After moving around to the anchorage at Big Major Spot from Little Major we were able to once again relax, spend time with friends and plan our next steps. Both Allure (Ken and Deanna) and Frizzanti (Suzanne and Michel) were waiting for visitors who were flying into nearby Staniel Cay so they expected to be around the area for a while. We planned to move north, with La Toison D’or (Claude and Marie) to see some more of the Exuma Cays, and especially the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, before making the long trip to Bimini and then across to Florida in early March.
Before we parted company, we had a celebration dinner of mahi mahi (from “Off the Grid – see previous blog) aboard T’ai Chi.
We were keen to snorkel the Thunderball Grotto before we left so on Tuesday February 19, at high slack tide (1 pm) we went over there with Ken and Deanna in their dinghy. The front had brought some cooler weather in – so while we were all still dressed in shorts and t-shirts, we were feeling a little chilly as we motored over to the largest of the three rocks in front of Staniel Cay, where we tied our dinghy .
As it turned out the water was warm and it was so worth doing that I did not feel in the least bit chilly. Other than a small sign on the rocks and one mooring ball for dinghies, there was no tourist info or unsightly development to mark the entrance to Thunderball Grotto – even though it was featured in two James Bond movies “Thunderball” and “Never Say Never Again”.
As soon as we got into the water we were surrounded by friendly fish – a school of Sergeant Majors. There was a small low-hanging gap in the rocks through which we entered the grotto – which opened up into a large cave, with sunlight pouring through holes in the top, and streaming in the water to highlight underwater caves.
The water was still and deep turquoise. Ken, Deanna, Steve and I had the place to ourselves so it was fun to explore. Check out our Thunderball grotto photos here – though not great quality they will provide a better idea of our experience than any description I can provide. Another very cool, enjoyable and uniquely Exuma experience.