Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I woke up about 6:30 am. I went down the spiral staircase and used the in room coffee maker to brew me a cup. I then settled out on the deck where a soft breeze blew.  I watched the island come to life. Skiffs large and small raced around the point picking up passengers and taking them to work. So were heading to other islands working on public and private construction projects. Others were bringing workers to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club to open up the restaurant and other operations. Later in the morning we headed to breakfast. I was hoping to duplicate a Bahamian breakfast I had in a back ally cafe in Nassau back in the nineteen eighties. But, alas there was no Fish Stew and Johnny Cake on the menu at Staniel Cay Yacht Club. But, I was able to get something different beyond eggs, sausage and toast. They did have Tuna Fish and Grits on the menu and like the Conch I had for dinner last night the Tuna was fresh and tasty. I was a happy diner.

Around noon we headed for docks with our luggage. There we would meet Corky Clark the Captain of Surprise a 48 foot Chris White Voyager catamaran. Only one of two built. We  booked our charter through Paradise Connections.

After loading our bags on to the dingy we headed out where Corky's wife Sue Clark was waiting for us. Since it was slack high tide we put off unpacking and attempted to head over to the famous Thunderball Grotto a short dingy ride away. It's located at the longest of three small cays north of Staniel Cay.

The grotto is located at the north end of the Cay:

It's best to visit the grotto at slack tide because there can be a swift current inside of it at other times. Unfortunately,  the tide was too high and the entrance to the grotto was underwater. So we decided to do a snorkel on the other side of the Cay instead. Which turned out to be very nice with no current.
After our snorkel we headed back to the boat to unpack and have a nice lunch in the cockpit. A little nap and later in the day we once again headed back to the Grotto this time aT low slack water and we were successful in entering it:

Here is a shot from inside the cave starting at the roof of the grotto and panning down into the water.

Here's another shot that shows two entrances to the grotto. The two entrances are why it's best snorkel the grotto at a slack tide. At other times the current can race through the two entrances:

After visiting the grotto we emerged and Corky suggested we do a drift snorkel around the point of the Cay. Which we did and had a nice snorkel and got to see the second entrance to the grotto from the other side. Snorkeling the grotto in the late afternoon was a great way to end our first day on our chartered catamaran. Soon we were back in the dingy and heading back to the Surprise for a sun downer drink  and a nice meal followed by after diner drink under the stars. Tomorrow we up anchor and started heading north.

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