Thunderball 007 & Prep for Weather, Staniel Cay 4.2012

Today was a day of preparation for most cruisers here in Staniel Cay and Big Majors, Exumas.  Chris Parker is forecasting yet another weekend (3rd in a row) of blowing 30, luckily this one is forecast to be out of the east.  East is much easier to find a secure anchorage than last weekend which ended up with three days of a westerly component.  The forecast calls for squalls from 30-40 knots starting Friday (today), Saturday and Sunday and then blowing stink Monday – 25-35 knots in Chris’ forecast this morning, but east, all east.

So boats are moving around, picking their anchorage spot for the next several days.  Others are putting out 2nd anchors.  Some we heard on the VHF asking how to string a coffee can full of cement as a kellet – most have out 150 feet of chain – and some of those have out 2nd anchors as well.  The anchorage is secure and as long as the wind doesn’t go west, all will be well here in Staniel Cay & Big Majors.  Lots of boats moved in from Big Majors to be closer to Staniel despite the strong current and scoured bottoms – all day cruisers were diving on anchors, making sure they’re well set and ready for the weather.

Others came in to the village at Staniel Cay to stock up on provisions, check internet – maybe hoping to find the updated forecast is better.  And tonight it’s somewhat better, but very guarded.  Chris says — yes, in all caps — FORECAST DETAILS VERY UNCERTAIN IN AREAS INFLUENCED BY TROF (SE Bahamas beginning tomorrow/Central Bahamas (that’s us) beginning Fri27).  So who knows — maybe we’ll get lucky and have no nasty squalls and weather – we’ve had enough lately to make many cruisers give up and head back to the U.S.

One thing that constantly surprises me is that so many cruisers don’t have a source of weather.  I cannot imagine not having our daily weather fix via buoyweather and Chris Parker’s e-mail.   Both are via Sailmail on the SSB radio/pactor III modem.  There are many ways of getting weather info, but we think it’s vital information to have aboard.

In the meantime today (Thursday) was GORGEOUS!  And we took advantage of it after prepping the boat, always the boat has to come first, of course.  Then we walked around the settlement, bought some fresh Bahamian coconut bread and circumnavigated Big Majors in our dinghy – yes, there will be some swimming pigs photos in an upcoming post.  About an hour before the tide went slack so we could snorkel in Thunderball Cave — where they filmed the movies 007 Thunderball and Splash — we decided to ride out there in the dinghy & see if we could swim in – hopefully getting there a bit before “prime time” would allow us to avoid the tourist crowds.  And it turned out perfect – a slight bit of current, but manageable, perfect visibility, fishies and the entrance had enough clearance that I didn’t get claustrophobic.

I’m always leery of “tourist” adventures, most of them don’t seem to live up to their hype.  So it was with a ho hum attitude that we decided to snorkel in Thunderball Cave.  But this one surprised us totally!  It was SO cool that we kept swimming back in & out & in & out.  The light was just right, too bad my camera shots don’t do it justice, but WOW!  David was unhappy that he couldn’t shoot all the big grouper and snappers hanging out in the cave, but it’s a no take zone — too bad, we’d have had fresh fish for dinner instead of smoked pork chops on the grill!

We’ll see over the next few days what the weather holds.  We’re near land, so we can hike around Staniel Cay if it’s too rough to enjoy snorkeling and water activities.  I’m hoping the forecast will be off though because there are so many cool sounding snorkel spots that people keep telling us about — we have a list that could keep us busy for a couple of weeks!  🙂

Until next time — have you spent time in the Staniel Cay/Big Majors anchorage areas?  Anything we should be sure NOT to miss?   🙂  Leave a comment and we’ll add it to our list!  (p.s. – nice of them to have internet — and btw, YES my new alfa wifi antenna is working great!)  Cheers!  Jan


  1. Hey guys, we met at Highborne, I just sent you the photo of the Polish Sailors! Lovely weather eh? I was at Staniel when the big system blew through last weekend, had to move Migration up to Compass Cay. Now at Sampson Cay enjoying this rain. Compass is great — very low key, a beautiful beach, cheeseburgers, Tucker, Chleo, Preston, Jamal. Sampson Cay is upper-end like Highborne. Nice little restaurant with a different motley group each night for dinner. Of course you did the Pigs right? Also if you liked Thunderball, try the caves at Rocky Dundas. Maybe see you in the neighborhood! Michael of S/V Migration

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