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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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I always wanted to be a park ranger
Sunny, Winds ENE3-10knots, 76*;
04/09/2009, Exuma Park – Warderick Wells (N24*23.664 W76*41.452) to Shroud Cay (N24*23.664 W76*41.452);

Thursday, April 09, 2009
Traveled 18.8 nm; anchored 7.2 ft

This was one of those mornings I just didn't want to get out of bed. I finally got up about 7:45 so I could get the weather from the park, put on the coffee and had a good yawn to start the day. The bananaquits flew down into the cabin and joined us for coffee.

After weather, then checking out, we headed out at 9:30. I really like this anchorage (mooring). St. John's ranks as my favorite island, Warderick Wells ranks as my favorite anchorage. I love the varying shades of blue in this water, from deep blue to almost a white aqua, and the way they just pop against the white sand and black pitted rock. My pictures, as usual just don't do justice to the beauty here that surrounds our little boat. Funny how two of my favorite places have bananaquits. I wonder if there's a correlation?

The wind was flat and where it wasn't flat, it was against us so we motored the entire way to Shroud Cay. As we got closer, you could see a large amount of motor yachts, mega-yachts and a couple of super yachts at anchor. It looked like a convention of the rich and famous. One 110 footer called the park headquarters complaining about the swell and how they were swaying on the mooring. They wanted to pick up a different mooring and were told that the one they were on was the only one capable of holding them. Their response was "You have all of these other moorings here, why can't we just pick up one of these? The owner doesn't like the rocking here." Judy & Julie at the park tried to explain how the moorings couldn't accommodate their size/weight. They later called again saying that the owner was trapped up the north creek in the tender, because the tide went out and left them high and dry. They wanted someone to come rescue them. I found this interesting, because in every piece of literature it says to only go there around high tide. The park asked why they couldn't just wait for the tide since we were at low, low tide at the time they called, or they could have walked back and picked up the dink later... interesting conversations. The owner was definitely used to being catered too.

We saw some of the long tailed white birds soaring and doing acrobatics in the air as we pulled in to the anchorage. In Bermuda they're called Birds of Paradise, here they're called white-tailed Tropicbirds (Phaethon lepturus) or red-billed Tropicbirds (Phaethon aethereus) depending on their bill color. The ones we saw soaring above us were the red-billed variety.

After settling in on the mooring, we took the dinghy out to explore a bit. They have an honor system here to pay for the moorings. You put the money in an envelope and drop it into a box on shore. What they don't tell you is that you need to climb up some rocks to get to the box, so you realllly need to feel the honor code to do this. Wayne climbed it barefoot to get the envelope and we'll drop it off tomorrow when we go up the north creek to explore.

I've decided that rules aren't meant for the rich. Jet skiers are zooming all over the anchorage & between the boats - it's an idle speed zone here but they're going pretty fast, even in the shallows and tidal areas where the rock and coral are near the surface. We're in the park, which is a "no take" area on land or sea. These power boaters have no qualms about fishing off their boats. One power boat. a couple moorings down from us, has two people fishing off the back. Wayne says they probably catch them and throw them back. Hmmm... Still seems that they shouldn't be fishing - period. It damages the fish and from what I've seen, some never recover and die. I'd be in big trouble if I were the game warden or park ranger here. I'd probably be dead - definitely hated, probably dead though trying to enforce the rules. I wanted to go over and yell at them & Wayne said "vent about it in your blog". The park office is out of my radio range. Okay blog - I'm venting... These type people piss me off.

Saw small queen conch and milky conch, quite a few sand dollars, sponge and baby mangrove saplings in the tidal areas. This is a pretty place on first inspection. We'll have to wait until tomorrow morning to explore the mangrove areas up north creek (high tide).

Happy Birthday Steph - my Easter Baby :)
Sunny, 75, winds SW 5-10
04/08/2009, Exuma Park, Warderick Wells

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Erma - wish we could have our annual lunch and get-together date for our birthdays . I hope you have a nice one and the boys take you out or make a nice dinner for you. Enjoy the day! Enjoy your life! Here's a nice place to sit and sip a nice tropical drink with you and contemplate the view and life and put things into perspective...

It's a much nicer day today than yesterday was. We need to get a chart for Eleuthera. In going through the chart books, it looks like Eleuthera is in the Far Bahamas Book. It makes no sense to me, other than to get you to buy another chart book, but if we're heading there, we need to get it. We'll run over to the office after lunch to see if they have that. The plan is to go to Shroud Cay tomorrow and then to Royal Island off the tip of Eleuthera Island. From there the plan is to work our way up the Abacos and then jump across to Ft. Pierce in Florida. This all hinges on weather of course. As the saying goes - cruiser's plans are written in jello...

Spring Fronts bring strong winds
winds 15-25, cloudy and cool - 73*
04/07/2009, Exuma Park, Warderick Wells

Spring Front came roaring through. Winds in the 20's all day and waves have us rocking and rolling. When Judy came on this morning asking who was leaving, not one voice chimed in. Everybody stayed put today, and there were quite a few boats trying to obtain moorings for the day that just weren't available. There were some at the Emerald Rock anchorage but Judy told everyone, upfront, that with the winds today - it would be quite roily. I listened to quite a few people, on the radio, trying to find secure anchorages from the westerly winds and some trying to pick up moorings in the Emerald Rock area. I feel lucky that we were able to get in here when we did!

Today we're staying on the boat and hoping that the moorings hold. I think that these are probably some of the best in the Bahamas! A definite reading day today as long as we can read with all the motion around us. The boat, at times, feels like we're sitting in the bottom of an oscillating teacup. Think I'll have some tea to go with the motion.

The winds are blustering still and the clouds keep rolling over us. The waves look asymmetrical one moment, then symmetrical the next. As I write this I'm watching the waves crash into some rocks and small islands that surround our sheltered area. There are some impressive waves that bury the land from my sight. The wind generator has been going non-stop all day. At times, it gets so revved up, it sounds like it wants to take off.

Making pizza for dinner tonight...

Spectacular sunset

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