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Senior Correspondent

First let me set the scene. We’ve found our place in the sun. Staniel Cay, Exumas. The water is every shade of blue and green. The docks at the Yacht Club and the anchorage are filled with boats, power and sail of all sizes. Staniel Cay Yacht Club is at the end of the dock and anytime of day is full of people swapping stories, telling lies. I don’t know what your image of a Yacht Club is, but this one is funky, colorful and noisy. And the food is great.

The other thing special about Staniel Cay is, this small island has a working settlement with some of the best boat builders in the Bahamas. So, unlike Sampson Cay, it is more than a marina. We will skip Sampson next time, this is much more to our liking.

There are some interesting things to do here, not found elsewhere. First a visit to Thunderball Grotto, where parts of two James Bond movies, Thunderball and Never Say Never were filmed.

You can swim in at low tide which we did. I couldn’t figure out how to keep my camera dry, so no photos  inside. This grotto, or cave, is open to the sky and the sun filters down and lights up the fish-filled water. It is definitely worth a trip.

Then on to the beach at Big Major, another uninhabited island close by. This one is known for the swimming pigs. There are various stories how the pigs got here, but the point is, they are there and have learned that folks in dingys bring food. If you don’t go to them, they swim out to you.

They are BIG and friendly. I don’t recommend petting them though I did try!

However, we also learned these pigs support themselves by stealing. We pulled out dingy up on shore and while talking to other pig-feeders, one of the sows stuck her head in our dingy and promptly tried to take off with our red plastic gas can! Had she chomped through it, we would have no gas for the outboard and might have had to row back to the marina, and she would have had a most unpleasant taste experience. I ran and shouted and she dropped the goods-but I didn’t get a picture.

I did get this one, when she then tried to climb into the dingy to steal our duffel, or maybe to have another go for the gas can. Ed was very afraid her hoofs would puncture our very flimsy rubber dingy but we got her off in time and saved our dingy for the next adventure.

Here we will stay for another few days. It’s hard to want to head home to the cold.

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