Staniel Cay, Central Exumas

Sunday March 5, 2006 Sampson Cay

We left Chicken Cay Saturday afternoon and were anchored in Sampson Cay Saturday and Sunday.  We could get wireless from the anchorage for a little while, but like all great things, it just quit working!  We noticed a boat in the anchorage from Beaufort, NC called Jura.  We went over and introduced ourselves to Wayne & Norma.  They were on a beautiful Westsail 32' and we knew a lot of the same people.  We had even heard a story about them before.  It turns out that they are the folks who were in the Morehead City boatyard waiting to be splashed, when a storm hit and the yard crew said they would put the boat in after lunch, when the storm had passed.  That same hour lightning from that storm hit their boat and fried all of their electrical systems.  It was a heartbreaker, but at least they had insurance.  The boat looks awesome and has all new electronics.  That night Duke was playing UNC and Norma & Wayne turn out to be huge Carolina fans like Paul & Susan.  They talked the bar at Sampson Cay Club Resort into playing the game that night and invited us to watch with some fellow North Carolinians.  We were too tired to go and it was a blowin' so we opted out and listened to it on our XM radio.  Thank God we didn't go, it was a major let down as usual with us and sports.  The next day a front was being forecasted and that means hide out and get protection from the prevailing winds.  We headed down to the cut between Big Majors and Little Major.  We were the second boat in the anchorage and by the time the front came through there were 20 plus boats in the anchorage.  

Monday March 6, 2006 Big Majors

We set in our anchor and Mike dove on it to make sure it was dug in well.  It was fine and we had some exploring to do.  Thunderball Cave, where the James Bond movie was filmed was only a dinghy ride away, so we got our snorkel gear and took off.  There were also some wild pigs on a beach around the west coast of Big Majors so we went there first.  These pigs were huge!  They were aggressive like the iguanas too.  All they wanted was food and they squealed the whole time.  We fed them peanut butter crackers and took off!  We went around the corner to the Thunderball Grotto and loved it!  It was truly beautiful, the tide was running so it carried us right into the cave entrance, almost like a tunnel, with hundreds of tropical fish everywhere.  They start to greet you in your dinghy as you pull up.  Inside the cave was 15-20ft deep and crystal clear with all kinds of different exits underwater.  We swam through all of the holes we could find and had the whole place to ourselves.  This is a can't miss.  We later dinghied over to Staniel Cay to make phone calls and check out the local grocery store.  The homemade bread was fantastic and the locals were charming!  The lovely lady at the Pink grocery store told us about a 300lb. Jewfish that likes to hang out in the Grotto.  We would have loved to have seen him, after we were told by locals about him so we knew it was safe.   We had lunch at Club Thunderball, some great conch fritters and Kaliks the Bahamian brew.  The view was gorgeous up on top of a hill over looking the Islands and Staniel Cay.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006 Big Majors

We had a great day reading and even spent a few hours trailing each other behind the dinghy with a rope - a great way to snorkel through the whole anchorage without swimming.  We scoured the anchorage for shells and conch, hoping to find some dinner.  We found lots of Sand Dollars, a few Sea Biscuits and a Horse Conch.  We were really hoping for some conch to eat , but we still have not found any.  The front came through that night and blew pretty hard, about 20-25 knots, but it wasn't bad because we had picked our anchorage carefully.  When it blows hard, the main concern is making sure that when the tide switches that your anchor will turn with it and continue to hold.  Bruce Almighty (our anchor) has done quite well, we are very pleased that our anchor has held through everything that's been thrown at us so far, without dragging a bit.  Many others have not been so lucky.  We left Big Majors the next morning.

Sampson Cay Club

One of the rental houses on Sampson Cay

Another Sampson Cay house with a cave at the bottom of it

Sunset at Sampson Cay

Sunrise at Sampson

Staniel Cay Yacht Club

Staniel Cay rental Cottage

Staniel Cay Resort area 


Staniel Cay Resort, the landscaping was gorgeous and in a place where you don't find much soil

Another cottage for rent

All of the colors were done by a local artist, Joann Mann

SCYC cottages on the water

Bahamian Conchs at Club Thunderball

The view from Club Thunderball, Staniel Cay is on the left

The view from the Club

The grotto is under the island in the middle of the picture, as seen from Club Thunderball

The Wyld Pygs (sorta like the Wyld Stallyns from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) on Big Majors

They swam right out to us!

Can you see the pig in the middle.  What is he doing??!!

[movie camera illustration] Click here to see video 1 of this adventure

[movie camera illustration]

[movie camera illustration] Click here to see video 2 of this adventure

[movie camera illustration]

The underwater housing for our digital camera

It seals our camera in, watertite

All of the buttons are on the housing to work every feature of the camera

Thunderball Grotto

 This is the place where the James Bond movie Thunderball was filmed.  The last sequence in the movie where scuba divers are swimming into an underground cave and fighting each other, was done right here.  We had been hearing about this place for weeks, and we finally made it.  It was better than we expected.  Awesome!!

Fish outside one of the entrances to the Grotto

[movie camera illustration] Click here to see video of Mike entering the Grotto

[movie camera illustration]

[movie camera illustration] Click here to see video of Mike swimming out of one of the smaller entrances

[movie camera illustration]

The ceiling of the Grotto

Inside Thunderball Grotto

[movie camera illustration] Click here to see video of Kate swimming in through an underwater entrance

[movie camera illustration]

[movie camera illustration] Click here to see video of Kate exiting the Grotto through a small cut

[movie camera illustration]

The Thunderball Grotto

[movie camera illustration] Click here to see video of us feeding the fish after we were back in the dink

[movie camera illustration]

Club Thunderball has a great view and excellent conch fritters!

A nurse shark at the dinghy landing on Staniel Cay

A sting ray at Staniel dinghy landing

Walking around town in Staniel Cay, some more cottages for rent





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