Saturday, 8 February 2014

Enjoying the Exumas ….. January 2014

18 – 26January:  Big Majors Spot to Black Point – 24 06N 76 24W

Holiday Over, Time to Feed the PigsP1210108

Our little cruising community split up from Warderick WellsBodyguard used the break in the easterly winds to do a runner for Puerto Rico, several hundred miles away.  Out of the Bag made a fast exit north back to Nassau as Bills pacemaker decided to start short circuiting and he needed an urgent medical check-up. 

Balvenie, in company with Tactical Directions and Koza headed south to Big Majors Spot on Staniel Cay.  We had heard of this area as it is famous for a couple of things - the first is Thunderball Cave, named after the James Bond Movie “Thunderball” in which the cave featured.

P1190031Now the 2nd are the swimming pigs, yep you read that right.  There is a small deserted beach in the anchorage on which a few families of pigs and chickens live, and the passing cruisers go in their dinghies and feed food scraps to the pigs.

However over the years the pigs must have got very hungry. impatient or just bold as they no longer wait for cruisers to land their dinghies – they swim out for their supper!!

This was something we really needed to see for ourselves so we saved some food for a couple of days and off we went. …. meet the little, actually quite big, piggies.

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Top Spot for Happy Hours

We have certainly had some fabulous beaches over the years for sitting and watching the sun go down but this one would have to take first prize for amenities.

Thanks to a small group of American cruisers who call this bay home for winter the deserted beach (not the same one where the pigs live!) has a couple of wooden tables, several chairs and sun loungers, new beach umbrellas, oil flame torches, a big gas bar-b-que (byo gas bottle) an interesting collection of beach games and finally an abundance of rakes so you can remove your footprints on departure and leave it pristine for the next lucky cruisers.

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P1200094We chose the night when all the other cruisers would be tucked up in front of their satellite televisions watching the super bowl play off and had the beach to ourselves for a great bar-b-que and pot luck dinner. 

An excellent meal was accompanied by live music courtesy of skipper on guitar and some very questionable singing by the rest of us.  Luckily the sunset was so perfect it took our breath away and the singing stopped! 

Bond …. James Bond

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The movie Thunderball has been around a long time, well Sean Connery played Bond so it’s an old timer, but the cave they used for the underwater shots is still riding on it’s Bond fame.  Our Cruising Guide warns of strong currents so we chose a day with calm conditions and slack tide and visited in company with Tony and Michelle at low tide, which makes swimming under the rocky overhang to enter the cave much easier.

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P1190055The cave is quite small and we were lucky to have it to ourselves for a while to explore its depths.  There was the best selection of tropical fish we have seen in the Bahamas, but they won’t be there much longer as we also saw a lionfish.  These are a huge pest throughout the Caribbean and are reducing the number of other fish dramatically.

Shark Alert

Back onboard Balvenie we had our own underwater attraction for most of the time.  Don’t know what it is about the underside of our boat but is seems that the resident shark population like to make it home while we are in port.

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It’s Another Cold Front

A Polar Vortex (a very significant weather event according to our morning weather forecaster) was causing chaos on the US mainland and while temperatures plummeted to all time recorded lows in parts of the eastern seaboard it dipped to a chilly 18c in the Exumas and we got clipped by more nor’westerlies for a couple of days.  

Big Majors Spot was not a good place to be for this as protection was limited, but with our draft it was the best we could do in the area so we sat out the bumpy seas until the wind shifted.  On day 2 of the front Koza decided to use the northerlies and they headed on south to George Town, 60 miles away.  We hope to catch them again soon.P1210122

Our antipodean cruising community was now down to a very compact two boats, just Balvenie and Tactical Directions remained,

When the weather calmed down we both moved south about 10 miles to Black Point.  About 30 other boats had the same idea and emerged from all the anchorages around.  A steady procession of boats headed down and anchored off this small settlement of 300  residents. 

There’s not much in Black Point but considering there has been virtually nothing ashore in any of the other stops we have had in the Exumas it had plenty to offer.P1230124  First and foremost was the laundromat, and not just any laundromat – this one is right on the waterfront with its own dinghy dock, small store, free wifi and new clean machines, heaven for us cruisers. 

Other on shore delights included the small grocery store but sadly the mail/supply boat hadn’t turned up so much sought after fresh produce was nowhere to be found. 

We spent a few days here waiting for a weather window to exit through the nearby cut out into Exuma Sound and head south to George Town.  Long walks were taken, happy hours shared onboard and even a couple of meals ashore were enjoyed.

 We Are Happy To Wait  - Life Is Good 

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1 comment:

Catherine VK4GH said...

Great to see Tony and new lady out and about cruising again on Tactical Directions. Catherine & John (ex-Catchcry)