Friday, December 15, 2006

Tuesday 12th December

Staniel Cay.

24 10.33 N
76 26.75 W

Still a bit blustery today with the winds at about the same speed as yesterday. We decided to stay for a second night to give ourselves chance to see the famous “Thunderball Cave”. This cave / grotto is a large cave accessible only from the water but which has a sky opening allowing the cave to be lit by the sun, it is home to hundreds of tropical fish and has been used in several films the most famous of them being the 1964 James Bond movie Thunderball from where the cave gets it’s name. At 09.00hrs we set off in our dink, with snorkeling gear, to the small island that is home to the thunderball cave, it was about ½ mile away and we were soon there, in fact we were the only ones there. The sea was a bit “lumpy” and there was quite a tidal current going past on each side of the island, we did a very quick trip around it in the dink and decided to come back a bit later in the day when it was slack tide. We did a dink tour of the nearby islands and when we got back to the yacht club we found that there were several sharks hanging around the marina along with 3 or 4 stingrays, they obviously knew that people cleaned their fishing catch at the table on the dock and threw the yucky bits into the water – these sharks and rays were just waiting to be fed, the sharks were about 4 foot long and the rays were about 3 feet across – big enough to keep me out of the water anyway!
Back on the boat we waited impatiently (imagine that!) had a bit of lunch and then jumped back in the dink to head back out to the island again. When we arrived we were again the only ones there, we tied the dink up to one of the two mooring buoys there and were immediately surrounded by a heap of fish. All the literature about the cave / grotto say to take food to feed the fish, we had decided not to as I wasn’t too sure I wanted to be part of a feeding frenzy. We donned our snorkeling gear and jumped in over the side of the dink – Gerry going first to occupy any sharks that might be there! We swam around the island first accompanied by loads of fish – they were everywhere. Then we headed into the gaps between the rocks searching for the entrance to the cave, after a couple of misses we found the entrance but the tide was high and there was hardly any sun as the day was a bit overcast. Entry to the cave was difficult, we decided after venturing half way in that we didn’t want to continue so we backed out, thinking to return still later when the tide was lower. The entrance alone boasted more fish than imaginable – I think they are on to a good hiding place as there is no fishing allowed in the area and they are all obviously used to tourists arriving with food for them. Back at our boat we showered and changed and then discovered that low tide wasn’t until 20.00hrs. – there was no way we were going back there in the dark, a pity but at least we got to see some of it. I then did something a bit off balance and pulled something in my back, it hurts like mad and I’m having to be careful how I stand, sit, turn walk etc. I don’t think there is enough rum on Staniel Cay to kill the pain. We booked into the yacht club for dinner and again had a wonderful meal – the soup there was outstanding! Then it was back to the boat for a relatively early night in preparation for tomorrow’s passage further south.
Update on Gerry’s hand – the pain has gone apart from when I press hard on the burn marks, which remain white and blistered looking even though they haven’t blistered and the skin remains intact. Feelings are normal in his finger tips – or so he says and there is no contraction of the joints – I think he got away lightly!



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