Saturday, October 30, 2010

Onward: Highborne Cay to Staniel Cay, Exumas

Our dolphin escort on the way to Highborne Cay
We had two easy days of cruising from Eleuthera, first to Highborne Cay, where we were the only ones at the anchorage there. We are definitely ahead of the snowbird crowd -- most folks don’t seem to be heading south until November and with the waning hurricane season. But, here we are, and we had a glorious day! We arrived at Highborne Cay just after lunch (mahi-mahi reubens, yum!) where we tucked in nicely, with the anchor set and secure, ready for the coming cold front that was forecast to sweep through the Bahamas later in the night. We then spent the afternoon enjoying the light breeze and good weather by snorkeling from Eclipse and and looking for lobster holes. I saw lots of gorgeous reef fish from banded butterflyfish to blueheaded wrasses to small, shy grouper but no lobster. Oh well! We were on the inside edges of Highborne Cay on the Bank; the tide was ebbing and we didn’t feel like having to fight that along the outside, where we would have had better luck, I’m sure. We had a gloriously calm evening, with dinner and a DVD on the aft deck before bedtime. 
Saturday morning we cruised to Staniel Cay, still ahead of the cold front that is forecast to arrive. When it did come through, you almost couldn't tell, as the winds really didn't pick up much at all. We toyed with the idea of anchoring near Samson or Compass Cay, but opted to keep heading south. Once at Staniel, we anchored just east of the famous Thunderball Cave, although it took a bit of seeking to find a good spot to drop anchor, as some areas of the bottom are mostly rock and coral scree where the current has swept the sand away. But, we set the anchor in a good, thick stretch of sand, and are holding well in the lee of the small cays, with little current in this area. Our lovely weather of the last few days has continued, so we snorkeled and swam about, to check the anchor and to check out the grotto at Thunderball Cave. We startled the daylights out of a group of French-speaking snorkelers when we entered the grotto from the opposite side --- they weren't expecting anybody to  emerge from the depths of the east side! 

Coming into Staniel Cay, heading to our anchorage behind
Thunderball Cave. 
Staniel Cay is very quiet -- not only are there few boats, but it turns out that most of the Staniel Cay folks (Jake from the Dive Shop, Dave from the Yacht Club) are all Stateside at the Lauderdale boat show! Ok, so our timing isn't the best for seeing familiar faces, but we're just following the weather! Tomorrow, after having checked and re-checked the current weather forecasts (keeping a wary eye on Hurricane Tomas, currently well below Cuba) we've decided to keep heading south, this time heading out on Exuma Sound, making for Long Island and the anchorage at Calabash Bay. We'll have some outs along the Sound should we need them, but Ron is chomping at the bit to do some fishing! Hopefully the wind and waves in Exuma Sound will cooperate to make it a lovely crossing!

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