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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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Lazy Sunday
80 degrees, sunny with light breeze
03/15/2009, Warderick Wells Exuma Park

Spent a lazy day admiring the scenery after trying to file taxes online and ending up filing an extension instead (once we can get somewhere to make a printout and mail it in). The park headquarters was only open until noon today so we'll have to check out tomorrow morning early before moving on.

We had some brazen little visitors for breakfast this morning. While we were sitting at the table going over taxes (before I did dishes) the little bananaquits decided to come down into our galley to investigate what we had for breakfast!!! Would you say they have no fear?!?!

I've plotted in a course to Little Farmer's Cay for tomorrow but we might stop at Black Point, Great Guana Cay first. After those (one or two) stops then we'll head for George Town on Great Exuma and the Tropic of Cancer before we start our northward trek back up the Exumas towards home. We'll probably be stopping back by here on the way back to walk some more trails etc... We both agree that this has to be one of our most favorite spots so far.

Time to contemplate dinner now - pork chops me thinkest after sundowners with cheese, sausage and crackers. It really is very pretty here.

The Park and old friends to catch up with
03/14/2009, Warderick Wells Cay, Exuma Cay Land and Sea Park

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Downloaded pictures in the morning while Wayne went up top and watched the world go by. It was another lovely day so we decided to go snorkeling in this beautiful clear water. Got all the stuff in the boat but by the time we left the currents were coming through here pretty good so we never got into the water. Snorkeling here is done at high slack tide or low slack tide and we weren't at either one. So we dinghied back to the park headquarters and sat about chatting with Rich and Dave (Sea Witch) then exchanged some books at the headquarters and headed back to the boat after splashing around near the beach, for saltwater showers, then sun shower rinses on deck (nothing like being on display).

I made up some chicken salad to take to the happy hour gathering on the beach, then at 5:30 we headed over to the beach where Judy already had a bonfire going and the ice chest set up (I delved in for ice!). Several boats were already there. Sea Sharp is here - we haven't run into them since the Mega Dock in Charllotte (?) It seems so long ago... Raksha from Quebec is also here - we haven't seen them since Annapolis (where that boat ran into them). We'd gotten our mast put up in the same place - Riverview Marina in Catskill NY. It was so good to see both of them. Sea Sharp was in Georgetown for the last 5 weeks and is heading northward again, as is Raksha. Us, we're still heading south for a little while longer. While at the bonfire/happy hour we met Lady Pamela from Cape Cod on the trawler next to us and the folks from the 40ft Bayfield "Tan Barque". We'd watched him climb the mizzenmast to install his wind generator earlier in the day. Joy (Rowan & Chris), the sailboat across the sandbar, was a hoot. Wish they were staying a little longer but they're heading to Eleuthera tomorrow morning.

At sunset we headed back to the boat and sat up top watching the world go by while finishing our drinks. After dark, a large boat came by us and headed to the headquarters. They trained their lights on everything around, and the people at the headquarters turned on the lights and helped them tie up for the night. It turned out that this was a Royal Bahamas Defense Force Vessel. The Game Warden here has had so many death threats against him from poachers, that he has two defense force guards that travel with him and it appears they frequent the park for him. The amount of fish and conch in the Bahamas has been so depleted over the years; that I guess poaching has become a big problem in the park. From yachtsmen trolling improperly in park waters to locals that have favorite hotspots - it's a big problem. This park is teeming with large conch that breed here and cast their spawn outward to help repopulate the outlying Bahamas, the same with the fish populations - so what the Park does here is very important. It's sad to think that between visitors and locals alike that so few care about the future of the islands and their ecological impact on the present as well as the future generations of all of the life forms.

Blow Holes, BooBoo, Bananaquits
warm, nice weather
03/13/2009, Warderick Wells, Exumas Land and Sea Park

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wow - another Friday the 13th already?!?! After coffee and sitting around enjoying the view, we had an egg salad sandwich and decided to take a land trail through the park. It's very nicely laid out with signs along the way talking about the vegetation and mangrove swamps and natural nurseries here. We visited the blowholes and Boo Boo Hill then went to the park office to browse and feed the bananaquits. We're allowed to feed them up at the office and the little guys know right where to go to get the sugar too! As I reached up for the canisters they swarmed me. I'd say they hadn't had any sugar today... It reminded me of St. John's when we used to go camping there and would leave coconut husks hanging around camp with sugar and sugar water for them.

The blowholes are holes through the rocky cliffs where the water pushes up the air and water through the holes from the sea cuts below, making eerie sounds as it does so. Not far from here is Boo Boo Hill. Boo Boo Hill is where the souls of missionaries that were shipwrecked are said to be heard on full moon nights. It's the highest point on Warderick Wells where a headless human skeleton was found. Now boats leave driftwood pieces with their names on it at the top of the hill to ensure good weather for their passages. Wouldn't you know we didn't leave any? I hope this doesn't mean that the lost souls will follow us. As we descended from the hill it started sprinkling. It felt good though because the walk up was a bit hot.

Back at the boat, I noticed that Aeolus's dinghy was still gone. When I saw their dinghy back at the boat, I tried hailing them on the VHF to see if they'd like to come over, but I don't think they had their radio on. I know ours was turned off until I thought about calling them. We made up some pork chops for dinner and I started posting my blogs from the end of February until yesterday. Even though I have already typed them up on my computer it seems to take a while to load the days and pictures into the blog. I tried to use skype today too but had issues with the microphone and the speed of the Internet isn't too good either. I'll try emailing tomorrow.

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