Staniel Cay is part of the Exumas chain of the Bahamas. The short 3000 foot runway is no problem for the King Air even loaded with passengers and baggage. Since Customs is not on the island a stop in Nassau is required.
Staniel is famous because the James Bond movie, Thunderball, has a scene which was shot in a grotto just off the island. Its very easy to snorkel into the grotto. Lots of fish to watch and a very cool place. There are some holes in the top which allow in the sun.
Staniel is mostly a residential island which caters to boaters who stop at the Staniel Cay Marina. It is definitely the real Bahamas…quiet and not a lot of apparent activity. Unless you count the increasing number of homes being built. Twenty five years ago there was nothing much here and property could be had cheap, but you can’t play in this neighborhood without a couple million these days.
Power comes from a generator which goes out about twice a day and is just part of the routine. Sitting in the dark for a few minutes at the local restaurant is just the way it is! The airport is Grand Central Station with the light twins and Caravans that offer regular service. A shallow but fantastic harbour is one of the attractions for home builders.
The islands were populated by a wave of Loyalists from America who came here with their slaves after losing the American Revolution. The attempt to recreate plantation life was made but it ultimately failed. Hard to plow through limestone! Some stayed and others returned to America and England.
There are only three small grocery stores, one church, and two restaurants. Ice cream is sold t Nikki’s at the airport and you can get a golf cart but everything is within easy walking distance. Kayaks can be rented but no sailboats, which is too bad because it would be a great place to sail.
On a nearby island reside the famous swimming pigs. They were put here during the first Gulf War as a backup food supply. I did not visit this island as I have seen salt pork before, albeit not doing the back stroke.
There is a very nice all inclusive resort, Fowl Cay, nearby or you can rent a place on the “main island.” A couple big stars have private islands in the neighborhood, which must be nice!
Heres the view from the cockpit as we land. Short but not too uncomfortable.