Staniel Cay–Part 2

by Megan on September 17, 2014

In order to really get out and explore all that the area around Staniel Cay has to offer, it is imperative that you have access to a boat.  Going into the vacation I understood this. I also knew that it was going to prove a little tricky due to the minor detail that neither myself nor Danny have ever actually driven a boat in our lives.

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No worries.  We were introduced to this great guy named Cliff who was happy to ferry us around for a couple of days.  On Thursday at 9:30 on the dot Cliff retrieved us  from the public dock which was practically right across the street from where we were staying.

Our first stop of the day was at Bitter Guana Cay.  This spot is home to an endangered species of rock iguanas. These guys were HUGE and not even a little bit shy.

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We didn’t stick around long because the next stop on our tour was Big Major Cay, home of the infamous swimming pigs!  As soon as our boat got within range the pigs came running out from wherever they hang out on the island and started swimming to the boat. It was hilarious.

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Once they made it to the boat we started throwing out scraps of food that the yacht club gives out to people who are going to the pig island.

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These pigs, they are not shy at all.  They kind of reminded me of my dogs when puppy cones are involved.  They grunted and squealed and put their little hooves on the side of the boat for leverage. 

The big spotted one in the above picture (that I appear to be having a stare down with) was a huge asshole.  She demanded food and when we tried throwing it to the other pigs (and piglets) she would get huffy, make this awful shrill noise and charge the others so she could have the food all to herself.  Basically, she was a lot like Gracie.

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I had planned on hopping off the boat to pet the piglets and take more pictures.  In a final act of defiance the spotted pig looked right into my eyes and… pooped in the water right in front of our boat.  I assume that this was her way of getting back at me for admonishing her for not sharing (and throwing food to the other pigs).

From Big Major we headed over to the Compass Cay Marina.  This place is home of the friendly sharks.  In the weeks leading up to our trip, I became really pumped about swimming with the sharks and was trying to get Danny onboard with how awesome it would be.

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I threw on my snorkel mask and hopped right in.  Danny was much less enthused.  I kept proclaiming “this is the coolest thing EVER” (because it was) but I could not convince him to hop in the water with me.  It was only after a significant amount of coaxing that I managed to get him to get close enough to snap a picture.

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The sharks were like dogs (except much more gentle than my two mutts).  They laid on the dock waiting to be rubbed and there were so many of them.  Once they got word that I was passing out head scratches more would find their way onto the dock.  Hanging out with these guys was the coolest thing I have ever done.

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Compass Cay also has a really great little beach area.  It had a couple of places for shade and, like everywhere else that we visited, it was totally deserted.  Not a bad place to spend a couple of hours.

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From Compass Cay we zoomed up to the Land and Sea Park, which I was excited to snorkel.  Unfortunately, a nasty storm blew through the area just as we were arriving and I was a little nervous about hopping in the water.  (Spoiler Alert: We made it back later in the week)

Since the Land and Sea Park was a bust, Cliff took us a few other places so that I could snorkel.  He also parked the boat at an amazing sandbar that seemed to pop up out of nowhere and go on forever.

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Our last stop of the day was Thunderball Grotto.  When I started researching Staniel Cay as a potential destination, the grotto kept popping up as a “must do.”  Everything that I read said that it was incredible but to make sure that you timed your trip so that you could go at low tide.  I was excited about the chance to see it but also really nervous. 

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Luckily, this trip was timed perfectly and there were several other people already there snorkeling.  That made it much less scary for me (especially because Danny had already made it clear that he was not interested in going in).

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Snorkeling in the cave was straight up insane.  The fish were going crazy because a few people had brought in food for them.  Everywhere I turned blew my mind.

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After swimming in and out of the cave a few times trying to convince Danny (to no avail) to put his gear on, I returned to the boat and we headed back to the dock to pick up our golf cart.  The details after this are a little fuzzy, so, I assume that we headed to the bar for margaritas.

Swimming pigs, friendly sharks, deserted beaches and snorkeling in a cave – from start to finish, this day was one of the best ever.

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Staniel Cay–Part One

by Megan on September 16, 2014

Years ago, I ran across an article somewhere about pigs that live on an island in the Bahamas and swim.  Ever since, I have had “see the swimming pigs” on my bucket list.

If I am being honest, at first, I was not 100% forthcoming with Danny regarding the details of this trip.  Staniel Cay doesn’t have a full size airstrip (or an airport), so, the only way that you can get down there is to take a prop plane.  Danny hates small planes and was less than enthused when I finally came clean to him about how we would have to get from the US to the island.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: So, FYI, we have to take a commuter plane to the swimming pig place.

Danny: You know how I feel about those planes. You are serious?

Me: Swimming pigs!

Danny: What is the safety rating of this company that flies down there?

Me: I don’t know – but, swimming pigs!

Danny: No.

Me: Fine, if you are going to kill my dream of seeing the swimming pigs, you can plan our vacation for yourself this year.

And that, friends, is how we found ourselves aboard this very small plane at approximately 7AM last Wednesday morning.

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The first leg of our flight was about an hour and took us into Chub Cay, where we cleared customs.   The descent onto the landing strip here was an experience.  Never in my life have I felt anything like the pressure build up and our ears were popping so much that it felt like our head was going to explode. 

Customs was a trip.  We arrived around 8:15AM and were told that the official hadn’t arrived to work yet. The house in this picture is the customs office.

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The flight from Chub to Staniel Cay was about another hour.  I amused myself by taking roughly a million pictures out of the window.  The view going down the island chain was ridiculous.

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As I mentioned, Staniel Cay does not have an airport.  The landing strip is surrounded by the water and whoever is picking you up arrives via golf cart. The colorful little hut in the picture below is where you wait for your ride.

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Most people that come to Staniel Cay stay at the yacht club.  For years I read  reviews and thought about pulling the trigger on a vacation there.  We wound up spending A LOT of time at the yacht club bar hanging out, but, stayed closer to the airport at a new place called Embrace Resort (that is still under construction).

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Our house came equipped with a kitchen (which I had stocked before we arrived with a few items), reliable wifi (which is important in my line of work) and cable tv (totally not necessary but a nice luxury to have).  We were also provided a golf cart to roam around the island and explore.

We spent most of our first day tooling around on the cart and getting the lay of the land.  Staniel Cay is small.  You can drive from one end of the island to the other in less than an hour.

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It didn’t take long before we found our way to the bar at the yacht club.  With margaritas in hand, vacation had officially arrived!

Up next – the swimming pigs!

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My Date with Justin Timberlake

by Megan on July 23, 2014

A few weeks ago (July 12th to be exact), I finally got the chance to cash in the Justin Timberlake concert tickets that Danny gifted me for Christmas.  It was pretty much the most face melting thing that I have ever witnessed.  I am actually just now getting around to writing about the show because I needed to give my brain a chance to recover from the explosion of awesome that happened that evening.

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Normally, I am not into big concert productions.  This one, however, was spectacular.  As soon as the countdown began and he made his big entrance to “Pusher Love Girl” (my favorite), any idea of playing it cool went out the window.  I entered full on fan girl mode.  God bless my husband for being such a good sport while I was screaming “JUSSSSSTTTIIIIIIN” and acting like a fool.

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He played for almost two and a half hours and please believe that I spent the majority of that time losing my shit.  We had pretty good seats but by the second song I decided that if I ever get the chance to see JT again, I will totally be spending an obscene amount of money to sit in the VIP section close to the stage.

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About halfway through the show, his stage moved across the venue and we were able to see him a little better.  He made his way to another VIP section and played a few songs – including “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis.  I have always been an Elvis fan, but, now I know how all those women back in the day felt once he started moving those hips around.

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Thank you to my Danny for the best Christmas present ever!  He was a trooper and said, “It was an entertaining light show and he is very talented…but it’s not my thing.”   Next time, I will bring one of my friends along instead.

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Savannah in 2.25 Days

May 1, 2014

Danny and I have been talking about making a trip to Savannah for over 2 years.  It kept getting put off because of things like working on a Master’s Degree, ruptured canine ACL’s and (of course) that pesky little thing known as work.  Sometime in February I noticed that my birthday fell on a Thursday.  [...]

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Groundhog Day

April 6, 2014

After Gracie was diagnosed with the ACL tear on her right leg we were told that about 50% of dogs who tear one ligament will have the other go within a year.  Obviously, we were hoping to beat the odds.  About a month ago at her wellness check-up, our vet told us that he felt [...]

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Iced In

January 31, 2014

Earlier this month I was lamenting to Danny about how the first quarter of the year always kind of sucks.  After the holidays going back to work is such a drag and there really isn’t anything to look forward to January-March in terms of holidays or time off from work.  Last weekend I started seeing [...]

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It’s Been Awhile

January 10, 2014

It has been awhile since my last post.  The main reason for that being that I broke my right hand the day before Thanksgiving which has made doing anything at all a huge production. How did I break my hand, you ask?  It was an unfortunate encounter with a treadmill at my gym.  Whomever had [...]

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Back to Paradise–Anguilla 2013

November 24, 2013

This time last week we were hanging out in Anguilla, probably a little tipsy on margaritas.  Today in North Carolina it turned frigid which has made looking at the photos from last week a little painful. Nevertheless, a quick recap of our trip to Anguilla (in bullet form): The above photo was taken on our [...]

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Gracie’s ACL Recovery – Weeks 7 and 8

October 27, 2013

I am a bit behind on these updates. We have officially surpassed the 8 week recovery period which is the time that requires the most limited activity. Our check up with the vet last Monday went well. He confirmed that everything looked good and gave us the go ahead to start gradually giving her back [...]

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Gracie’s ACL Recovery–Weeks 5 & 6

October 7, 2013

Since I dropped the ball last week on a Gracie update, this post is going to combine weeks 5 and 6 in the recovery.  Gracie is still doing really well.  The big news for Week 6 was that our therapist gave me the ok to start letting her do stairs (as long as we use [...]

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