Touring the Magnificent Exuma Cays

I’m not even sure where to start with my day but perhaps I will break it into a few parts as to not overwhelm you with too much vicarious excitement in one blog post.  The day started at 7:30 when we had to meet the bus for the Four C’s Exuma Cays tour at Exuma Markets (the grocery store) which was just right down the road.  Capt. Smiley greeted us and a few others, we hopped into the freezing ass cold bus, and slowly made our way to the Four C’s dock in Barre Tarre, waaaaaaaaaaay up on the north end of the island.  Or to the locals, the east end.  Remember the island is diagonal so technically both are accurate.   It took about an hour and a half to get there as we had to make a few more pickups at local hotels.  

We arrived at some random house and our instructions were to walk to the brown door and check in, then he’ll take us one minute away to the dock.  I try to be the first off the bus and in line because that’s just how I roll.  We open the brown door and a lady is sitting at a desk in small room.    Just a lady and desk.  Nothing else.  No signs, no furniture, no art on the walls, nothing.  Just a lady and a desk.  She informed us that the credit card machine was down but did not tell us how that what that meant in terms of a solutions.  As it turns out, she had to run our credit cards the old fashion way with the credit card slips.  That was going to make for a slow morning since she was already a slow mover to begin with.  But so is everyone in the Bahamas.  There is no rush here to do anything.  I like that but it sure takes getting used to.  I think I’ve graduated to that mode already since I’ve been here.  Winning!  After about 45 minutes, she finally checked in all 15 of us and we proceeded to the dock and hopped on board the Four C’s boat.

We got a quick introduction from Capt. Andrew Clarke and pushed away from the dock.  Andrew engaged with the group, poked fun at some, wished Kerry a happy birthday (and then subsequently made us sing happy birthday to her), covered a few safety items, and we gunned it for the first stop.  I won’t even bother describing the various colors of the water, the sandbars, and the pure bliss to be experienced on a boat here.  Just look at all the pics on Facebook.  As we made our way to the first stop, Thunderball Grotto, he took us by a few celebrity homes like Tim McGraw/Faith Hill, David Copperfield, etc. and then suddenly Andrew jumped in the water.  He asked Smiley to throw him snorkel gear and he started frantically snorkeling around the boat.  No one had a clue why and we all just sat there awkwardly silent.  I suspected he was going to pop up with a starfish or something but even more awkward time went by.  For about 15 minutes, he snorkeled around the boat while we patiently, then impatiently, waited for him to pull a rabbit out of a hat or something.  Someone finally asked what he was looking for and Smiley said we lost the oil cap to the motor.  Doh!  That’s not good! Apparently, when we were flying past some of the islands, the cap came loose, spilled out all the engine oil and then right when Andrew noticed it, the cap fell in the water.  Well shit, this was going to be fun!

They pulled the boat to the closest island they could see with human life which happened to be owned by the Johnson and Johnson family.  One of their buddies just happened to be on the shore working on the lawn mower when we pulled up.  He and Andrew exchanged some Bahamian talk which I could barely understand and the guy told us to meet him at the dock.  So we pulled the boat into their private marina and Andrew and the guy hop on a golf cart and head for some oil.  Ok these details are probably boring you to death so I will get more macro with the story.  The dude on the island gives us two quarts of oil but it’s not enough.  We have to go allllllll the way back to Four C’s dock to get more.  This loses us an hour and a half of our tour time.  At this point people are a little irritated.  Actually, a lot irritated.  But shit happens and there’s really nothing we could do about it so I was fine with it.  Plus I’m living the island life right now.

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The random guy on the Johnson and Johnson island that got us some oil.

We get the oil we need (and a cap I assume) and head for Thunderball Grotto for what seemed like a century of time.  Finally we get to snorkel!  I throw on my snorkel gear and jump in.  It.  Was.  Amazing.  This was my second time here but I don’t remember being so enthralled with it.  A James Bond movie was filmed at this location in 1963.  It is a cave formation in and over the water teeming with fish of all shapes and sizes.  You can also jump through the cave top hole into the water.  I wanted to but didn’t have the motivation at the time.  I was too busy taking snorkeling selfies.  🙂

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A pic of the bottom of the grotto.

We spent about an hour there and every minute was pure awesomeness.  No one wanted to leave except a few that were DYING to see the swimming pigs.  We all hopped back in our self-assigned spots and take off for the pigs.  If you’ve never heard of the swimming pigs, I’ll fill you in.  I don’t know the history behind it (I did at one point but I forget), but there are a group of pigs that live on this uninhabited island.  The tour boats come by everyday with tourists and feed them.  Over the years, they have developed a Pavlov’s dog type of behavior and now anytime they hear boat engines, they run from the bushes, then swim out to the boat for food.  Swimming with them is safe but bear in mind they are wild animals so they can still be dangerous.  Especially if you get in front of their paddling hooves.  Are they called hooves?  Or feet?  Ok feet I think.  I don’t know but you know what I mean.  One scrape of those on your skin would be awful.  They also have enormous teeth and have been known to bite a few people that are taunting them.  So I don’t recommend taking pig selfies.  But I did anyway!!! How could I not!!!???  They are just too funny.

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1 of 134 pig selfies.

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Another pig selfie

Next stop was an enormous sandbar that we got to frolic on.  Many ridiculous self-doting pictures were taken and it was a grand time.  We found a baby sand dollar, a baby starfish, and a baby octopus.  It was baby everything at this joint.  Not too much to say about the sandbar but we quickly moved on to see the nurse sharks at Compass Cay.  You could pay $10 to swim with them but I’ve already done that and it’s anti-climactic so I declined this time.  Instead, I just filmed them swimming around and under the boat.  Next stop was lunch!  We were already an hour and a half behind schedule so it was 3:00 by now and we were STARVING.  We boated over to a random restaurant called Lorraine’s on Black Point Cay and were welcomed with a Bahamian buffet.  I seriously ate my weight in food, went back for seconds, and then ate Kerry’s food off her plate.  I was ravenous….

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Sandbars for days.

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Lorraine’s delicious buffet. Authentic Bahamian food.

Rosemary is on the porch and caught my attention so I gotta run.  I will blog the rest at some point today or tomorrow!  Check Facebook for many more pics.  Stay tuned!

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