Monday, May 3, 2010

Staniel Cay, Bahamas - Day Two

We quickly fell into a daily routine during our stay at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. We would get up around 8:00 am or so and enjoy some coffee on the deck before cleaning up and heading to the clubhouse for breakfast. The breakfasts were great and you could get eggs to order, bacon or sausage, and toast as well as omelets, pancakes, French toast, fruit plates, and more.

During breakfast we would ask for a boat and boxed lunches. For lunch you can get ham, turkey, or tuna sandwiches and they also pack chips, fruit, and drinks in a cooler for you. They also kindly showed me where I can get ice for our rum punch cooler! The placemats at the tables are the same charts/maps they give you to explore the area so by the end of breakfast, we pretty much had decided where we would explore for the day.

After breakfast, we would head back to the cottage, apply the day's first sunscreen, and load up the boat. The weather was great for most of our stay except the last day, but I'll tell that story later.

The first place we visited was Thunderball Grotto just across the yacht club to the north for some snorkeling. Some of the James Bond film Thunderball was shot here. At low tide you can enter the grotto on the east or west side, but the west side is calmer and has a mooring buoy to use for the boats. There are tons of beautiful fish in the grotto, but the first you'll likely encounter is a large school of Sergeant Majors hoping you brought them some treats! There were three Queen Angelfish that really caught my eye with one in particular that was quite big. Their beautiful colors were mesmerizing.

From the grotto we headed north to the west side of Major Spot to see the swimming pigs. No sooner do you round the point and they start coming out of the bushes and into the water to eagerly await you arrival. If you ask the staff at breakfast, they'll put some extra food scraps in you cooler for the pigs and you better not show up empty handed. My dad and I were surprised at how aggressive some of the pigs were. They would put their front hooves up on the boat rail looking for food, but one actually lunged halfway into the boat! Needless to say, my dad quickly found out that having the oar ready to fend off was a must. We gave them our apples, took pictures, and proceeded on our way.

Our next stop was a beach on the east side of Major Spot. We stopped here for lunch and explored a bit. After lunch my dad walked the beach for shells while I snorkeled out to a small reef just off the beach. Right off the bat I found a huge ray! Right next to us was the battered hull of a sailboat that washed up on the rocks. My dad wanted to know how that was possible. On the last day with the only bad weather we encountered, he quickly realized how! Again, I'll save that story for later.

After lunch we headed south along the ocean side of Staniel Cay. Big mistake! It's a little rough and no way to safely beach the boat. If you want to explore those areas of Staniel, take a bike or rent a golf cart and explore that way. We continued south to Bitter Guana Cay where you can find iguanas. Again, another group of "wild" animals quickly came to greet us looking for treats. No worries, dad had his oar ready. The iguanas must only have a short term memory. No sooner do they turn around and leave because they realize you have no food for them, they turn around and come right back like you just arrived! Anyway, we hiked to the top of the hill and took in the phenomenal views. After walking the beach a bit we were underway again.

We found a very small cay on the way back to the yacht club between Bitter Guana and Lumbar Cays that had a very small beach and some reef. It was a jackpot for my dad. We finally found him some shells. While he searched for treasures, I snorkeled out to and around a nearby rock. It's amazing the fish life you can encounter in just a small area. We finished up here and headed back to the yacht club.

Even though we didn't care about time and just enjoyed our days, you do need to be back before 5:00 pm to return the boat and most importantly get your dinner order in! We got back, cleaned up, and took naps. Dinner was wonderful again and course we had to have the lobster. Why not? This place is amazing.

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