Big Majors Spot, Exumas, Bahamas
Position: 24 11.302N, 076 27.492W
Posted by Bill
Our window of really nice weather was coming to a close, so we left Georgetown on the 18th, early in the morning. We wanted to make the ocean leg of the trip in settled weather, and get somewhere by Sunday that would protect us from an impending front. This one is looking nasty again, another week of high winds, this time with winds from all directions over a 3-4 day period. There are not many places that you can hide in the Exumas from north or west winds, so we tried to pick the best spot based on the forecast. As we made our way up Elizabeth Harbor, approaching the cut to the ocean, we started to see huge swells pounding on the reefs just south of the cut. This action created 7-8 foot waves in the harbor at the entrance to the cut, something that we did not expect. We had a really rough time for about 20 minutes until we made it through the cut, where we found large ocean swells with a long wave period. We took the swells on the beam (side), which made a very uncomfortable passage, until further north the wind kicked in and we could get a sail up. Sails smooth the motion, but it was a long day of rolling back and forth. We came back into the Exuma Banks through Galliot Cut, and the current was ripping through the cut, fortunately in the direction we were traveling. We made almost 10 knots of speed through the cut, and as soon as we turned the corner inside, Mark announced on the radio that he blew the water pump on his engine. Fortunately, there was a known anchoring spot right next to us, and he had a spare, so we anchored. He replaced the pump in record time and we were on our way. Thank goodness he didn’t lose that pump in the cut!!!
The wind was very light on the banks and once again you could see everything on the bottom. This water was 15-20 feet deep:
We pulled into Big Majors Spot around 6 PM. Big Majors is the home of Pig Beach and the swimming pigs. Those of you who know Tricia, know that she loves pigs, and has been wanting to come here since we decided to take off and go cruising. The pigs roam the beach and adjacent area and everyone feeds them. They will even swim out to your dinghy sometimes as you come in to the beach. The other major attraction here is Thunderball Groto, the place where they filmed the underwater scenes for the James Bond movie Thunderball. You can snorkel the caves. There is a great bar on the adjacent Staniel Cay, called the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. There is fuel here, and lots of big mega-yachts come here and anchor to check out the attractions. There is also an airport where the mega-yachts fly their guests in and out.
The day after we arrived we went to Staniel Cay, had lunch and rum drinks at the yacht club, and walked around town.
Dinghy landing on Staniel Cay:
Staniel Cay Yacht Club:
Couple of grocery stores:
Beach of conch shells:
Then yesterday we started with a trip to Pig Beach. If you read the blog, you may remember us visiting a cay in the Abacos in the Bahamas called No Name Cay. They had pigs on a beach there, but it was not a pleasant experience as the pigs were nasty and bite, so we were a bit on guard as we approached this one. The pigs at Pig Beach were very tame. Tricia fed them table scraps and pieces of carrot. There were little baby pigs too. It was fun, and Tricia got to finally go to Pig Beach and feed the pigs!
Afterwards, we mixed some rum drinks and headed for Cruisers Beach to wallow. Cruisers beach is a small beach where cruisers over the years have built and/or left things to make the beach more like “home”. There are picnic tables, beach chairs, a fire pit, umbrellas, corn hole…you get the idea. We met some other couples that were partying there as well and a friend that we made at Shroud Cay, Rob on S/V Celebrian.
Then it was back to the boat for dinner. Last night the winds shifted and caused the boat to roll badly again. It made for a sleepless night.
Today, Mark ran his water maker, so I jugged water back and forth to our boat and prepped for the big winds that were forecasted to hit us early afternoon. The many weather models conflicted, some forecasting 40 knot winds and others winds in the low to mid 20s. It hit around 2:30 and made it rough to dinghy water, so we just hunkered down on the boat. So far we have good wave protection and the anchor is holding well. Tricia is making homemade gnocchi…yum! If the forecast pans out, we will likely be here until at least Thursday.