Friday, July 21, 2017

Iguanas, Plane Wrecks, and Stingrays - Oh My! [Exumas]

The rest of our afternoons at Staniel Cay were spent jetting around keeping ourselves busy with other island activities. We'd heard about an island of iguanas called Bitter Guana Cay. It was a protected, unhabited spot where you could pull up, hop out, and feed the critters some snacks.

We jumped at the chance and sped off one drizzly morning on the short boat ride to the island. As we pulled up, we saw a few spots moving across the sand, so we grabbed our bag of grapes and hopped off to find a stick.

Instantly they came crawling, dragging themselves through the sand lazily as they started on the hunt for our food.

Some big, some small, but they came lumbering over at their own pace until the beach was covered. We popped some grapes and leftover lettuce on our sticks and started plunging the little spears toward the closest iguanas, trying to keep them at bay as they continued to creep forward.

We fed them until the masses got too many and we were just throwing handfuls of grapes to keep them at bay. Once that began, we quickly ran out of food to give, so we scampered back to the boat and jetted off in search of some snorkeling.

We'd heard about a sunken plane, one in shallow water just off Staniel Cay, so we pulled up near the rocks as instructed and threw out our anchor as we drifted up to the wreck.

Settled in shallow water, the plane is easy to dive and bursting with little fish, even with the water as rough as it was when we visited.

We snorkeled around for some time, hoping to see a nurse shark (which we suddenly and very uncharacteristically were infatuated wth after swimming with them at Compass Cay), but instead were shooed out of the water as a four foot barracuda parked itself nearby and stared us down.

Seeing as I'd just nicked myself on some of the wreckage from the plane and my arm was bleeding, I opted to take no chances and we headed back to the boat and to Thunderball Grotto.

The Grotto was used in the filming of James Bond's 'Thunderball' and 'Never Say Never Again'. After a near death experience the day before when we were pushed away from our boat and the grotto due to a racing current, we were hesitant to return, but adamant to have our experience.

We dove in ahead of the grotto and let the current push us right in to the entrance, plunging under the low hanging rock to enter the rich, quiet blues of the grotto.

Fish floated back and forth in the strong current, hovering right beneath our feet as we paddled ourselves around the grotto.

Pictures don't to the place justice, because it really was beautiful. There isn't much to do in the grotto, but it was somehow mystical and wonderful nonetheless.

We'd made a pact to be out in fifteen minutes so the boat could pick us up, so before long we were back in open waters and swimming to our vessel.

With a nearly empty tank of gas, we headed back to the island and picked up a few drinks before heading to the beach where I crafted a sandy cupholder for my daiquiri.

We snorkeled through minnows and over sea urchins before catching sight of a stingray.

It was the most gorgeous, graceful, and social creature. Wary to keep our distance, our efforts were quashed as it continued to swim after us.

After several minutes we parted ways and it headed back to it's little fish friend.

We snorkeled a bit longer before heading back to test our hand at paddleboarding.

It proved to be easier than expected, but a bit boring since we had to stick to our shallow cove. Eventually we gave it up in search of the sunset.

After the sun dipped low into the sea, we packed up the golf cart and headed home for dinner our last night, sad to be leaving paradise but eager for a change in menu (unforunately island dining is not particularly varied).

Until we meet again, Staniel Cay.


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