New Friends and a Hurricane

Back at Blackpoint, a huge starfish under our boat :-). This time we anchored right in front of the School, just west of the laundryette, about 200 feet from the shore. This was so we could get internet with our “bullet” wifi antenna.

 

Satellite pic of Blackpoint. The pin is about where we anchored. Everyday I swam to the rocky shore. I never got on land, just meandered around. I don’t use fins, just a mask. This swim would last about 1/2 hour. I loved swimming so far from the boat and I get braver and braver everyday. Brian was usually down below reading or listening to a pod cast. I didn’t realize at the time but it was a great way to get a little solitude daily. But I was not completely alone, I had a little friend. I wish I would of brought my camera along on my swims as I do not have a pic of him. He was a tiny silver dollar shaped fish with lime green stripe down his back. He would swim with me, out to shore and back, always safely tucked up under my arm or neck. Sometimes on the way back to the boat he would swim ahead a foot or two, as if he was coaching me :-) cheering me on to keep swimming when I would tire. He’d escort me right up to the swim ladder and was always there to greet me when I got back in the water. Leaving Blackpoint, I was worried about what would become of him, my faithful friend.

  

Pizza party aboard Rain Dog! We met this wonderful couple off the powerboat Renascence, Kel and Karen, in Staniel Cay and then here at Blackpoint. They left a day or two after our pizza party. I think they headed north to New Providence due to hurricane Danny. I wish we got to spend more time with them and hope to see them again. Karen presented me with a wonderful boat gift, a candle, some beautiful crystals( smokey quarts) and a small branch of sage to burn. I’m to burn the sage at the next full moon and cleans the boat, along with meditating positive thoughts about my health. I’m excited to do this :-). Brian loves the idea too.


I wanted to adopt these kids! Very sweet guys exploring the world on a shoe string budget. Stevie on the left and John on the right. They had been living in a cave on the island for over 6 months. The Blackpoint community are very fond of them and I can see why, they had such beautiful spirits. Brian made everyone a pizza. His pizzas are to die for!! We had them over a night or two after the pizza party. Brian made them his delicious Mexican Lasagna. I was too sick to even get out of bed, my head has been gradually getting worse. I don’t want to tell my docs as they would probably tell me to come see them. They (doctors) have nothing, and I mean nothing, that could help me compared to what this wonderful floating life does for me every second of every day.

 

Kerri with Stevie’s backpacker guitar. They sang some songs for us, what beautiful voices and Stevie’s song he wrote was very wonderful. I kept finding myself singing the chorus the next day :-). I wish I recorded it.


John was especially interested in the boating life and was full of questions.  I can easily see he wondering the world in a boat, he had natural born sailor written all over him :-)


I wish we could of taken the kids on as crew but it wasn’t meant to be. Hopefully we will see them again. Keri starts nursing school soon back in the states :-) I can tell she will make an excellent nurse!

 

Lorain’s Restaurant 

 

The grouper strips were delicious, company was great too. That’s Stevie, Karen and Kel with Brian. Ida Served us dinner, she looked so tired I had her sit down next to me to tell us about the dinner specials, she laughed but complied. :-)

 

Key to great conch fritters is the ratio, 25% conch is really the max for me. These are fantastic!

 Hurricane Danny and the Invest 98 behind it forced us to haul up anchor and head for safe harbor. Stevie is friends with Roston McGregor who has some moorings in hurricane hole #2 on Stock island. Brian gave Roston a call and he reserved a mooring for us. So after a quick trip ashore to say goodbye to the “kids” ( Stevie, Henry, and Keri) we headed south towards George Town. Blackpoint is the first town I was not ready to say goodbye to. 

Little Bay, Great Guana Cay

 

 

For a couple days we anchored over at little bay. It is just around the western side of north Great Guana Cay.

We took the dinghy and drifted around the rocky shores. Scupper swims with us sometimes, but he mostly falls asleep in the dinghy under the shade of our umbrella.

 

The majority of the area is white sand.

 

The rocky shoreline can hold some cool corals and critters in the cave like cutout just below the waterline.

Jellyfish:-)

Beautiful shell. I was pretty sure it was home to someone, so I took some picture and put it back in place.

Spotted Ray!! So beautiful

Hard to get a close up of these shy sea anemones. One false move and they recede into their home.

We also hiked over to the ocean side. The island is only 760ft wide at this point.

Atlantic Ocean :-)

Wild and beautiful

There is a cave here that two guys have been living in for about 6 months. Great guys, very nice, living and loving life.

Not boat friendly waters

Driftwood;-)

 

Rain Dog, Brian, and Scupper :-)

 

Back to the boat.

 

Back aboard we decide to run over to Blackpoint settlement again for WiFi to make some provisions arrangements

Scupper was rather fond of Little Bay.

 

 

Blackpoint Settlement on Great Guana Cay, Exumas

 Blackpoint Settlement is on the norther part of Great Guana Cay.

 

We headed down about 8 miles to Blackpoint Settlement. A sweet town. Many folks who live here commute to Staniel Cay and other surrounding islands to work


Very nice protected harbor. We anchored in about 9 feet of soft deep sand. Or 45lb Manson dug right in.


Staniel Cay, looking from the south.


After a couple hours Blackpoint Settlement appears.


Harbor

Town dock. The mail boat uses the western side(right) and seems to come every Thursday

 

Pretty town.


Rain Dog anchored at Blackpoint Settlement on Great Guana Cay.

 

Big White House is the laundryette with its own dinghy dock.

 

 

Laundry day. The island also has a great grocery store, mainly canned food but a great selection. The WiFi is strong and free throughout the island.

 

View from the laundry facilities

 

You can also get a nice hot shower here.

 

Doing laundry has never been so fun :-)

 

Cool coral heads decorate the grounds


We head out to explore the town

Back on the boat, scupper helps me with the laundry. We decided to wash the towels and sheets on land and dry them aboard Rain Dog. I forgot to get a picture of the boat covered in laundry, next time. Suffice to say, we looked even more gypsy then normal :-)


Misquotes are not too bad but the flys can be a nuisance.

 

Another lovely sunset in paradise.

 

 

Big Major

We head out to snorkel the areas north of Big Major

 

Lots and lots of shells. We don’t collect sand dollars because I always break them. Seemed a waste to take these beautiful shells just to have them break so we decided Rain Dog was a sand dollar free zone :-).

 

Lots of conch. We don’t take live shells. Plus I believe these conchs are not of legal size (?)

 

 

Heading home.


New neighbors. Owner is a single hander who has cruised the Bahamas for over 14 years. We had him over for Brian’s pizza and had a great chat about good anchorages.


Good day. Good fun. Nappy time :-).

 

Brian, happy to be taking scupper ashore for a walk


Scupper, with the very same look, happy to be going ashore…two pease in a pod :-)

 

We have decided to check out Little Bay around the west side of Great Guana Cay. It’s only a couple miles and is said to have good snorkeling

 

 

Thunderball Grotto, Take Two

Thunderball Grotto was filmed for a James Bond Movie. It sits between Staniel Cay and Big Major. It is a series of caves, one very large with an open cathedral ceiling of rock and moss.

Thunderball Grotto main cavern is, at low tide, is about 15 feet deep. 

 

I’m sitting on the bottom looking up through 14 feet of water to the ceiling of the cave.

 

Thunderball Grotto. I’m hiding the scores of tourist boats all huddled on the other side of the island.

 

 

We both thought of Gordo and Karen when we saw this beauty :-).


Brian in the mail chamber that connect

 

Must come at slack tide. We thought we hit it perfectly, but there still was some residual current. With a few well placed low hanging rocks, this was difficult for me as I have spacial recognition issues.( my internal compass is whacked!)

 

Swimming into the cave.

 

Cute. Looking out of the cave.


Brian inside the main cave.

 

Main chamber looking south. Thunderball grotto

Looking north. The cave has an entrance from the north and south. Yes, that’s the barracuda that harassed us the day before. How’d he know we were here? We decided to go the other way :-)

 

 

The sea life right at the entrance to the cave is abundant, each species of coral clambering to get a piece of the real estate.

 

So many nooks to look into.


It was weird, as I approached this Brain Coral I could here a voice, like mork from Mork and Mindy. The voice said “take me to your leader” :-) a few minutes  later I got into a civilized tussle about a tour boat dropping their anchor 10 feet from this magnificent coral. The kid running the boat looked new. I wish the powers that be would put more mooring balls around the grotto and ban anchoring. Thunderball is one of the areas biggest tourist draw, why risk the health of this incredible place to complete strangers and their big hunks of galvanized steel anchor and chain?

 

Leaving the grotto, we headed north in the dinghy to scope out a good beach to comb.

 

Current was a bit confused.

 

 

Found a great beach to snorkel and beach comb.

 

Heading back to Rain Dog after a fun couple hours.

 

Diving For Lost Treasure, Staniel Cay

Docking mishap dislodged our running light. Two parts, the frame and the green/red lens. We waited for low tide and I jumped in to retrieve the parts. I was surprised they stayed in the area, the current can be up to 3 knots. You can see the remnants of the bow light here, also there is a rather large nurse shark meandering by too( right of bow, port side)

 

Big nurse shark.


Hoping to catch a glimpse of the nurse shark, I brought my camera while I retrieved the broken light parts. You can see it here( dead center of pic), plus a hand held VHF,and other lost items from other boats. 


I found the green/red lens of our light back off the stern. I love free diving and my head seems to be ok with it. A trick I’m doing is blowing out my air as I dive down. For some reason this keeps my intracranial pressure at a tolerant level( go figure ). I have to be careful as I have so much fun down there I forget that my lungs are just about empty and will need air soon :-), I’ve cut it too close a couple times but am getting better at this technique. I’ve always exhaled as I come up (like a diver would) since I was taught to swim, and I was swimming in the waters of Hawaii before I even learned to walk :-).

 

An old sting ray watched me dive around.


He glided away after a while. Never saw the nurse shark, bummer, but it was still fun. We can’t wait to get out to anchor to do more snorkeling. :-)

 

Brian took me to the restaurant at the marina. It was very good and had a nice chat with our table neighbors. One couple was from South Carolina and the other Australia.

 

Before dinner we watched the nurse sharks swim around the big mega yachts. These yachts have underwater lighting. I want that for Rain Dog :-). Took this with my iPad so very grainy.

 

 

Left the marina and are back at anchor at Big Major. Today brian, scupper and I cruised around in the dinghy checking out some snorkeling sites. This pic is from diving our anchor to make sure it dug in well.

 

Anchor nice and dug in.

 

Little crab keeping anchor watch for us :-) that is the shank of the anchor left of the crab.

 

This is right off our bow, the shoreline of Big Major.

 

Big Major.


Ran the dink up around the corner to Thunderball Grotto.

 

Here you can see our track of the dinghy as we stopped at different swimming spots.

 

The sun was all wrong and it was slack high tide. But you can see the cave a bit. We will go back at low tide with the sun to our backs..

 

The corals were dense all around the island but due to the lighting I was only able to catch one good pic.

 

Barracuda was pretty cool till he got aggravated and chased us a bit. We decided to turn around and let him have that side of the island. He followed us till we got back in the dinghy and drove away. Brian thinks the tourist boats may feed them and he was expecting a hand out. He just looked mad to me.


Brian took us home by crossing over the north side of the island. We can see the Atlantic.


Atlantic. I this that island is Little Major.

 

Big Major and Staniel Cay

View of the island chain on our way to Stanel Cay

 

Scup can smell the land :-)


It was getting a bit late so we decide to anchor at Big Major, 2 miles from Staniel Marina. An easy approach with no reefs to contend with.

Our little sailboat is not the norm, big mega yachts are very common.

Pig beach. There are a family, big family, of big pigs. They swim out to greet your dinghy hoping for table scrapes. Everyone feeds them, seems to be encouraged by the locals too. Growing up in Hawaii, I have a big fear of Boars and even though these sweet things are just pigs, I still rather stay away.


There they are, big!

 

 

Next day we head over to Staniel Cay Yacht Club


A beautiful Marina and friendly people.

 

Crazy clear water.

 

:-)

 

Checking out the town and the grocery stores. As luck would have it, the mail boat arrives tomorrow. The mail boat also brings fresh produce and dairy to the island :-)

 

Grey Highway, Staniel Cay.


One of the three grocery stores

 

Flowers flowers everywhere.

 

 

Another grocery store

Too true

 

Staniel Cay Yacht Club