Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Swimming pigs, grottos, and flights home

On the 15th we headed to Big Majors and tucked in behind the island with the pig beach slightly to the right of us. Soon we were off to the beach to see what trouble we could get into with the pigs as we heard they can be slightly aggressive when it comes to food and will try and climb into the dinghy if you dare get close enough where they can touch bottom. I had a few veggies that had seen better days so I had been saving them plus some scraps of other things for this occasion. We only had one pig come and greet us but I know I had seen about four on the beach a while ago. Oh well one pig is easier to deal with then having to fend off four. As soon as he/she knew we were headed that way it waded out and began its swim out to us as I kept telling Dirk not to get too close.

A face so sweet

It seemed to like the celery I had selected for it and was eager for yet another bite.
Treading water waiting for another bite

Once we realized the pig was tiring from treading water we figured it was safe enough to travel closer to shore. No sooner did we get within distance that the pig could walk it tried to climb up the dinghy in search of more food.

Soon the food was gone and we headed back to the boat where we had a relaxing evening and called it an early night.
The following day we joined Dawn and Harvey from s/v Sovereign Swan as they took their dinghy ride to pig beach as I found a few more food scraps that were destined for the trash. They didn’t heed the warning and headed right up to the beach. As soon as they were close enough the pig decided to ambush and Dawn ended up just throwing all the food at once as Dirk and I sat back taking photos.
After that we decided to head over to Thunderball Grotto which is a cave in which you snorkel into at low tide as it opens up into a beautiful grotto. Apparently this setting was used in the James Bond film Thunderball. The fish are very friendly and I was prepared with a bag of freshly boiled rice which they gladly accepted. Dirk took the underwater video and we got some great footage of the fishes. This was an area I wanted to revisit once I got my new camera with the underwater feature that was waiting state side for me. If you recall I had destroyed mine in Spanish Wells when the dinghy almost flipped several weeks back. I spent the next several days packing and getting the boat set for Dirk while I was to attend my brother’s wedding in Oklahoma City on the weekend. Thursday morning Dirk dinghied me and my bag up to Isles General store dock and we walked over the bridge to the airfield/ parking lot and waited. The terminal is an outdoor pavilion, that’s all it is. Dirk and waited and waited as my flight was due to leave at 9am. Finally about 9:30 someone shows up in a golf cart and it’s the lady there to take my ticket as a few other people trickle up. About 10am my flight arrives, good thing I had a long layover in Nassau. It is a nine seater plane, 10 if you count the pilot and it was a full flight. I was extremely nervous as I had never flown in such a small aircraft and as it taxied and used as much airstrip as was allowed I knew why. Before long I was busy looking at the islands that by now had become familiar as we had traveled the chain. Thirty five minutes later and we landed in Nassau and I was already home sick for the boat, my husband, and kitty that I left behind in paradise several islands down. Nassau reminded me too much of the states and somehow I knew at that point that traveling was what I wanted to do for as long as I could. From Nassau I found myself in Atlanta and as usual with delays I arrived at my destination an hour late. If it weren’t for those complimentary .42 oz size of mini pretzels they so graciously passed out I might have been upset. A very quick weekend flew by and in the end I gained a new sister in law, another beautiful niece, and a very happy brother. After the wedding Saturday night we got back to the hotel and settled in about midnight, a nap and then it was up at 3:30 am to make it for the 5:30am flight back to Atlanta. Less than an hour layover and it was off to Nassau where I was sure my bag would not meet me but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it come down the baggage ramp. Two hour layover then a packed flight on that nine seater back to Staniel Cay, but we had to first fly past it to go into Blackpoint and Farmers Cay. I took the opportunity to take some photos of the islands that we had visited with my new camera.

My view of the pilot & passanger in the co pilot seat

A view of our anchorage, We anchored right in front of pig beach which is the beach to the right. Tybee Time is down there somewhere
Staniel Cay air strip on our approach

After three takeoffs in the tiny plane I was ready for the final landing which was about 2:30. Yippie, I was back in paradise with my family once again. We had dinner at the yacht club in the evening with a couple we had met in Ft. Lauderdale way back when we were waiting to cross and once back to the boat I fell into bed exhausted from lack of sleep and travel. The following morning we decided to try out the new camera I had gotten as it has an underwater feature on it so we went back to Thunderball Grotto to snorkel that again. As usual, it was beautiful and we tried out the camera and found that for the price we were happy.
Dirk heading for the entrance of the cave
Right inside the entrance looking out

the view once inside the cave and looking up

The pretty sun rays flooding down into the water A queen angel coming to say hello
Anther shot of the queen angel

On Tuesday morning we decided that it was time to leave Staniel Cay and unfortunately we are not heading any further south this season. The trek north was to begin today so we headed up to Compass Cay as we had passed it up on the way down. We shall leave here tomorrow, destination not yet known. Our plan thus far is to head up towards New Providence then hop to the Berry Islands or Morgans Bluff on Andros Island. From there we will travel across the banks, hit Bimini and then make the decision of what part of Florida we will aim for. We hate that the season has ended for us, but there are a few things back in the states that need our attention. We will be back as we have fallen in love and look forward to traveling to further points south. Heres hoping you stay tuned for more updates as soon as we hit the states.

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