Cambridge Cay and Staniel Cay

Consort moored at Cambridge Cay
Consort moored at Cambridge Cay

 

Blue fish - I love these little guys!
Blue fish – I love these little guys!

We arrived Cambridge Cay without much fuss and right on schedule with the tides, so there was zero drama getting through the cut there. We picked up a mooring, and within minutes a park ranger came by to check on us. I guess he decided we were on the up and up, because he smiled and said he’d see us later. Nice security, and surprising, considering the remoteness of the place.

Cambridge Cay is one of those places that connoisseurs of the Bahamas hold dear, and it did not disappoint. The snorkeling was perfect. The anchorage was calm. Hiking over to Bell Rock (and up it) was a great time!

The first thing I wanted to see were the partially submerged caves called Rocky

Alan at Rocky Dundas
Alan at Rocky Dundas

Dundas. These caves had spiritual significance for the Lucayans, and that is enough to interest me. Add in the fact that you get to snorkel into them, and I’m already there! The caves are very interesting inside, with stalactites and formations carved by wave action, but just as amazing is the huge variety of fish and coral surrounding them. One elkhorn coral just outside the cave entrance is easily six feet across. Amazing!

 

We also particularly enjoyed the reef called “Tom’s Elkhorn”. As you would expect, it is a forest of elkhorn coral, but it is much more than that. We also saw this amazing brain coral that is at least three feet in diameter. For those of you who think I’ve lost my brain: I found it! Here it is:

Stunning brain coral - huge!
Stunning brain coral – huge!

Speaking of losing my brain, we came across this black tip reef shark.

Little Black Tip Shark
Little Black Tip Shark

He’s about three and a half to four feet long. Alan followed along, filming him, for fifteen minutes or so, until I pointed out that he was coming dangerously close to harassing an apex predator. (Mom, don’t worry. A shark this size is too small to brave coming close to an adult. I promise!)

The next morning we decided to hike over the island and see if we could climb Bell Rock. Um….It looked pretty much straight up to me, but Alan made me climb it anyway. I tried to explain that I wasn’t worried about climbing up, it’s the climbing down that gets you, but he wasn’t having any of that, so up we went. The view from the top really was worth it, so I guess I owe him. Sort of.

Bell Rock Face
Bell Rock Face

The constant pounding from Atlantic waves make for some gorgeous formations, and we got a nice photo of Consort on her mooring.

After a couple of days, we took off for Staniel Cay, which I’ve heard quite a lot about. It turned out not to be much to our taste, but Thunderball Grotto was cool, and we met Laurie and Bill from m/v Magnificent Dolls, and enjoyed a party on the beach with them, their guests, friends, and kids. We also met Zach and Jessica on Monarch there; they proceeded to teach us how to spearfish. We traveled in their company for several more stops, and hope to see them again someday. I’m sure we will, because it’s a really small world! You can’t get away with anything! But that doesn’t stop us from trying!

Bell Rock Formation
Bell Rock Formation
Love this formation - looks kind of "dragon-ish".
Love this formation – looks kind of “dragon-ish”.
Alan freediving at Rocky Dundas
Alan freediving at Rocky Dundas
Cheri in Thunderball Grotto
Cheri in Thunderball Grotto
Gorgeous Elkhorn Coral - about 6' across.
Gorgeous Elkhorn Coral – about 6′ across.
Inside Rocky Dundas
Inside Rocky Dundas
Loads of fish! But they're protected here, so no fishing.
Loads of fish! But they’re protected here, so no fishing.
Napping Nurse Shark - a pretty big one!
Napping Nurse Shark – a pretty big one!
Parrot Fish - One day I'll get a shot that shows how pretty they really are...
Parrot Fish – One day I’ll get a shot that shows how pretty they really are…
Tandem Rays.
Tandem Rays.
Roof of Thunderball Grotto
Roof of Thunderball Grotto
Spearfishing with Zach and Jessica from s/v Monarch at Staniel Cay.
Spearfishing with Zach and Jessica from s/v Monarch at Staniel Cay.

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