DAY 78 | March 21, 2022
Warderick Wells to Staniel Cay, Exuma Cays, Bahamas
I'm continuing to play "catch up" on my blog from KORKZcrew's adventures in the Exuma Cays last spring. Please bear with me as there'll continue to be posts "from the past" that chronicle our journeys through early May 2022. Ron began "Round 2" of KORKZcrew's Bahamian adventures on 11.5.22. He's guest posting until I join him in December. You can find his blog posts beginning here. For more "real time" updates, follow me on Instagram here. I typically post current news about KORKZcrew in my Stories.
KORKZcrew is the blue dot on the map, on her way to Staniel Cay.
Woke up this morning at Warderick Wells to see this large ship anchored nearby, which turns out to be a super cool expedition vessel called the Sea Lion, operated by National Geographic. At first I thought it was a research vessel, but quickly learned that National Geographic actually offers a variety of expeditions for travelers looking for adventure-based vacations. Their ships take people on cruises all over the world, from Asia to Europe to Australia, South America, and even the polar regions. The trips they describe on their website sound like extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
Even Steve was bowing down in deference!
From the NatGeo website:
“Accommodating just 62 guests in 31 outside cabins, the National Geographic Sea Lion is large enough to operate in remote environments in comfort, yet small enough to enter ports and inlets inaccessible to bigger ships. The ship carries sea kayaks and a fleet of expedition landing crafts, providing easy access to coastlines and other places of interest. All cabins have windows and are attractively and comfortably furnished with lower berths, private bathrooms, reading lights, and individual climate control.”
The Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park must have been on their itinerary, and who could blame them!
KORKZcrew made her way to Staniel Cay around 9:00 this morning, which was an easy 2.5 hour trip in decent conditions, with more super yacht sightings along the way.
After anchoring near the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, we straightened up the boat and jumped in the dinghy for a short ride over to eat lunch at the club's restaurant.
The Yacht Club restaurant has the most appealing low-key atmosphere, awesome food, and was even the gathering spot for the crew of James Bond's "Thunderball" back in 1964. At the bar, you can find this picture on the wall, sadly missing Sean Connery, but still . . . super cool:
There's a nearby grotto which was also featured in the film, now named for the film, and it happens to be an AMAZING place to snorkel. Don't miss the opportunity if it presents itself!!
After lunch, we dinghied over to the airport where Skeet went to find out if it there was anywhere on the island that could help us extend our Bahamian cruiser's permit. Ron bought a 3-month permit for us in January, when we originally checked into the country, and in hindsight wished he'd bought the one-year. It turns out that if you plan to stay in the Bahamas any longer than three months, you automatically have to purchase the one-year permit, and we're planning to stay through the end of April.
Heading to the airport from Staniel Cay Yacht Club Restaurant
While the Bahamas' website and another cruisers' website say that Staniel is a Customs check-in point, I don’t think in reality that it is. The airport told Skeet that the closest check-in points were in George Town or Nassau.
Returning to KORKZcrew from the Staniel Cay airport
When we returned to KORKZcrew, Ron let his fingers do the walking on Google, and found a resource on the Bahamas government website where you can use a customs broker to facilitate things like extending your cruiser's permit. He just picked one of them from the site's list and went from there. The broker communicated with him through a messaging app called WhatsApp, which seems to be the preferred tool for calling and texting with businesses in the Bahamas. The broker was in George Town, and when she learned where we were located, told us she had a contact in Staniel who happened to be at the dock. Miraculously, he was getting ready to go to George Town, and she told us if we could just get the necessary paperwork to him, she'd be sure it was delivered and take care of it from there. We first made a copy of the paperwork, then put the customs document and her fee of $50 in an envelope and zipped it up in a plastic bag because the bottom was about to drop out of the sky. Ron dinghied over to the dock, found the guy with no trouble, and off to George Town our paperwork went. If this pans out, it will have saved us a bunch in time and in fuel. If not, that might be the easiest fifty bucks someone has ever made. And we would once again prove that we are among the easiest people to sucker on planet earth. 😳🙄 I'm still optimistic this whole operation is legit, because, well, what else can I do but hope for the best.
This afternoon a squall came through, and after the rain stopped, we had winds of 19 knots gusting to 25. Steve took it all in stride of course, but only because he's the best dog in the whole wide world. Objectively speaking, of course.
2.5 hours underway; 16.3 nautical miles traveled
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