Of Sharks and Rays - 21 June
Wednesday 21 Jun 2006
Mike / Alison / Ann: Today was an early start - 7am at the high tide. Not all were as eager to get going this morning as indicated they would the night before. At promptly 7am, the big diesel was roared into life and sleep was shaken from those not already on deck. With Brian at the helm and Alison at the bow watching for the shallow spots, our group made our way out the cut to the open ocean. It's amazing how the tidal flow out the cut, which was opposite the wind, kicked up a tumultuous maelstrom. Alison had a roller coaster ride. The rest of us stayed dry however.
Since the winds were light, we motored, arriving at Staniel Cay at about noon, which was just about low tide. We anchored just off the Staniel Cay Yacht Club and put the dinghy together and headed for Thunderball Grotto - the scene of the James Bond movie of the same name and another movie Splash. Alison, in full snorkel gear, rolled in in true diver fashion and promptly stood up in waist deep water. A bit embarrassing for her given all her preparation.
Thunderball Grotto - what can we say - words don't adequately describe it. We'd include some pics, but they were shot with the underwater camera, so you'll have to wait until we get the 35mm film developed. In the meantime, here's how we'd describe it: picture this - fighting against a strong current through a very narrow passageway to come into a cavernous space, complete with vegetation hanging down from a large opening in the dome top, shafts of light illuminating the pool of colour, coral, rocks that appeared iridescent, schools of brightly coloured fish....and did we mention the current? It actually shot us out when it was done with us. Spectacular!!!!!
Next we went to Staniel Cay Yacht Club for our happy hour, with an extra special greeting committee waiting for us.....dozens of sand sharks, gars, a puffer, rays and myriads of other fish - they were waiting to feed on unsuspecting arriving dinghy people. Everyone was careful getting out and up onto the dock. See the pics:
We went back to the boat for a 15 minute snooze, change of clothes and then it was back to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club for dinner. And celebration of Ann's birthday (yes, we did order a birthday cake for her!). After a scrumptuous meal, the waiting staff came through the restaurant singing 'Happy Birthday', and carrying a huge chocolate cake. Everyone else in the restaurant joined in the singing. We did our best with the cake but we are still going back to the boat with enough leftovers for a number of days.
With the early start we had this morning, the crew's bagged - party poopers. Tomorrow, we get to sleep in a little later since our distination is Warderick Wells Cay, about 17nm. But we'll be stopping to see the swimming pigs and then at a sea aquarium at O'Briens Cay.