ones and they never even move.
Staniel Cay is right next to Big Major. Russell and I had both been hoping for a place we could walk around and find local food and culture. We found that on Staniel. Our first stop was the Staniel Cay Yacht Club which caters to tourists and we found to be very expensive – $15 each for mixed drinks! But the next day we took a walk through town, found some local color and a restaurant for a burger then made a few purchases at the grocery. We found everyone to be very friendly.
That afternoon we snorkeled the famous Thunderball Grotto from the James Bond movie. It’s basically a tunnel through a small rock island that has openings you can swim into that opens up to a cave once you’re inside. The sun shines through holes in the top and down into the water. It is a pretty amazing place and easily accessed by dinghy. However, since the current was pretty strong we didn’t get to explore around the back side.
The next morning, we packed up our laundry and headed back into town. After leaving Puff at the dinghy dock we walked a short distance to the most interesting laundry facility I could image. It was actually a laundry/bar/liquor store with great internet. A few cold beers makes doing laundry a lot less painful!! Just wish I had remembered to take a picture.
After hauling our clean laundry (and alcohol purchase) back to the boat it was time for a second try at Thunderball Grotto. This time the current wasn’t nearly as strong and we actually remembered to take our underwater cameras so we could get some footage. Here too the coral seems to be pretty healthy with a good population of reef fish. If you ever get an opportunity to snorkel here, I highly recommend it.
Next up was a short (6 mile) sail to Black Point Settlement on Great Guana Cay. This is a decent sized little island and from what we understand it’s where a lot of the service workers for the neighboring islands live. We would see small open boats leaving each morning and returning in the afternoon which we believed were the equivalent to the car pool back home.
Black Point isn’t a real touristy place but has a number of little bars and restaurants that are locally owned and operated. The prices here are much better than in other places we’ve been but they are totally dependent on the supply boat. When we first got here the boat was overdue so a lot of items on the menus were not available.
We found the people to be open and friendly and we felt perfectly safe roaming around the island. While wandering through town we happened to meet up with Matt from Sailing Good, Bad, and Ugly. He and his girlfriend, Kristen, have been hilariously honest while documenting their cruising life and Russell and I have been following them on YouTube for a while now. Go subscribe to their YouTube channel at Sailing Good, Bad, and Ugly. I think you will really enjoy it.
That day one the local restaurants was on the VHF radio advertising happy hour and dinner so we decided to head on over. We ran into some other cruisers from Louisiana as well as Matt & Kristen and Andrew & Jazz, a couple we met earlier at the Land and Sea Park on SV Villa Veritas. We all had drinks but when it was time for dinner we noticed them putting up a sign that the kitchen would be closed for 4 hours. Oh well, that’s island life. We just walked down the road to the next place.
Next day we slept in then went snorkeling after lunch. Russell took his spear along but we didn’t find any fish. Lucky for us Matt dropped by and was nice enough to share some of his bounty!
One more day here at Black Point Settlement then we plan to do an overnight sail to Georgetown.