Warderick to Staniel
03 January 2007 | Staniel Cay Yacht Club
Warderick to Staniel was another short 18 mile hop on the banks side. While the wind was very close on this leg we had enough angle to close haul it if we put in a few tacks. We ended up about 10 degrees or so West of track on the way down but it was nice sailing at about 9 knots in 15 knots true. We were chasing after another catamaran but each time we got ready to pass them they would tack, denying us the satisfaction. We passed a mono hull that was out pointing us but I think he got to the anchorage before us due to our short tacks at the end of the run. It was nice to sail. No engines, just the wind and the sails.
We decided to dock at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, if they had room, to make getting my sisters family setup for a return to Nassau easy. It was nice to be back in $0.80 per foot territory. The Big Major's Spot anchorage was our back up. Big Major's is a nice West Side anchorage with no current just across from the yacht club. We radioed Staniel about 5 miles out and fortunately they agreed to take us.
Side by Side hailed us on 16 as we approached the Big Major's spot anchorage. They were anchored right off of the Staniel Cay Yacht Club and gave us a heads up on the 2 foot sand bar stretching out right in front of the yacht club. The approach from the Sandy Cay waypoint at low tide was pretty exciting. I had Jessica and Pops on the Starboard and Port bows, respectively, reading the water. They were getting pretty good at it. We picked our way through the deeper channel running out to the cut amongst many very shoal areas. As we passed the yacht club the bottom went from 6 feet of water to 20 feet. We then did a 180 and came back in close to the fuel dock.
The marina wanted us to park on the inside starboard to with a nice sized motor yacht already tied up port to on the other half of the slip. The wind was blowing us off of the dock and onto the motor yacht and the slip was a deep pocket, typically housing four boats, two deep on the left and right side of the slip. Nothing like an adrenaline rush before you march to the bar for a Rum Punch to douse your nerves. I am getting better at docking this 50 by 26 foot monster but it is still a little stressful. The typical dock support in the Bahamas is also a bit lacking.
Staniel Cay is a neat place. The Yacht Club is the center of activity on the island and has a great bar and grill with breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are rooms and a few beach cottages available. Several locals will take you out for fishing snorkeling or whatever in the obligatory Boston Whaler or Carolina Skiff. In the afternoon you can watch the fishermen clean their catch on the dock and see all of the rays and nurse sharks snarfing up the leftovers.
I took a 10 minute walk over to the air strip and met up with Samantha who arranges passage on flights out of Staniel. In a matter of minutes I had my sisters family all set for departure on the 5th. It had been a while since I saw a paper ticket, much less a hand written one!
When I got back we rented golf carts and explored the island. There are three stores, all Mom and Pop. The general store has some hardware and a bit of groceries. The Pink and Blue stores have groceries only and everything is on the scarce side unless the mail boat has been by in the recent past. There is a very sheltered pond in the center of the island on the other side of the air strip that you can get into from the sound side with less than 6 foot of draft at high tide. The kids had a blast bouncing over the paved, dirt and rock roads.
The two other spots for food and drink are Happy People and Club Thunderball. Both were pretty sleepy compared to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Many charts and books show these two as actual marinas but I doubt you would find either appropriate for a cruising sailboat. Happy People does have a small dock for local Boston Whalers but that's it and Thunderball is pre-selling a bit as they only have the beginnings of a dock. Club Thunderball has moorings in a fairly strong current area but they look secure and the water there is deeper than most places in the area. We looked down on the full current coming through the cut from Club Thunderball and it reminded me of the Potomac River. Yikes.