The Majors (pig beach)
The storm and its winds continue, but the direction is shifting rapidly to the southeast, where we don’t really have any protection from the island we’ve been snugged up next to for the last few days. Luckily, theres a great option just a few minutes motor from here (all part of why we chose this spot to begin with) and we decide that its time to go tuck in with those other boats whose masts we’ve been watching sway over the last few days. We honestly don’t know why they’ve been in there fighting it out for those high winds, but who are we to ask why.
We look at the two possible routes to get inside the bay and while our chart suggests going all the way around the island and coming in from the back side, we trust our neighboring sailor who assures us that out boat will fit through what looks to be an all-too-narrow cut next to the resort at Fowl Cay. We’ve only got a few hours where the winds drop ever so slightly as they shift direction so we raise anchor, spin the boat around and right at high tide squueeeze through the cut into the other anchorage. As we get closer the cut looks smaller and smaller…from any vantage point on the boat it appears we will only make it by inches, but we had been assured the sides are cut deep and proceeded on through.
It was absolutely fine… but didn’t stop us from taking a deep breath in as we passed through (as if that would help make the cut any wider/deeper). ;)
Once inside we pick out our spot (once again snugged up as close as possible without risking hitting the rocks if the winds should shift) and drop anchor among the other boats here. This time we decide to only drop one but leave the second anchor on deck ready if needed. It’s already nice and calm even compared to our quick trip inside and we settle in to what we know will be a few more days. As the day moves on and the winds pick back up we can’t help but be amazed at just how calm things are on our protected side when the waves on the other side (and back at the bay we literally just left) are crashing white water 10-20’ high over the rocks.
There are easily dozens of boats around us (by the end of our stay we count well over 50), as this is the anchorage that boats come hang out at while they go ashore to tour “Pig Beach”. There are various theories about how these pigs got here, but one thing that is for certain is just how famous they have become and how many tour boats (and float planes) come and go each day bringing the tourists in droves to take a selfie with the swimming pigs.
We clearly would never have chosen this anchorage as a perfect spot on a calm day… but with the force of the winds blowing around us we’re thrilled to be tucked in here safely with the masses. I guess many, many boats hang out here all season as they can get to supplies by dinghy, can visit the pigs as often as they like and get to know the gathering of boats around them. There’s even access to beaches already “agreed upon” to be used for specific purposes. “Dog beach” is very clearly for people to walk their dogs, while “cruisers beach” or “party beach” is setup with Adirondack chairs, some swings and a cornhole set and is where the crew of just about every boat in the harbor dinghies ashore to have a happy hour drink with the other boaters.
We have been almost 3 weeks without resupplying food, but somehow Jen keeps making magic and we use the middle of the day to head out and snorkel just between our boat and the rocky wall of the island saving us from the waves. We assume it won’t be much of a snorkel because despite having dozens of boats around us nobody seems to be getting in the water, and seeing what a popular spot it is we just assume any coral has been destroyed or overfished.
Quite the contrary, while the visibility wasn’t great because of the storm the coral is fine and the underwater life was pretty good. Saw a few rays, some of the biggest pufferfish we’ve ever seen and several schools of snapper. We made out pretty well and swim back to the boat with both a grouper and a slipper lobster (actually had to send Jen back to the boat to make sure we even knew what a slipper lobster was, much less that it was edible before coaxing it into our net). =)
Back at the boat we pour a sunsetter cocktail, enjoy the entertainment as dozens of dinghies swarm past us to the beach right before sunset. We discuss briefly going over to be social, but as typical decide wer’e happy hanging out on the boat with Karma and set about cooking up and enjoying our feast. The fish was a very welcome meal and the slipper lobster was incredible… as sweet and flavorful as scallops!!
Only after cleaning the catch and enjoying dinner did we see the movement off the back of the boat. First one, then 2, and finally 4 nurse sharks gathered around our boat looking for the scraps we had just thrown over. What a great chance to see these beauties and for our money… a WAY better experience to watch them in their natural habitat rather then paying to go see them beg over scraps with screaming tourists!
That night put on a show of its own as well. We had been reading about the incredible “blood wolf full moon” but just assumed with the storm we wouldnt get a chance to witness the event. We had set an alarm to check but actually turned it off after seeing how thick the cloud cover was late in the evening. Luckily Jen woke up in the middle of the night and went up on deck to check and sure enough - the clouds had parted just enough for us to witness the last half an hour or so of the eclipse.
Very, very cool.
Once the Storm and winds started dying back down and the winds shifting again we quickly pulled up anchor to slip back through the cut and took our spot just off N Gaulin again. The same general location but better protection and only a 2-3 other boats around us. As it turns out, all those boat are good friends of Ian’s who all brought their kites and are gathering to take advantage of the winds. We somehow happened into the their “normal” spot and can see why. The waters around here are amazing, plenty of options for shelter depending on which way the winds are turning, and tons of opportunity for snorkeling all around via dinghy!!