Farewell Staniel Cay and The Majors

The day we were set to depart the Majors, we first did a bit of exploring. Ron and Kathy aboard sv/Stormy Petrel recommended we do a short hike up a nearby hilltop. We took the dinghy into the small cove, east of Thoms Rock, and hiked the small spit of land extending northward.

20130318-011012.jpg

20130318-011628.jpg

20130318-011654.jpg

Near the top we had great views of the small cove where we’d beached the dinghy,

20130318-011753.jpg
Thunderball Grotto (island farthest right), Staniel Cay (lined with resort cottages on the left),

20130318-011818.jpg
and the anchorage between Big Majors Spot and Little Majors Spot (with a glimpse of Rode Trip and Asante anchored to the far left).

20130318-011955.jpg

At the top we found a lovely statue of the Virgin Mary.

20130318-012035.jpg
Mark added a rock to the cairn.

20130318-012137.jpg

We hiked down and took the dinghy all the way to the west side of Big Majors Spot where we visited Rich and Carol on sv/The Great Catsby. We hadn’t seen Rich and Carol since Point Judith, Rhode Island and were excited to hear Rich hail us on the VHF to share that they’d arrived. We chatted for quite a while. Rich and Carol had lunch plans to celebrate Carol’s birthday. And so before parting ways once again we were introduced to their friends, Jerry and Kathy aboard sv/Windigo. Thanks to all for sharing seasick remedies with us. Now we are prepared for the great, rolling seas!

Back at Rode Trip we set sail and entered the Exuma Sound via Big Rock Cut. Brian and Mark set out the fishing line with hopes of catching a mahi-mahi. We had one bite, alas it was the one that got away. We soon arrived at Dotham Cut where we entered the Exuma Banks once again to anchor at Black Point.

Mark’s Survival Guide to Cruising Lesson 1: Get to Know Your Community

Brian and I had welcomed Mark aboard Rode Trip for a vacation unlike any other! He’d have the opportunity to haul sails, haul the anchor, haul the dinghy and outboard, spear our supper, fetch salt water, sweep the floors, hang the clothes, and all the while I’d be basking in the sun finally reading that book I’ve been hoping to start. Ahhhh…I love vacations!

Ok, so we didn’t put Mark to work…well not all the time. He was eager to learn and eager to help. Mark wanted to embrace the cruising lifestyle; a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Chicago. And so on day two of his vacation, we began our adventuring by first repairing the main sail. Because how else could we possibly adventure if we cannot sail!? And how best to repair the main sail but through the art of socialization. Let me explain.

Brian and I have met amazing cruisers along our travels. It is always exciting to get acquainted with new friends and always bittersweet to sail onward not knowing when or where our paths may cross again. While anchored between Big Majors Spot and Little Majors Spot, Brian and I spotted a familiar sailboat, Stormy Petrel. We’d last seen Ron and Kathy at Cumberland Island just after Thanksgiving. They’ve since traveled to Florida and through the Keys on their route to the Bahamas. Ron and Kathy visited Rode Trip for an impromptu reunion. I was thrilled to catch up with them! During our chat they offered us their sewing machine to repair our main sail; a huge relief since hand stitching would take hours and the main had some other areas in need of extra love. Ron and Kathy also suggested we meet the couple aboard the neighboring sailboat, Asante. “…they’re young,” they shared, “and heading south in your direction.” Fantastic!

And so when it came time to repair the main sail, Ron and Kathy were out and about. We had spare time but didn’t want to stray too far from the boat so that we could be ready to dinghy to Stormy Petrel when they returned. We spotted activity aboard Asante and thought it a good time to go and introduce ourselves. We were soon cozy in the cockpit of Asante getting acquainted with Scott, Brittany, and Isla. We felt good vibes instantly and even Mark felt right at home talking about familiar places in Chicago. We’d soon overextended our stay through lunch and had to get going to complete our repairs. Scott and Brittany offered us their sewing machine too! Talk about a great community passing it forward! We loaded the sewing machine into the dinghy as if it were as precious as gold, taking care to keep it dry and stable. Back at Rode Trip we set up shop and got to work.

Brian and Mark read through the instructions to thread the bobbin and the machine. Then we very carefully pushed our sail through to stitch the torn seams. Brian fashioned a patch to mend a tear and stitched along the leach of the sail which was also quite tattered.

20130318-003909.jpg

20130318-003922.jpg

20130318-003933.jpg

As we rigged our repaired main sail, we had a visit from Cliff. He was checking to see how our day was going as he and Brian had been comparing fishing notes. We’d been slowly getting acquainted with Cliff and Jennifer aboard sv/Kluane since we’d first introduced ourselves several weeks ago at Big Majors Spot. We were happy to see them again, thinking they had already headed north. After chatting and completely rigging the main Brian and Mark returned the sewing machine. Thanks, Asante! Brian and Mark rewarded their good work with a bit of swimming and snorkeling.

That evening we visited Stormy Petrel to thank Ron and Kathy for their offered sewing machine and explain the outcome of our afternoon. Ron parted with some extra track cars and gave them to us so that we could add them to our spare main sail. Thanks so much! We’ll be adding that project to our “after vacation” to-do list.

We dinghied to the west side of Big Majors Spot where we’d been invited to join our new friends at Pirate Beach. The campfire was already blazing when we arrived. We found another, more recent, familiar face. The crew of sv/Night Music, Nick and his wife, Stacy, and son, Ethan. We’d previously met Nick at Georgetown. We were also introduced to Patty and Fred. The community that keeps on growing! We so appreciate being part of the cruising community and enjoyed sharing this aspect of cruising with Mark.

Farewell, Piggies, It Has Been a Fabulous Visit!

We had quite the send-off on the final day of Bruce and Kathy’s visit. Still anchored snugly between Big Majors Spot and Little Majors Spot, we had already toured Thunderball Grotto and made our way back to The Barnyard (aka Pig Beach). This would be Mark’s introduction to the pigs and Bruce’s and Kathy’s farewell. We brought along our finest scraps; plantain peels, orange peels, and half-rotten carrots. The pigs came barreling down the beach at the sound of our dinghy motor.

20130317-155720.jpg
Our first attempt to get ashore didn’t go well. These pigs were HUNGRY! They cornered us in the dinghy, continuing to swim and squeal while Brian motored back and forth just ahead of them.

20130317-155847.jpg
Finally, Mark thought of a diversion. Brian motored just ahead of the pigs, turned toward shore, and we threw some scraps toward the beach. The pigs turned and were in hot pursuit of the scraps. Brian quickly motored in the opposite direction and got close enough to shore for Mark and I to jump out, run ashore, and dump the remaining scraps. Phew! We made it back to the dinghy just in the knick of time because the swimming pigs were still interested in us. Once they saw their friends eating, they headed back toward the beach

20130317-160351.jpg
Back at Rode Trip we had a light lunch and enjoyed the sunshine from the deck.

20130317-160820.jpg
Brian, Bruce, and Mark suited up for an afternoon of fishing.

20130317-160948.jpg

20130317-161008.jpg

20130317-161026.jpg
Success! The fishermen had returned with two lobsters, one welch, two glass eyed snappers, and one schoolmaster.

20130317-163739.jpg

20130317-163754.jpg
That evening we enjoyed one final beach excursion.

20130317-163855.jpg

20130317-164619.jpg
When we couldn’t hold-up the sun any longer…

20130317-164701.jpg
…we headed back to Rode Trip for sundowners and a delicious seafood feast.

20130317-164801.jpg

20130317-164842.jpg

20130317-164858.jpg

20130317-164950.jpg
Very early the following morning, Bruce and Kathy said goodbye (for now) and we all exchanged tremendous hugs. What a treat to have them aboard to share a little bit of paradise with a little bit of home.

20130317-165335.jpg