The Exumas were exactly what we’d imagined The Bahamas to look like – clear turquoise waters, lone palm trees in mere spits of sand, and bright white beaches stretching between rocky shores. Ahhhh. Time to get back on island time, don the snorkel gear, and explore.
The first cay (pronounced “key” for you landlubbers) near which we anchored was Allen Cay. In our charts and guidebooks, it boasted a huge population of Rock Iguanas, a species of iguana with a partially functioning third eye in the middle of the other two. Scientists are still not sure why this phenomenon has occurred, and it was one creature sighting we couldn’t miss. Unfortunately, the day we got into the narrow anchorage between
|Kids on beach Allen Cay|
|Allen Cay with Kids|
Highbourne Cay was our next brief stop. It is one of the few marinas in the northern islands, and has a beautiful bar. We walked through their little marina store, balking at the high prices – a box of Poptarts $8, canned veggies $5, and sunscreen $15 a bottle! A brutal lesson in supply and demand! Luckily, our provisions were still sufficient, so we wandered to the bar for a frozen sundowner. The kids sucked down their huge sugary slushies, while Mark and I enjoyed our Bahama Mama and Island Breeze.
|Sundowners at Highborne Cay Yacht Club|
|Sharks at Highborne Cay|
The following day we ventured onto the shore, to walk along the buildings that used to house Lehder’s men and to see the infamous airstrip. As we walked along the sandy roads, I told the kids about the “bad guys” that used to live here, bringing the history of the island to life. So much so that Michael started imagining seeing bullet holes and skeletons of bad guys within the brush along the road. He also saw tire tracks along the road and decided they must be from the “bad guys” trucks. We found an old abandoned home and climbed through the overgrowth to peek inside. Graffiti colored the walls, along with remnants of disco-inspired wallpaper motifs and olive green decorative bathroom tile. I have no idea who lived here or how long ago, but we just decided, again, that this must be where the ‘bad guys’ lived. The crumbling ceiling revealed a dark, spooky attic, and I felt a strange sense of being watched. Yeah, we were all haunted a bit by ‘bad guy’ imaginings, so we shuffled out of there quickly. Then we came upon the airstrip, which is apparently still used today. There was a small prop plane parked nearby and a construction company busily working. We walked the length of the runway, then headed back to the dingy, our minds reeling from the days history lesson.
|Norman Cay Hut Next to Airstrip|
|Michael Rowing Dink|
Here is a short video of our explorations of "Thunderball Grotto" - Staniel Cay.