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Thunderball Grotto

Yesterday, before we left Big Majors and the Staniel Cay area, we dinghied over to the Thunderball Grotto to snorkel at low tide. Thunderball Grotto is a popular stop for the many tours boats in the area. For that reason we haven’t been there for a while. Since there aren’t as many cruisers or tour boats around right now I thought it would be nice to visit it again. Once we arrived at the grotto George realized we had forgotten the dinghy ladder that we use to get back into the dinghy. Rather than go back to get the ladder we decided to use a line to fashion a foot loop to use as a sort of step. George tried it out as he got into the water to make sure it would work. A tour group was just leaving as we entered the grotto so we had it pretty much to ourselves. We didn’t linger long but did see a lot of fish—including a Queen Angelfish!—and the effect of the light coming through the top of the grotto was interesting. In the movie Thunderball, James Bond is rescued out of the shark-filled
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More photos: Snorkeling at Warderick Wells

Queen Angelfish George got a great shot of this Queen Angelfish.  If you look closely at the sandy patch in the coral you see a spiny lobster. It is against the rules to catch wildlife or take anything from the park. 

Photos: Rock Sound and Shroud Cay

Now that we have cell phone service again I can post more photos and videos.  Dolphin playing in our bow wake as we leave Rock Sound.  Entering Wax Cay Cut near Shroud Cay. The water is so clear we can see details on the bottom 35 feet below.  Sea turtle in Sanctuary Creek at Shroud Cay Screenshot of chart as our dinghy meanders through Sanctuary Creek.  Large Ray in Sanctuary Creek.  Mouth of Sanctuary Creek, opening up to Exuma Sound.  Sea turtle in Sanctuary Creek. 

Mega Yachts

Each year we come to the Bahamas we see more mega yachts. Today, as we were sailing from Warderick Wells to Big Major’s Cay, we passed by several, but the one in the photo was the largest. This one, named Man of Steel*, is a mere 282 feet long. The people we saw working on deck looked tiny. If you look at the aft end you will see a large open door. George surmises it is for a compartment holding all of the “toys”—jet skis, etc.  You can barely see the man who was suspended on a track sliding along to hose off the windows. After we arrived at Big Major’s we dinghied over to Staniel Cay and picked up a part for the water maker we had shipped over by Makers Air, filled a jerry can each with diesel and gas, dumped trash, and ate lunch at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Our timing was good for getting fuel. A mini mega yacht—only about 100 feet long—had just finished fueling up. The mega yachts can take a very long time filling their tanks and have been known to drain the yacht club’s tanks.  *

Boo Boo Hill

We walked to the top of Boo Boo Hill this morning and brought our phones, iPads, and MyIsland WiFi to take advantage of the weak cell phone signal as well as the amazing view. The first time we visited Warderick Wells we were blown away by the dramatic changes in color as the water depth changes. The photo doesn’t really do it justice. 

Shroud Cay to Warderick Wells

Late yesterday morning—not long before high tide—we took a wild, choppy 2-mile-long dinghy ride to Sanctuary Creek at the northern end of Shroud Cay. The calm creek meanders through mangroves from the west side of the island all the way to the eastern shore. It was a beautiful ride with a lot of marine wildlife. We saw 9 sea turtles, 1 small shark, a large ray, and another unidentifed large fish. The eastern end of the creek opens up to the much deeper water of Exuma Sound and a beautiful white, powdery beach. We hiked up to Camp Driftwood at the top of a short, steep hill. The "camp" is a couple of small clearings built in the 1960's by a sailor who was living just inside the creek. In the 1980's the camp was used by federal agents to spy on drug-running planes flying in and out of neighboring Normans Cay.  Throughout the morning the north wind had kicked up a significant chop in the anchorage so we decided to leave Shroud Cay and head for the more protected waters o

Rock Sound to Shroud Cay

We weighed anchor at 7:30 this morning to start our trip to the Exuma Cays. We left the harbor at the same time a fishing boat was heading out. We met the owner of the fishing boat at 3 T's Laundry Mat on Wednesday and he told us all about how he catches stone crabs by making his own pots and laying them in lines 80 pots long. He marks each line by GPS rather than using buoys (one less thing for us to avoid) and names each line after a family member. He plans to soon visit Florida to talk to a potential business partner. We wish him well. On our way out of the harbor we were also briefly joined by a dolphin playing in our bow wake. Our original destination was Warderick Wells in the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. Since the wind is forecast to be light for a few days we changed our minds and decided to go Shroud Cay—at the northern end of the park—first and then Warderick Wells when we need the protection from west wind later in the week. We motored all the way across Exuma Sound in