Pigs and James Bond

The light pouring in from above is what makes Thunderball Grotto so cool

After Emerald Rock, we continued heading south, stopping next at Staniel Cay. We didn’t get a slip or mooring over at the yacht club (again, NOT a yacht club but rather a marina with a restaurant/bar) but chose instead to anchor around the corner at a spot called Big Majors. It’s a huge anchorage and is always filled with yachts ranging from surprisingly little cruising sailboats all the way up to hundred-foot-plus motor yachts. And well out on the banks the REALLY big boys are visible: the megayachts belonging to the super-rich stay out where the water is deep enough for their battleship-sized toys.

On the beach at Big Majors is one of the many (in the Bahamas) pig beaches: beaches where pigs live and actually swim, and tourists come to feed them, pet them, swim with them. I opted out of actually going to the pig beach, but I did paddle past it a couple of times on my SUP. To be honest, I didn’t really feel the need to commune with barnyard critters…bacon, as it were.

But I did commune with folks at the bar at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club twice while anchored at Big Majors. The bar there was packed for happy hour but I still managed to nab a couple of beers, and I enjoyed two decent (if a bit overpriced) dinners.

The tunnels into the grotto itself are short, easy swims and well worth doing

The highlight of the visit to the area was another tourist trap: Thunderball Grotto, setting for a scene in the James Bond movie, “Thunderball.” I tied the dinghy up to a a little float alongside a small islet in the bay across from the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. I donned my snorkeling gear and plopped into the water. Once in there, you can see where there are a few little tunnels allowing access to an inner sanctum within the island: a grotto, as it were.

The light inside was stunning and the fish plentiful. I swam around a bunch, in and out of a couple of different entryways, and shot some video on my GoPro. It’s a lovely place and I highly recommend it, despite it now being no less a touristy spot than the pigs on the beach. See for yourself…it’s beautiful.