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Vacation Journal
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Part 10 Thunderball Grotto and Staniel Cay

By: BertaB (View Profile)
Date: 5/31/2007

Woke up to still windy wavy weather. We could not bring the dinghy up to its cradle and so we would have to tow it. Most people do tow their dinks as it is much easier to just hop in when you need them, but each Captain is different and Leo likes to haul his out.

The guys rig up a tow line and we prepare to leave. Leo is at the helm and Scott and Shawn are at the anchor controls and Chris and I hold the dinghy lines out of the water so the props don't get caught in the ropes. I told Leo to let us know when he was going to put the gears in forward and hit the throttle so that he doesn't rip our arms off. Some people never learn, and he didn't tell us that.
Thankfully I was paying attention to the guys and could hear the anchor come up and could feel the boat engage. I yelled to Chris to let go of her line, but she was slowly letting the line out. I could see she was getting rope burns and said LET GO as I ran to grab her. She did let go and just in time as Leo kicked up the throttle. Needless to say, I had some words with the Captain.
The good news is, Chris' hands are really tough and did not suffer any damage.

The trip from Farmers Cay to Staniel Cay was really just a hop, skip and jump.
The tricky part was navigating in thru rocks, buoys and coral reefs.

Eventually we got to an anchorage and waited for the marina to call us back to say that our slip was ready. I looked around and spotted a few other DeFever yachts. Before I could open my mouth, two dinghys pulled up and said hello. They were DeFever owners and in the club I belong to. One of the boats was heading home in an hour or so, but couldn't resist greeting another DeFever boat to the area. The other boat was staying for a few more days but heading south.

Yes, I know, I have a propensity for taking lots of boat pictures. LOL
The Sarah K as she was leaving for home.

This is Club Thunderball. I never got into the club, but it is named after the James Bond movie: Thunderball

Soon enough Leo gets antsy and wants to get into the marina. It has been a day since we have had electricity, so he wants to make sure the food in the fridge doesn't go bad. The batteries keep the fridge running, but they need to be charged. When the engines are running on long trips, they can be charged, but not on these two hour island hopping trips. He sends Scott and me over to the marina to check out the situation.

We hop into the dink and off we go. We arrive at the dinghy dock and are greeted by all sorts of fish below us. There are also sharks here and they aren't nurse sharks. Oh my, one wrong step..........

We find the dockmaster and he shows us our slip. The question of the day is, do we back in or head bow in. Backing in will be a challenge, but easier to get out in the morning. We head back and tell Leo the news. He decides to go back with Scott to decide for himself and plan his attack.

They come back and he decides we are going to back in. I get the dock lines ready and fenders. Fenders keep the boat from getting scratched (or worse) on the dock pilings and hardware. Scott heads back to the marina in the dink to be there to get the dockhands and to assist them in our getting the boat in.

Amazingly despite the current and the fact we have to squeeze in between two boats to get to our spot, Leo is flawless in getting the boat in. We are all tied up and can relax and get the batteries charged. The ones on the boat and the ones in ourselves.

It didn't take me long to get re-energized and I was off and running.
I needed to get a few supplies and headed into town to pick up some coffee and bread. I got as far as the telephone company and realized I had no clue where I was going. I stopped in the phone building and asked where the nearest grocery/general store was. A nice lady by the name of Peavey offered me a drive there in her golf cart. It was longer than I had expected it to be and thought I was going to be in for a long walk back to the boat. Well, she came in to the store with me, introduced me to the owner and helped me find the stuff I was looking for and then gave me a tour of town and showed me where her house was and then took me back to the marina. I gave her a few dollars for her time and she said she would give it to her kids.

Back on the boat it was time to get into the dink and head to Thunderball Grotto. This was the place they filmed part of the movie at. I wish I had pictures to show you, but they are still on the waterproof camera and need to be developed. Sorry! I will put them up at a later date. Anyway........

We get to the small island and I am trying to figure out how to get into the grotto. I don my mask and fins and jump in off the dink. Whoa, strong current, I am not the best of swimmers and question if I can do this.
Shawn grabs my arm and off we go following Leo since he has been here before. Once we get into the opening I am ok and can manage on my own.
Soon enough we are in a huge cave and the most beautiful water. Think of it as being inside an empty volcano. The sun was streaming in thru the hole in the top and it was a magical light show of colors and fish. But it was also very cold in there and I told the guys I was heading out. This was easier as I was going with the current.

I popped out and was greeted by Chris holding on to a rope attached to the dinghy. She is totally blind without her glasses and there fore can't go snorkeling. She is also afraid to get her face wet except in the shower. He he. I did feel sorry for her missing out on such a cool sight, but I made it up to her. I hopped up in the dink and grabbed a bunch of crackers we brought along. I crumbled them up and waited for the fish to arrive. She was surrounded by fish in no time and giggled like a kid. Soon the guys came
back and we all headed back to the LaChelle to make our reservations for dinner.

We filled out our dinner requests and turned the slip in to the dining room.
By doing it this way, the cooks know exactly what everyone wants, how much to prepare and when the dinner bells rings, everyone is served at the same time. Pretty slick operation. Now we have several more hours to kill before dinner.

I decide to go for another walkabout and take my camera this time.

Some pretty flower bushes

That was about all there was to see without walking and building up a sweat.

I stopped by the phone and decided to call my mom a day late for mothers day. I also called my hubby and talked with him a bit. At least now that I have a phone card, the calls are only .47 cents a minute. Still expensive, but better than $3.00 a minute!

Back on the dock I ran into this guy.

He was riding up and down the dock handing beers out to those that looked thirsty. I guess I looked thirsty and had a Kalik. Turns out his boat was across from ours and he and his wife were some serious tournament fisherpeople. Billfish season was almost in full swing and they were ready for some fun. Personally I hope to never catch a billfish......too much work just to release them. That is my theory, but there are others that enjoy the sport, so be it. I just prefer to be able to eat the fish I catch.

Soon the dinner bell rings and everyone from the marina heads to the dinner hall. After dinner, Scott, Shawn and I hang around the bar for a few more beers. I leave them after I have two and crawl into bed. We are in for another early morning and more travel.

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