Staniel Cay, Black Point Settlement and Rudder Cut Cay

Another stunning Bahamas sunset, this one from the bar (literally) at the Black Point Yacht Club

A couple of days at Big Majors/Staniel Cay were sufficient, so off we went, still pushing southward. There was one pang of regret, though: as we were motoring out Big Majors, two kiteboarders were racing over the waters at Sandy Cay, a small island that sort-of forms the northwest corner of the anchorage. ARGH! If I’d stayed longer I could have dinghied over to the beach on Sandy, rigged up and gotten my ass back into gear. But no, we were off on the next adventure—and to be honest, I’ve been so focused on getting down to George Town that even though I’ve been falling deeper into cruiser mode, I still have a bit of delivery mode going on in my brain: gotta get there! Ugh.

Our next destination was just a few miles down the Exuma chain: Black Point Settlement. But along the way, we stopped at Bitter Guana Cay, home to a bunch of protected iguanas. Like the pigs, the lizards are habituated to humans so they come down to the shore looking for handouts.It’s pretty cool to see them all just hanging out on the beach, but…okay. Been there, done that.

Hangin’ with the locals on Bitter Guana Cay

From there, it was around the corner to Black Point, which was billed as a less hoity-toity settlement than Staniel Cay. And it was: if Staniel Cay was all yachties and tourists, Black Point is an actual village where real people live. In fact, many of the residents of Black Point Settlement work at Staniel Cay; they boat over in the morning and back in the evening.

An additional enticement to Black Point revealed itself as we approached: an announcement came over the VHF radio letting everyone know that since it was Tuesday, there would be a happy hour from 4-7 p.m. at the Black Point Yacht Club (this one was not even a marina, let alone a yacht club; just a nice bar/restaurant with a dock). Bingo! The evening’s entertainment had been determined. And entertaining it was…

But first things first. After dropping the anchor we dinghied in to the government dock and tossed our garbage (for a fee, of course) and then walked the street towards the heart of “town,” such as it was. There was a decent, though small, market, a couple of churches, a laundromat that has been proclaimed “the best laundromat in the Caribbean” (never mind that the Bahamas are in the Atlantic and not the Caribbean, but I digress) and then the High Tide Cafe/Lorraine’s and the Black Point Yacht Club.

We bellied up to the bar at the latter establishment and ordered. I quickly ran back to the dinghy and brought it over to the Black Point YC’s dock, which required climbing up a ladder a good seven or eight feet. NOT for the faint of heart. I re-bellied up to the bar…and proceeded to make good work of the happy hour deal of two-for-one rum punches. I also ordered a pork chop for dinner—tasty, but it took an hour-plus which enabled me to get REALLY happy at happy hour. Let’s just say that when I drove the dinghy back to the boat, it took a little while to find Further among all the anchored vessels. Thank goodness the U.S. Coast Guard wasn’t around.

But all’s well that ends well and then next day we made a couple of trips to the free, public water spigot to refill (mostly) our water tanks. And then, given that we were into daylight savings, I made the decision to make a late-afternoon hop down the path a ways. I had hoped to make it to Big Galliot Cay, where we could anchor behind the island with easy access to Exuma Sound in the morning. But nerves interrupted my plan when clouds obscured the sun making it difficult to read the water as the tide was dropping, so rather than risk running aground we diverted to the Oven Rock anchorage on Big Guana Cay, the same (long) island that is home to Black Point Settlement.

Which ended up being a good call. The following day, a hike to the sound-side of the island revealed a cave that, with a guide, can be scuba dived. And we also did another snorkel around Oven Rock itself. We didn’t see a whole lot but it’s always good to get into the water. And we still managed to hit the road before noon.

Wonder what she’s thinking…

We exited the banks-side of the island chain at Galliot Cut and turned right (starboard), continuing our southward progress. A few cuts south, we went through Rudder Cut and re-entered the banks side, turning north immediately after passing the island to starboard and motoring up a mile or so, where we dropped the anchor in a nice little bight with a sandy beach (off-limits; more on that in second) and a cave. But the real appeal of the area is that just south of where we were anchored, the famous illusionist David Copperfield, placed a sculpture of a mermaid and a piano in about twenty feet of water. Rudder Cut Cay, the island, is owned by Copperfield (I guess he owns more than one Bahamian island) and it is for that reason that the nice, sandy beach by our anchorage was off-limits. Guess we gave something (beach access) to get something (an underwater piano).

The current rips through that area and given that we didn’t have a lot of time, we hopped into the water and fought our way to the sculpture. It’s kinda cool: just sorta sits there on this expanse of white sand. There are a few fish around, though I saw more (puffer fish, barracuda, some conch large enough to take, though I didn’t) on the swim in and out.

This guy got a little pushy. Good thing I’m bigger than he is

In fact, it was on the swim back to the boat, when I went to check out how the anchor had set into the sea floor, that a very pushy barracuda started following me around. He wasn’t big enough to be a worry but the looks on the faces of barracuda is still enough to give one pause. And then just as I was reaching the ladder to climb back aboard Further, a nurse shark swung by to check things out. Nurse sharks are beautiful and completely harmless, but there’s still something about that shape, the way they glide through the water, that just gets to the base of our lizard brain. You know you’re safe, but still…it IS a shark.

Another inquisitive critter checking out Further’s anchoring job

Yet another superlative sunset from aboard Further segued into a beautiful, starry night. And in the morning, it was off to George Town.


Previous article

Pigs and James Bond

Next article

I Made It