We arrived at Norman’s a couple of hours after sunset, thanks to the lack of any kind of wind that day. The next morning was spent snorkeling a sunken plane wreck that is famed to have gone down due to exceeding the plane’s weight limit in cocaine. The plane went down in the 80’s during an extremely profitable drug smuggling era in which Carlos Lehder made billions. He would ship cocaine from his island (Norman’s Cay) to the southern states. If you’ve ever seen the movie Blow, Carlos Lehder is one of the characters the movie was based off of. It is an AWESOME snorkel if you’re ever in the area. You can get right into the cockpit and it’s in shallow enough water that you can stand up inside the cargo area and stick your head out of the massive hole on the top of the plane. After the snorkel we sailed south to Staniel Cay for St Patrick’s Day. It was yet another day of little to no wind but we refused to give up that easily. We lifted the main and unfurled the jib and with a little boost from the engine, made it to Staniel Cay just as the sun began to lay down. We anchored just south of the yacht club and dinghied our way into shore. Drinks were consumed at the yacht club and we eventually made our way back to the Miss Informed to sack out.
The next day was St Patrick’s Day and we once again made our way back to the yacht club. Their special was green beers so when we ordered them we were surprised to say the least when all they did was crack open a Kalik bottle and dump a few drops of green dye in… Not usually how it’s done in the states, but hey, they were certainly green. The night was considered a success by all.
It was a slow morning following St Patty’s Day. The previous night we made promises to take some people with us to the grotto to snorkel. Unsure whether or not they’d take us up on the offer, we headed back in to the yacht club for lunch just before going. Sure enough two guys showed up in bathing suits ready to go. For some reason everyone was gung-ho on jumping into the grotto from the top. The top of the grotto has three small holes that you can jump through to free-fall 30-40 ft into the center of the cave’s pool. Brian did NOT want to do this but if every single person was doing it, what choice did he really have? Brian and Mario climbed to the top first as Cass and the two guys took pictures from inside the cave. When we got to the top it was even more apparent that we had found ourselves in a one-jump, all-jump situation. Three girls aged 10-15 all fearlessly threw themselves into the dark hole, shrieking loud shrieks of terror as if they were falling through flames, spikes, and rusty nails all at the same time. Mario refused to jump before Brian, in fear that he would cowardly turn back. Little did he know, that was exactly what Brian was hoping would happen… Alas, the time had come for him to jump and there was no more time to waste. With an ever-growing crowd inside the cave watching, the pressure grew to a point he couldn’t withstand. He stepped off the rocky overhang and plummeted into the dark abyss, screaming like a little girl. As it would turn out, the jump was hard for all but Mario. Even fearless Cassie had to get counted down by 20 loud snorkelers inside the cave. We all snorkeled inside and outside the cave before returning to the tender, and then back to the yacht club.
The following morning we motor-sailed back to Rose Island, where we anchored out for the night in order to show Mario the reef on the north side of the island before he had to go. It was a rolly anchorage and the sleep was NO good, but in the morning we snorkeled the reef just the same. We got to swim with a large loggerhead sea turtle! After the snorkel we sailed our way to Palm Cay Marina, a marina on the southeast side of New Providence. Definitely a new favorite spot on the island! They have a courtesy car that proved useful in driving Mario back to his hotel. Later that day, Cassie’s mom and step-dad would arrive.