Friday 6 Feb, BHS day 38, from Pipe Cays to Staniel Cay: Short visit at pigs beach, food shopping, and lovely dinner with friends.
High tide was at 4:30am so alarm goes at 7am and we are off immediately while we still have some water. It’s a cloudy morning, plus the daylight is not really there yet to be able to visually navigate. But we make it out from behind Pipe Cay back to the slightly deeper water of the Exuma bank without any issue. I’d been a bit concerned how we would get into Staniel Cay from the bank side, because our charts show impossibly shallow depths for us. So instead, we had worked a convoluted route via Sampson Cay and then through the very narrow channel next to Fowl Cay.
Luckily, Ian is available on the VHF and assures us we can get into Staniel Cay by the direct route – which our chart says is not possible. Relieved, we head south and using the waypoints Ian gave us we come across the shallows with a just a few inches under the keel. Mahina (Ian and Michelle) is anchored with lots of boats next to pig beach on the west side of Big Majors Cay, and Pearl (Pete and Tracy) is next to the Thunderball Grotto, but we decide to anchor where we did last time (better the devil you know) on the SE corner of the same Majors Cay. There is some swell coming in the cut from the deep water, but while other smaller yachts are rocking, it’s not bothering Cloudy too much.
Once settled we venture to pig beach in the dinghy. The pigs are quite the tourist attraction around here. As we approach the beach by dinghy, pigs venture swimming in the sea coming out to greet us, hoping for food. I’ve never seen a pig swimming in the sea before! There are pigs of all different sizes from baby piglets to big bores. And all different colours and patterns too. Along with the pigs is a lot of pig excrement in the water. Not somewhere that Oana is happy to paddle in! It’s one of those attractions you tick you have seen, then quickly go back to where you came! We watch the pigs being fed by tripper boats, click our pictures, and out of there in 15 minutes!
Back at Cloudy it’s a quick turnaround. Armed with shopping bags, we head ashore and leave the dinghy in Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Unlike last week, this time the shops are well stocked with fresh fruit and veg. The supply boat had been in just yesterday. But the prices are pretty eye watering. $5 for a cucumber, $1.75 per apple, or$8 a red cabbage just as examples. One shopping bag of fresh veg and $93 less in our wallet, we head back to Cloudy. We were thinking of a quick drink in the bar, but it was too empty hence no atmosphere.
Our afternoon on board is lazy. Ian and Michelle briefly pop by for a beer and we give them a tour of Cloudy. Everyone who comes aboard says Cloudy is cavernous. I guess we are now just used to the space of our home. It seems normal, but doesn’t stop us being grateful for the boat we have. We love her!
At 5pm we clean up and dress up then head ashore where we meet up with the others in the SCYC bar. We have drinks and dinner at the bar with Ian and Michelle, having a great time chatting to them, while Pearl’s crew has dinner at the restaurant. It’s Stu’s last evening so he is a bit sad going back to UKs damp winter …. and to work. But a couple of the very nice rum punches soon get him back on form again. The music is also very nice and Oana and Tracy are soon up and dancing. It’s a nice place to spend the evening with good company. But all of a sudden, at 8:45 pm the others all get their bills and depart, leaving us on our own. We know a lot of cruisers retire early in the evening, but Oana tells me if I went to bed at 9pm it would be instant divorce! Haha.
With not many others in the bar to interact with, we also head back at about 10pm. And considering our early morning rise, we also have a relatively early night…passed 11pm.