Tuesday, January 15, 2013

the arrival at Staniel Cay

Wendy and Chris on the Moon

Mike in a big tide pool on the Moon

some of our sand dollar finds

Newly weds in the cave

the whole gang

spotted eagle ray in the cut by Over Yonder Cay

snorkeling in Thunderball Grotto

Jan. 7-9 My Mike, Chris, and his new wife Corey arrived in the afternoon. Everyone went immediately into the water and swam to the beach. Of course, I can swim around this harbor for months and see a random ray, nurse shark, small fish, and big barracuda but C&C saw a spotted eagle ray and a really cool big crab on their first trip! We introduced them to the “gang” and they played some of the new beach games.
Since they have been here so many times over the years, it is harder for me to come up with new adventures. Well, I succeeded! There are some big rocks out near deep water that form a broken wall the shelters a bay and John took us all out to them and dropped us off to explore. There were big tide ponds, shells on the one beach and rock climbing possibilities. We all loved the new spot until a squall hit and John had to come in the tender and rescue us. We had packed a picnic to have on Judy’s beach but had it on board instead as the rain started just as we got back there. That evening, John had to work on the generators (only maintenance) so the kids and I played a new game called Quirkle. 
The next day, we went to Thunderball and found shells on the sea floor for the first time. Then, it was lunch at Taste and Sea which was a success. After lunch, we all went swimming to the beach to play games and on the way back, there were several good sightings- a very large ray buried in the sand, a sea turtle, reef squid, a big nudibranch, a horse conch, a helmet shell, and an octopus inside a conch. Chris found the octopus and Mike swam it to the boat where he put it into a bucket for photos. All in all a good natural science day!

Jan. 10-14 
It was time to move the boat (which we did none of last year). The kids had never been south of Black Point settlement so we headed south to an anchorage along the coast of Great Guana Cay. Our mission was to find the trail to the big cave that is inland near a big rock called Oven Rock. John took us down by dinghy and dropped us off near the rock. There were a nesting pair of ospreys on the rock and they were not to happy about this! They cried and chuffed at us and almost dive bombed us which was disconcerting to say the least. After much searching, we found the beginning of the trail and were able to walk inland and up to the cave. I had been there last year but this year, we did more exploring and even walked in the tidal salt water inside. When we got back to the boat, we found she had been aground in the very low tide so we had to wait to leave till she floated a bit more. The kids and I went swimming in the unusually crystal clear water and had incredible visibility! John was able to slowly move the boat to deeper water and we went back up the coast to anchor off the beautiful white beach at White Point for the night. The next morning, we returned to Big Majors and our usual parking spot.
The kids wanted to find some sand dollars so we all went to North Gaulin Cay by tender, mom driving, and had great success. Afterwards, they wanted to swim the cut by fowl Cay again and in the shallow area of sand near the cut, Corey spotted a small octopus trying to eat a crab out in the open. Much excitement! Lots of “talking” through their snorkels. Swimming the cut was almost a let down but the saw more good fish and corals. That night, the Biriba tournament started. 
I had heard about some new places to snorkel in the area so, of course, this meant another expedition. I was tender captain again and we found and snorkeled the new area but it proved not that great. As usual, the kids found some good things. The other thing I wanted to check out was a “hole” (a very deep roundish spot in the water). There was a lot of current so I dropped them off to snorkel over the hole. Mike dove down and got some close up photos of one of the 5 spotted eagle rays that were down in the hole. This was another exciting find for them! Mike then found a nurse shark that was resting nearby the hole minding its own business. That night, more Biriba.
Their last day was slow and relaxing in the morning with an expedition in the afternoon. This time we took them to the big sand bar in Pipe Creek to look for sand dollars and shells. With the extra low tide, the bar was bigger and we found a lot of good things. After the hunt, we went to the cut nearby where we usually see spotted eagle rays and were not disappointed. As we neared the cut, a big ray jumped right out of the water right in front of us! The kids got their snorkel gear on and went snorkeling with about 4 of them. This time there were no sharks around which was nice. This was a perfect ending to a perfect weeks visit.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

John and Joe enjoying the day

Heather and John serving the enchilladas

Mexican Train dominos

the catamaran being patched

Tida Wave with its bow damage

the girlies with our tender driver

working on the puzzle

Dec 25 - Jan 6

Our friends Joe and Kathy, who used to cruise down here for years on their sailboat, came for a week of fun and laughter. 
The minute our friends arrived, they insisted we go to Staniel Cay Yacht Club for fish sandwiches! They absolutely love them and remembered them fondly. They were not disappointed. I have been trying to get Joe to be more of a vegetarian so I served him kale which he had never had and he loved the way I cooked it. One night, we were all having pasta with tomato sauce and veges and I put my plate of basil pesto and peas in front of his place. He looked at it and looked at everyone else’s plates and frowned. He had a green dinner and was not pleased. I switched the plates back and he was happy again but the joke got a good laugh.
On the 31st, John and Joe went in the tender to watch the Bahamian sailboat races off Staniel. It was windier than usual and during the race, one of the boats tipped over and sank! There were several injuries to the crew but luckily no broken bones. That night, we had a New Years Mexican dinner and Mexican train dominoes and Mexican music party with some of our friends. Everyone had a good time and we all were able to stay up till after midnight! That is quite a feat for old farts like us.
On the 1st, there is always a cruisers race and there was more excitement again. The other Bahamian sailboat was racing with the cruiser boats and T boned a large catamaran! It was no one’s fault but the catamaran had bad damage and after being patched up and pumped out, was towed to Florida by a local salvage boat. What a way to start the new year.
For the rest of their stay, Kathy and I worked on a 2000 piece puzzle which I was finally able to finish after she left. We swam, shelled, snorkeled, and visited the iguanas. One night, we even had dinner at Taste and Sea which was delicious. After they left, one of the local charter yachts set fireworks off on our beach and it was a spectacular show! We all had front row seats.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bob and Penny- Santa and elf

Susan and Ray on No Agenda- our hosts

carver and hungry me


sunset in the Big Majors anchorage

raking seaweed

the supervisors

Mike the fire pit digger

Susan from Exodus- worker bee

lugging the seaweed to the burn pile