Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Day on Staniel Cay

Okay, Folks, hold your horses.  We be on island time now.  Welcome to Staniel Cay!  The backbone of the Exuma Chain, this island has lots to offer.  Cruisers tend to visit repeatedly during a tour thru the cays, to take advantage of the many amenities here.

Number One:   The Staniel Cay Yacht Club bar and restaurant.  Especially during the lead-up, play-offs and final Superbowl hoopla, this is a rocking place to watch, lay bets and make merry while cheering for your favourite team.  Mega Yachts pull in here, discharge their well-heeled (in flip flops) clientelle and make the SCYC the place to see and be seen.                                                                Number Two:  The Batelco Tower.  Cell phone coverage, WiFi and general communications are good here.  Both from the Sound and the Bank as you approach the island, this is a welcome sight after days without news from home.
Number Three:  Isles General, The Blue Store and the Pink Store all get fresh provisions delivered from off island on a regular basis.  The early morning buz over the VHF radio is all about which day the Captian C arrives, the most welcomed boat to to the cay.  If you are new to the shopping experience here, you might make a list of what you want/need to reprovision.  The way it actually works is that you go and see what there is on offer and make your selections accordingly.  There is a one-room elementary school 0-8 here.  For  High School, pupils are sent to stay with Auntie in Nassau, if they go at all. 

Number Four:  St. Lukes Medical Clinic is staffed by an out-post public health nurse.  The major health issues for the native people of the islands is Diabetes and age-related issues.  Nurse Gray sees to the elderly who can not care for themselves.  For emeregency care in case of accident, there is Roy Leese, a paramedic/fireman from state-side who renders first response aide, preparing patients for airlift to the states or to Nassau, as individual cases require. 

Number Five:  The Graveyard.  Should the need arise, one could get buried here.  There is an annual Festival of the Dead when graves are cleaned up, flowers are bestowed and prayers are said.
Number Six:  Lots of entertainment, such as Thunderball Cave where one can snorkle and admire the colourful fish.  This is where James Bond found the enemy submarine base, which in reality is so small a row boat would barely fit inside.  So many people have been feeding the fish, luring them in for a close-up with the underwater cameras, that they have developed "attitude".    The gazillion little Sargent Majors throng divers as soon as they get in the water, bonking right into their face masks, demanding food.  

Some enterprising islander has populated the close-by cay of Big Majors with ferral pigs.  The cruisers dump their wet garbage just off shore and those wee-little piggies (weighing over 300 pounds) come galloping across the sand and swim out for lunch.  This is a win-win situation all round:  the islander gets fattened pigs for slaugher, the pigs are thrilled with easy pickings and the sentimental/silly cruisers get huge delight out of interacting with piggies.  It might be urban legend, but there are reports of pigs biting people, crawling into, puncturing and even dumping dingies.  Ignorance is bliss.

The Happy People Bar and Grill is a favorite spot for imbibing, I am told, although on my many visits here, I have yet to find them open for buisness.  Since my last visit, there have been some improvements on the outside that make for pretty pictures if one angles the camera just right.  Buz says I am romaticizing the life here.  Well, would you like to see the poverty?  This is a third world country and there is the ugly side of things here.  It is't really the thing to do, shoving a camera into places even the locals are not proud of.  Still, even the garbage dump in the harbour has its pretty side. Conch is a food staple in the Bahamas, but there is a problem of what to do with the inedible parts.  Time and tide take care of things over decades, a very long, slow process.  In the interim, there are designated dumping sites set aside, usually out of the eye of tourists.

All for today.We'll look for shade and a cool drink, take a swim, walk the beach and think of you until next time.  Love and Kisses.

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