. The Headquarters had some information about the park with a gift shop with lots of books and various souvenirs for sale. There were kayaks there for guests to use, and constructed on the beach were the partial remains of a 52-foot whale that had died due to ingesting plastics. It was pretty remarkable. We also saw some information about a New Year’s Eve happy hour on the beach tonight followed by a New Year’s Day potluck tomorrow. We discussed the options on our way back to the dinghy - we could stick around and celebrate with the ten or fifteen boats in the mooring fields, or we could get a move on and make it down to Staniel Cay. While the happy hour, I’m sure, would have been a good time, Staniel Cay sounds like a place that loves boaters and would have some fun stuff going on. We decided to load up the dinghy and get a move on. We motored out and were quickly able to turn down the string of islands to start sailing. And it was a pretty nice sail. We had plenty of wind and were making good time, heeled over the entire way. We’re kind of enjoying having these days where the transit doesn’t have to take up the whole day - after all those long days motoring the ICW, we really enjoy being able to get in some exploring and not just be on the go all of the daylight hours. We had no trouble making it to Staniel before sunset, and, like yesterday, we were able to tack our way into the anchorage and sail onto the hook. Caleb and I are finding that, conditions permitting, this is one of Pete’s favorite activities as it adds a fun challenging element - anyone can just motor up to a mooring and grab the pennant or idle into the anchorage spot, but sailing on makes it a bit more fun. Plus, we figure it’s good practice in case we ever had a motor malfunction and had
to sail into position. Staniel Cay is beautiful. And it is clearly popular. Big Majors Spot, the island immediately to the north, has a calm anchorage on its western side, and we could see that it was absolutely packed on our way in. As the 1.5-mile dinghy ride into town from there doesn’t sound all too appealing, we opted to make our way in a bit closer. We are anchored just behind Thunderball Grotto James Bond fame - it is the cave from the 007 movie Club Thunderball
where there is apparently a huge underwater fight sequence. The top of the cave is said to have gaps in it so that the sunshine streaks through the water into the cave, illuminating the fish and all else there is to see. Hopefully we’ll be able to check it out. As it is New Year’s Eve, the boys have taken the dinghy into town to see about grabbing a bottle of some sort to make up some tasty adult beverages. As Caleb is officially legal in the this country, we’ll make him buy - it’ll be a fun, new experience for him. While they run that errand I’m just putting together some enchiladas, figuring out the best way to bake them while lacking an oven. Tonight, we’ll head in and see where the party is for some New Year’s Eve shenanigans.
We had a restful night while on our mooring at the Exuma Land and Sea Park and woke up to a beautiful day. I stuffed the boys full of pancakes before taking a nice morning swim in the sunshine. There was a raft on the mooring next to ours, so I was able to have a little sunbathe to start the day. After a while, Pete and Caleb came over in the dinghy, and we went to a beach a bit to the north to hike into the Park Headquarters. Pete knew that his Locals flip flops were on their last leg (the heels are almost ready to break through), so he decided to take on this adventure barefoot...but let me tell you, walking on these reefs is a sturdy shoe endeavor. The surface is just covered with jutting pieces of the rock - I believe Pete’s words were that it was “ideal for walking barefoot...and by ideal I mean ideally terrible.” The Headquarters was interesting, with a beautiful view of the Northern Mooring Field - it basically makes a horseshoe around the sandbars and the different colors of the water were just awesome