Swing Set

Jun 13, 201307:27 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Swimming with the Pigs

We didn't waste any time arranging to have our new credit cards sent to Staniel Cay Yacht Club via Watermakers Air from St. Brendans Isle, our mail forwarding service. The staff at Staniel Cay was very helpful, even though we aren't staying at the marina, but are on the hook just off of Big Majors Spot, an island just across from Staniel Cay.

We also showed up with two small trash bags, and as we were pulling up on the very nice dinghy landing at Staniel Cay Yacht Club, we ran into one of the crew on a sailboat that we keep bumping into. Nick has been traveling with his girlfriend and two other girls on their sailboat from Michigan. They've been waving at each stop, and we briefly talked to one of the girls back in Wardrick Wells, but this was the first time we actually had a conversation. He gave us some tips about the lay of the land, one of them about the place to put our trash bags for no charge. I told him that I'd probably pay anyway, and he said, "Probably better...makes for good karma." That's something I totally agree with.

The next morning, we went back to Staniel Cay to check out the town, what there is of it. There are three small grocery stores, one of them that has a small selection of marine supplies. A gallon of marine diesel was $35. Good thing we don't need any right now.

We found the BTC office and went in to talk to a nice woman there who said for us to come back the next day after 1 p.m. and she would gladly load up another month's worth of data transfer on the iPad. We're glad we popped in to ask. We would've shown up at the time the store opens at 9 a.m. , but she wasn't going to be there.

The three grocery stores had no bread, and we were told by each of them that no bread could be had, but I asked about the sign on the road nearby that advertised "bread." We were told that those folks were only taking orders for the next day, having none left for today. I've learned to never trust what I hear, but to find out for myself.

We knocked on a wooden door on a seemingly private home that had a small sign on it, barely legible, about having bread there. We were told by someone inside that we should "come on in," but the door had no handle or knob. I grabbed a hold of the edge of the door and pulled it open, and the smell just about knocked us over. I should say aroma, because the door opened on a very small kitchen where one girl was kneading dough at a small table, another woman was pulling big fresh loaves of white bread from a small homestyle oven and another young man was standing by waiting for orders.

"I was told that we could order some bread for tomorrow," I said.

"You can have fresh bread right now, if you want it," said the woman who was piling the hot loaves on a nearby counter.

"Even better."

The girl kneading the dough was now rolling it out but never said a word as the young man took our $12 for two loaves of the freshest, best-tasting bread you'll ever find and placed them in a plastic bag after wrapping them in paper towels.

"When you get these back to your boat, you put them out to cool," we were warned by the older woman.

With a promise to follow orders, we walked back to the dinghy after stopping to make dinner reservations for that evening at Staniel Cay Yacht Club. We hurried back to Swing Set to make sandwiches for lunch. Delicious.

The skies were overcast, so after lunch, some book reading and an eventual nap was in order. Then, we gathered a few items and headed out in the dinghy for more exploring.

We circled Big Major and arrived at "the Grotto," a small cay just off from Staniel Cay where there's a popular snorkeling spot, because one can snorkel underwater to a cave. The cave has holes in the roof, so there's lots of light, and there's plenty of fish and coral to see. A scene from the movie "Thunderball" was filmed there about 50 years ago. I was impressed. Rosie didn't bring her mask and fins with her, but we're going back as soon as we can, perhaps on a nicer day.

Some folks from a large yacht anchored near us had arrived in a very nice dinghy and were leaving as we were. The dinghy wasn't running right, and they were apparently from Spain, or South America, but I let them know that we could tow them back if they couldn't get their dinghy running. They were appreciative, and we watched as the driver fiddled with the jet-driven dinghy. After watching them a minute, I told them I thought they had something stuck in the pump. Sure enough, the driver put the dinghy in reverse and expelled some fratis or other from the jet pump, and away they went after giving us a thumbs up and plenty of smiles.

Everyone has heard of "swimming with the fishes," but at Big Majors Spot, you can swim with the pigs. Even though another dinghy with some folks were already on the beach, two of these monsters made a bee-line toward our dinghy. They'll try to climb in if you let them, but our dinghy only has a capacity of a few hundred pounds. These porkers probably weigh 500 pounds each.

The two couples in the other dinghy were feeding the pigs and otherwise having a close encounter with them. One guy asked me if I wanted to feed one, and I said that other than at the end of a fork, this was as close as I'd ever been to a pig, and I didn't see a need to feed one. They'll eat fingers too.

The two couples were from a megayacht anchored just off the beach like everyone else. One of the girls could've been a model. She looked like Kate Hudson, only with more curves. I would've loved to take a picture for our blog readers back home who appreciate such things, but I think taking pictures of pretty girls that you don't know is creepy. The picture of the blond pig above will have to do.


Here's a picture of a pretty girl. It's hard to get her to look at the camera when I'm taking a picture, usually she wants to look over at Rosie. I will pay for this.

Back to the boat, and we cranked up the stereo and popped a beer. A fella we'd waved to on his way into the anchorage dinghied over to say hello. "Big Dan" and his wife have been cruising this area every summer for the last eight years in their 53-foot DeFever, staying late in hurricane season, into September and October. His plan is always the same as ours is intended to be; just watch the weather and move out of the way of any approaching storms. It's worked for him. Traveling back to the security of Demopolis, Ala., is not practical for us.

There's one seating for dinner at Staniel Cay Yacht Club, and it's at 7:30. We arrived at the marina about an hour early, and I motored over to a spot where Rosie could climb up to the dock without getting her new shoes wet when I pulled up to the beach later. A guy was standing on the end of a pier and as we approached, he warned me that "a big boat was coming in" and we were not to get in the way.

There was room there for about a 20-foot boat, so I said, "The boat can't be too big, that's an awful short slip."

"It's a 39-foot Pursuit," we were told.

Rosie was nice enough to explain that she was only getting dropped off and that we were taking our dinghy to the beach. Rosie was spreading around more karma. I didn't feel the need to at this particular point.

I secured the dinghy and then found Rosie talking to Nick and the three girls from the sailboat, all dressed up to spend the evening at the SCYC. Nick and I discussed a problem he was having with a motor mount on their sailboat, and he had found that getting a replacement part was almost impossible. I suggested making a repair by fabricating something, but he said he had a drill, but no material. I said I had some spare aluminum angle material of an appropriate thickness, plus some spare nuts and bolts, and we both thought a repair could be made. I promised to come by the next day to take a look at the cracked motor mount on the small diesel engine on the sailboat, as we were going to BTC anyway.

Did I mention that the three pretty young girls traveling with Nick make a habit of lounging around on the sailboat with hardly any clothes on? I do what I can to help. Rosie is coming too, if you need to know.

Rosie might say that this is the closest she's been to a pig that wasn't holding a fork, but it is what it is. We got a seat at the bar and waited for dinner to be served.

We soon found out that we didn't have to get a reservation for the fancy dining room, we could've eaten in the bar off of the lunch menu, something that better suits our budgets and our demeanors, but Rosie said that it didn't hurt to eat at a dining table occasionally.

As 7:30 neared, the bar began to fill up and a line formed of all the other diners that had made reservations. Every table was to be filled, and no walk ins could be accommodated for dinner. We may have changed our minds and ate at the bar anyway, but we had to order what we wanted when we made the reservation that morning, and we weren't going to stiff the restaurant.

Four of the folks in the busted dinghy from earlier in the day made a special point to come up to us at the bar and thank us in broken English for our concern when their dinghy didn't want to run. We thought that was nice. Even people in megayachts like to spread karma around.

When the line dwindled down, we took our seats and were soon digging into a pork chop dinner for Rosie and what was described as a "slab of ribs" for me. If four ribs is a slab, then I'm Porky Pig, and for $28 per dinner, even with a half-cup of soup and a small salad, the entrees were overpriced. Funny how I paid $4 apiece for the beers and didn't blink an eye. Please note that we ordered the pork before making friends with the beach pigs.

It was way after dark when we made the two-mile or so run in the dinghy back to the boat. There was still some light way off in the distance providing some guidance, and the seas were calm. The dinghy zipped us "home" in no time and after pouting just a little bit, Holly was beside herself with glee to see us back with her.

It's raining this morning as I write this blog. I was interrupted by Rosie to come in for breakfast. I had two slices of that great Bahamian bread with peanut butter and jelly on it. It was good, and had better be for 50 cents per bite. I figured it out.

Our letter is due to arrive this afternoon on the Watermaker's Air flight from Fort Lauderdale. We'll go see our new sailboat friends and also stop at the BaTelCo office. If the weather cooperates, we'll both go snorkeling in the Grotto this afternoon when the tide is slack and the current has subsided. It's dangerous in the cave when there's too much current.

Tha-tha-tha-that's all folks!

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