Feb 5-7, 2016
Time to find a place to ride out the storm that is due this weekend. We had a couple of options. Our choices for hiding places were (1) go back to Little Pipe Creek, but a bit South for better protection, (2) up the channel to the North of Staniel, where all of the boaters from Big Majors typically go (3) Lumber Cay on the Atlantic side of Staniel which is very tricky getting in and out of due to shallow depths and some nasty rocks.
First, we wanted to go to Staniel Cay (1) to see if they had their weekend BBQ in the park on Saturday, unfortunately, they were not (2) ditch trash at the dump, which is free if you hike it in, and we did (3) snorkel Thunderball Grotto, because it is just that good (4) get a few fresh veggies, if they have them and (5) see if we can finally get our Bahama hot spot cell phone working.
We were able to get lettuce, limes and an onion. Not bad for $10. Except, we found that the limes were already pithy. Oh well. Angie zested them for future use. The BTC store told us we needed a new SIM card. We could either check back at 4 pm or wait until Monday. (Monday was supposed to be our departure day to get further S to meet our friends). So, we decided to move the boat to the Atlantic side of Staniel and hope that we could hike in and get the cell phone taken care of later that day. However, if not, then we would at least be close for getting it taken care of on Monday.
The water was so still when we departed in the morning, not a single ripple on top due to wind. You could see the bottom in 25 feet of water. It looked like we were in two feet. So cool to see the huge red starfish on the bottom as we motored over to Staniel to start on our list of things to do.
The trip over to Lumber Cay to hide from the storm took about 1.5 hours. The boaters were already lining up the channel by North Staniel, and we didn’t want to backtrack to Pipe. We didn’t want to get in the mix of all of the Big Major’s boaters, incase someone didn’t anchor properly. It could get ugly.
We had the Lumber Cay anchorage to ourselves except for a local fishing boat that looks like it has been there for a very long time. We took our chances. It was sketchy getting in there due to the shallow areas and rocks to dodge. The Atlantic looked the calmest we have seen, so far for this trip, which helped with getting around the cut. We thought we had the place to ourselves and had 100 feet of chain out.
We thought wrong. 4 other boats squeezed in there with us. Angie was not going to sleep well, for certain. One boat pulled anchor twice, and looked like we were going to have some swing issues. We told them how much scope we had out, but they still looked too close for comfort. (We were on a 142 ft swing radius). They were deeper keeled than us, and if they got jammed up on sand and stopped swinging, we would have a serious tangle of anchor chains and us running into them.
So, we settled in, knowing it was going to be an interesting storm with our new neighbors. We worked more boat projects, got our SIM card squared away, and enjoyed all of the low flying aircraft buzzing us. We were anchored in their flight path. We snorkeled the Grotto and swam around the little island, where we saw another HUGE Lionfish. We also saw a very large shark as we entered the water. Not exactly sure what it was. My first thought was Thresher. I need a shark ID book. We also dinghy drift snorkeled the cut off of Lumber Cay and were not disappointed. We had good color all along the south side of South Staniel Cay. By far, the longest dinghy drift snorkel/dive yet. However, Angie caught sight of another large shark that seemed a bit too curious to her liking. Large schools of fish, a turtle. Definitely worth coming back! We like Staniel Cay.
The storm came with a vengeance. A 100 ft motor yacht at Big Majors drug anchor and ended up on the rocks, along with their 30 ft tender. The call went out for help in the early morning. Wind gusts of up to 51 knots were called in from Little Pipe Creek. We had Bonine’d everyone, but we waited too late. Mean Kitty still puked. Angie stayed up all night, making sure all was good in our anchorage and that the boat in front of us kept clocking around. In the morning, we were so very close with our stern (read: props) hovering around their anchor buoy. How much scope did they have on the buoy line? Were we going to get our props tangled in their anchor chain or buoy line when we started the engines? Thank goodness all went well with departure.
Time to get to the Southern Exumas to plan our friends visit and await for their arrival.
Note to Self: Do Not Store Spare Pumps and Motors near our GPS Compass. It messes with Magnetic North on our Chartplotter and Autopilot Steering. We now have chips and crackers stored in that cubby hole.
Another boat project for Angie – Making catch nets to cover two storage areas in the hulls. Things tend to fall out when the boat is rocking about. Unfortunately, one is located above the kitty food and water station. Makes a mess.