Back on the water again and we have one final day in the Exumas before heading out to Eleuthera. Our plan? Thunderball Grotto!
Start: Anchorage off of White Point, Great Guayana Cay, 1028
End: Anchorage off of Farmers Cay, 1252
Total Distance: 13.7 nm
Average Speed: 5.7 kts
Start: Anchorage off Farmers Cay, 1423
End: Anchorage Black Point, 1609
Total Distance: 9.6 nm
Average Speed: 5.5 kts
Weather tomorrow looks good to travel up to Eleuthera; a 48 mile run to the NNE across the big, bad Atlantic ocean. Which means we have one day left in the Exumas. One day. We decide that we are going to go see the Thunderbolt grotto which is just outside Staniel Cay about 14 miles to the north of us. And as we decided that, we looked at how we were getting out into the big bad Atlantic, and the most forgiving (read that ‘easiest’) cut was just three miles from our current anchorage. Dothan Cut, just a stones throw north of Black Point. Where we had spent a week and which we liked. The wind? NE at 16 knots then decreasing to 10 as the day went on. Perfect for a sail. Looks like we are heading north and then south.
But no hurry. We can’t go into the Thunderbolt grotto until 1:30, when it is low tide. And it isn’t too far away. So we get to sleep in. And enjoy not one but TWO cups of coffee.1 SWEET!
So at 1000 we start to get ready and by 1030 we are on the way. The wind is definitely fresh. We get our sails up and head to the NW until we clear the point and then turn to the north and the boat MOVES! Like it takes off. So much so that AJ, who was working on school work below yelled “What happened?” What happened was a 20 knot wind off the beam filling both sails and we went from 4 knots to 8+ knots in a (boat) flash. This would be a fun day.
And our sail north was fun. We were pounding into little waves and got spray over the top. Jan took over driving and when you look at the pictures–focus on the knuckles. They are white from the grip on the wheel. We fiddled with the sails to get the boat calmed down a bit (for our sakes) and we flew (boat flew) north. Turned into the wind, dropped the sails and motored to the anchorage.
Where we saw the largest houseboats we have ever seen.
OK. They aren’t house boats. They are huge motor yachts. But they have water slides out the side of them and the last time we saw water slides on a water craft was in Canada when we were surrounded by bumper cars%%#&*(@ House boats. So now we are here in the Bahamas and apparently it is spring break. And the rich folk must rent these little run about to play all over the Bahamas. There were a TON of these huge motor facts, most sprorting water slides at anchor. We hold our heads high–while we keep our laundry hanging off the side of our boat, we have standards–no water slides for us!!
We anchor, quickly drop the dinghy and head to the thunder ball grotto.2 The grotto is so named because it was featured in a James Bond movie of the same name. Or maybe the movie was named after the cave? Either way, we were told that it was a ‘must see.’ So see it we would. We pull up to the east side of the grotto and we are not alone. There are a couple of dinghies anchored outside the cave and, less fantastically, a couple of tour boats as well.
The grotto, from the outside, is nothing special. A big rock. With a small cut at the bottom. Whoop. We don our snorkel gear, jump in the water and swim on to the opening. And are amazed. It is low tide so we can swim in without going underwater. But when we do go underwater, we see hundreds of fish. Everywhere. And when we get in the opening, the space opens above into a huge cathedral and below the water is a hole filled with marine life. It is excellent. But even at low tide you can feel the current begin to rip through the cave. We stayed for 20 minutes or so and then headed back out to return to the boat.
Then back onboard, bring back up the dinghy, engines on, we turn and head back the way we came. Sails back up and this time, the waves are in our direction. And the ride is smooth and quiet. And quick (boat quick) trip to Black Point. We pull up in the back row, because we are only staying a night, drop anchor and drop dinghy and this time Lucky is heading to shore with us.
We get back on shore to drop off garbage, walk the dog and head back to Lorraine’s for a snack. On the way, Lucky reacquaints himself with the goat who gave him a head butt a couple weeks ago. This time Lucky stays well away from his horns, and instead pees all over the goat’s patch of grass. Smart dog.
Snack complete, we return for showers, dinner and streaming of ‘The Voice.’ Tomorrow? Back into the big, bad ocean.
1A little truth in lending. I’m super annoying with zero cups of coffee. Morning person. High energy from the second my eyelids open. Which they do at the crack of sunrise. One cup and it ratchets up to 11. Two cups is a really ‘special’ day for all involved.
2Lucky, at this point, goes bananas. We stopped. Anchor down. Dinghy dropped. On a normal day the next step is that Lucky jumps in the boat and we head off to find a white sandy beach to explore. But this day we put him inside, close the door and head to the dinghy. Without him. And that, from his perspective, is unacceptable. Or a huge oversight. And he barks like there is no tomorrow. I think the mega yachts with the water slides are not amused.