Rabbits and Piglets and Fish, Oh My!
Ok so the best thing ever happened to me in Staniel Cay… The Friday after we arrived (now anchored just north at Thomas Cay) I was told that Juan was coming back to the Bahamas piloting someone in. He did another low lying flyby passed the Floridian which is so exhilarating on its own but little did I know, two of my best friends were hiding in the plane with him! Chelsea, Lydia ran up and surprised me at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club! Speechless. They were here for 2 days and so immediately we were off to make them count.
First stop: duh, Big Major Cay (aka pig beach). To those who don’t know, this small island is just off Staniel Cay, uninhabited except for a group of pigs sleeping their days away under palm trees in between visitors. This is just one of those things that will always make girls squeal with excitement, just like the pigs. [Side note: A lot of boats anchor out in front. It is beautiful (and did I mention there are pigs here??). Paul and I had anchored there a couple nights before the girls had arrived, but we were now 5 miles up from here at Thomas Cay where we had our own private beach and Paul could pee off the boat in peace.] Pig Beach with the girls was so much fun! We frolicked around in the water and chased piggies trying to make them like us. We also took a million pics. Three different boats came to see the pigs in the hour we were there. One was a local family. They were only there about ½ an hour. They came to eat lunch on their boat beached next to the pigs. What did they decide to bring to lunch at pig beach? Ribs.
When we arrived at the Floridian, Juan had made one the most delicious meals to date: fried grouper wraps with avocado, spicy mayo and cilantro. After lunch we all loaded up the dinghy and headed out to dive. Juan is a very experienced diver (has been diving all his life) so the girls were able to get a lot of gopro footage of the guys in action. They caught a couple groupers (Yellowfin and Nassau). I got to snorkel my favorite inlet with my best friends. I was in heaven and still in a little shock that they were next to me. The boat anchored beside us gave us bags of ice all weekend, we gave them some filets as thanks. Ice meant we could toast with Cuba Libres and Gumbay Punches! We watched the sunset and ate fried grouper nuggets. I got updated with all the latest news of my friends back home. They are taking over the world, I swear.
After sunset we took the dinghy to the beach to a fire (a circle of conch shells). We brought marshmallows and wine and wore headlamps. We made a bonfire and passed the bottle. Late that night we set up the hammock on the bow and the 3 of us crammed in. Juan baked a chicken he had flown in (which had been brining the past 3 days) and the guys gave us a bowl to taste it. We scarfed it down and asked for more but were told “no more”. We would have eaten the whole chicken.
The next morning we had coffee and one eyed monsters (a Floridian staple). We’ve been out of coconut bread for a week now so I made them with my Rosemary Cheddar Beer Bread (recipe thanks to my friend, Terry). We dove a bit then moved anchorage a few miles South over near pig beach to explore the Thunderball Grata. This adds a whole other reason to come to this part of the Exumas. You dive under the edge of the rock island and come up into the grada. By memory, I’d guess its about 20 ft to the ceiling. The sun pours in through a hole above. (I’ll post more pics when I can)
The guys went diving near our new anchorage and we girls took turns jumping off the boat into the beautiful backdrop. The guys came back with two more grouper (a large Black and a Nassau)! Last time Juan was onboard Mutton Snapper was the theme. Grouper seem to be the theme here. This is also a great place for Bonefish, I hear. We made grouper tacos for dinner with maduros and spicy mayo, of course. Juan and Paul decided to check out Staniel Cay Yacht Club. About an hour or so later I heard Paul’s voice come through on our radio. There was a free rum tasting at the bar so he was going to come pick us up in the dinghy. Riding the dinghy at night is so much fun. Your pupils widen in full alert mode. My heart always starts pumping under the big star-studded sky and wind blowing through my hair. It was a small group of us that night closing down the bar. At midnight, it turned into Mark’s birthday (the yacht club’s commodore) so there we all were, mostly strangers, joining together to sing him happy birthday. He was a cool guy. The people hosting the rum tasting sent the left over bottles home with us so now we have some interesting rums onboard for our guests, such as “Ron de Jeremy” and “Rumshine”. We finished the “Big Black Dick” bottle. Yes, that’s an official name of rum.
We woke up early the next morning to motor the boat down to Blackpoint (about 6 miles) where the plane had been all weekend. I was sad to see our friends go but I couldn’t be too sad for them to leave since I was still on a high that they even been there. Miss you already!
Quick Shoutout! Two of my best friends from back home had birthdays this week, Emily Thompson and Kayce Earnest. I hope they know I was thinking of them. Cheers to them both and Happy Birthday!