Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sampson Cay

Ron and I spent the morning out diving with Staniel Cay Divers, enjoying a great time underwater. The first dive was a tremendous spot called "Jake's Drop", a swim-through at the edge of the wall in Exuma Sound that bottomed out about 116 feet. The coral was gorgeous and healthy, with lots of fish life. One huge lobster was out, clambering over the reef in plain view. (It was clearly aware that the lobster season is over until August!) 
The second dive site was much shallower, and a gorgeous one as well. There were many more juvenile fish tucked in amongst the corals -- staghorn, star, brain, sheet, encrusting -- lovely in its variety! I only saw one lionfish, too, which was refreshing. I’m really tired of seeing those intruders everywhere!
After diving, we returned to Staniel Cay to discover all the boats at the marina had been asked to leave due to the nasty southwest winds; the older piers at SCYC just can't handle big winds from that direction, apparently. We had lunch at the SCYC before heading back to Equinox, only to find that every other vessel in the anchorage at Big Major’s was also gone! With the winds picking up from the south and west, the anchorage was very exposed, so many of the boats fled to the anchorages in the lee between Little Major's and Big Major’s or the far side of Fowl Cay. We decided we’d head out ourselves, perhaps to Cambridge Cay, to find a better protected anchorage as the skies looked rather ominous and the winds relentless. 
However, just ten minutes underway, the winds totally switched direction and came whipping out of the north! We then wondered why we’d even left Big Major’s, and whether we should just turn around...but prudently decided to head into the anchorage near Sampson Cay, since that had protection from the squall winds. The radio was burning with calls for slips either at SCYC or Sampson Cay; SCYC resolutely told everyone they were closed until the winds shifted, and Sampson Cay Marina was already full. 
We dropped anchor just before dinnertime outside the marina at Sampson Cay, where there was protection from the northerly winds. Tucked in and secure, we figured we’d stay the night, and simply wait to see what the morning weather brought us! We were grateful we weren't among the hordes packed in to the other anchorages by Little Major's or Fowl Cay, as we heard a lot of folks on the radio unhappy with the wind shift. There was more than one anchor dragging too, from the sounds of it. Serendipity!

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