Thursday, April 14, 2011

Landfall: Staniel Cay, Exumas

We spent two nights in Staniel Cay Yacht Club, at the marina, rather than anchored out by Big Major’s. We’re feeling a bit decadent for ourselves, being in another marina so soon after all our anchoring out, but we enjoyed it. We bypassed Georgetown and all its fun reluctantly, since the National Family Regatta is soon to come, but came to Staniel Cay to pick up some watermaker descaler (of course, not in our spares inventory) that we had shipped to us here. Once we got the descaler though, we realized that we didn’t have the “service kit” that went with the watermaker, so couldn’t use it anyway! Argh!! We could have cannibalized some of the parts from the water-maker hoses, but we thought the better of it. So, as is so often the case aboard, the best laid plans gone awry, once again! Yep, the cruising life indeed! SO, we’re now on water restriction, to conserve what we have, and will augment with shore water when available until we return home.

The usual gaggle of nurse sharks at SCYC,
beneath our slip
But anyway…what fun to be back in the Exumas again! We had an easy entrance from Exuma Sound in through the Staniel Cay cut, and Ron backed us into our slip beautifully (on the inside of the outer bulkhead pier, backing in so that we had our usual starboard tie-up). Lots of folks are here! We saw Betty from the KK 48’ Lili, whom we first met when our boats were being commissioned about the same time back in 2007. Betty was cruising this part of the Bahamas for the first time with Captain Jill; we find it's always a small world when it comes to Kadey-Krogens, and it's so fun to cross paths! We also ran into Laurie and Richard off Forever Young (formerly of BMC) and wound up spending a lot of time with them while we were there, from having drinks and dinner at the SCYC Monday night, to hosting them aboard Tuesday night for dinner and a movie (Bottleshock). Laurie brought the dessert, which was a homemade tiramisu, sending Ron into ecstasy…his favorite! 

We also had fun chatting with the pair of cruisers off Fennders, who had just returned from a successful fishing venture before coming into SYCY. Ron found out that they had plenty of fish to spare, so immediately set about finding out what they were lacking, and he worked out a trade: two chocolate bars (a Snickers and a Milky Way) for a large Ziploc full of mahi mahi fillets! A coup, in my book! Just what the doctor ordered: fresh mahi for dinner!

Ron and I also had some fun for ourselves during the day, making two dives from Eclipse at a site called Jake’s Drop. We were familiar with the site since we dove it last spring with Jake, the owner of Staniel Cay Divers. It’s a deep dive site with a stout mooring, and gorgeous topography! Both dives were quite deep as I said; I actually went down to 100’ and 105’, respectively, while Ron was down to 114’ and 125’...and we still weren’t really all that close to the tops of the reef areas at that depth, but were swimming up above it a good bit. Since it's so enchanting, you really have to keep an eye on your depths, because it just doesn’t feel that deep! We also had a fun interlude with “Crash”, the blind hawksbill turtle that lives around here. As we were returning to the mooring line, out of the blue came Crash, swimming along quite cheerfully, before almost running into us! He came swooping along right at me, literally within 5 feet, before he turned at the last second and swam right over Ron, who actually had to duck to get out of Crash's way! Too funny! He comes by his name honestly! We got to laughing, but it was great to see Crash again, and know he’s still alive and well!

We left Staniel Cay after two days, heading out to Highbourne Cay on the morning tide on Wednesday. We headed out into Exuma Sound to have a day of fishing, and fish we did! We were lucky in that when the mahi-mahi hit, they did so in doubles: both reels started zipping out, screaming to us! Yes! Fish On! While Ron was dealing with the rod with the bigger catch, I handled the helm, making sure we were clear of all other boats (none within miles) and then getting us on a safe but slow autopilot heading before I then went back to help him with the other rod. And...I pulled in the first mahi! Yum! Each one was nearly 3 feet long, although Ron’s was bigger, I admit! But…fish on ice and in the cooler was  a happy occasion. Ron got 16 good size fillets out of the two of them; he’s really getting quite good at this!

Just a start on filleting the smaller mahi
We pulled into Highbourne Cay just before the turn of the tide so there was a bit of current. As with all Exuma cuts, you need to be careful of the current! Thankfully, the channel at Highbourne is deep, and while you have to make a couple dogleg turns, it’s easier than most to navigate. There were a few other sailboats on anchor, we still had quite a bit of solitude. We swam to the beach, relaxed and enjoyed another calm and gorgeous evening sunset over a great fresh-off-the-grill mahi dinner! Cruising reason #471....!

A bit of current coming in through the cut at Highbourne
Glorious sunset!

1 comment:

  1. I love the Exumas. I've stayed at the SCYC and even when out with Jake to Danger Reef. I was the only none diver with our group and snorkeling at the surface by myself with all the sharks made me just a tad uneasy.

    Cheers and be safe!


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