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Warderick Wells Interview
03/16/2009, Warderick Wells, Exumas

I'm losing my Internet access this morning at 9am but before that we both want to wish sister Pat a very Happy Birthday with a last view of Warderick Wells Exuma Park!

Well my Internet access has expired but we're still here at Warderick Wells, Exuma. A front should be passing through in the next couple days and we'd rather be here, so here we are.

The bananaquits have taken to coming down below to see what we have for breakfast each morning. I never feed them here, but still they come and visit us to see what we have down below at the galley and on the table. One little guy flits from the stove to the sink to the table then checks out our hanging hammocks to see if we have anything hanging in them that's sweet (nothing that's open).

After breakfast we went hiking the trails again and ended up on a little beach called butterfly beach. What a gorgeous little place right off Emerald Rock. We cooled off in the water and loafed along the beach before taking the Causeway trail back to the park headquarters. We both agree that this would be a wonderful place to take a fieldtrip to (if I were still teaching). There's so much that they're doing right by having this park here, but I think it's underutilized as far as teaching the younger generations the responsibility of stewardship for this fragile ecosystem.

Interview with Judy (the Conservation Coordinator Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park)
Judy monitors the VHF 7 days a week and I think 24 hours a day. She takes reservations and determines which vessels will fit on which mooring balls; fields questions from vessels wanting anchoring information; gives the weather each morning at 8:00am; gives out the mooring assignments at 9:00am and runs the office during the day until 4 pm; They have shirts, mugs, totes, ice, etc... for sale in the office and a book swap area, as well as displays of shells, etc., that are found around the park area. She always has a cheery disposition and ready smile for the visitors and puts together a happy hour/bon fire on Saturday evenings for the cruisers. She's an amazing woman with a lot of fortitude.

Could I ask you a few questions if you have a few minutes?
Yes, sure.
How long have you worked here? 7 years.
Whats the best part about the job? Oh, everything. Protecting the environment and keeping it safe for the next generations; protecting and preserving the life forms that exist here. You get to live in paradise and protect it - that's important.
Whats the worst part about the job?
I can't really think of any. I really can't.
How about the 7-day workweeks? No, not even that. I really enjoy it here.
Do you have any educational outreach programs?
Yes, over at Black Point, there's a teacher affiliated with the Bahamas National Trust and she works with the students there on educational programs. We don't have that many though because the cost to bring the students here, plus food, etc... is quite expensive. We don't have an inexpensive transportation system here.
There isn't a ferry type system then other than the mail boat then that could bring the kids? No.
Do you have any camping facilities here?
No, but every so often we can get student groups to come out and help out by volunteering with things like clean ups, and things. If they were older students, they could probably put up a couple of tents on one of the islands if the kids did volunteer work.
Which volunteer groups are helping with the solar array?
Laughs. None. We need money for that. We'd like to get that up and running by 2012. It's going to require $500,000 to get that going and fundraising is tough right now.
Yes, with the economy, I imagine.
What does this place really need that it doesn't have?
Money. The Bahamas National Trust funds this Park and 23 others so funding is always stretched. That's why we only have 3 people working here. We could really use funding.
Who are the other people working here? My Husband (Tom) who runs the place and the Park Warden.
You're stretched pretty thin then.
Yes. We can always use more funding at the parks (hands me a brochure of the parks in the Bahamas)
Thank you.
Is there much of a poaching problem?
It's not too bad now. Some of it's locals, some of its yachtsmen, but it's not to bad. We keep on top of it. We need more education about the area and the things we're trying to do here and protect.
Your husband has worked here also 7 years? Yes. He runs the place and loves it here too.
Do you know of any reasonably priced charter companies that a teacher could go through to charter and bring students here to learn about the area?
She gave me 3-4 names to try out and we chatted a bit about that, then:
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Laughs - Right here.
Now there's a woman that loves her job! I don't blame her in the least!

I wish I'd had a paper/pencil to write down the conversation but coming from the trails, all I had was a backpack with water in it and a camera. Damned if I didn't remember to ask if I could take a picture too...

Back at the boat the Park Warden came passing by on the boat - Questions I asked him:
(I forgot to ask his name)
Are you busy, do you have a minute?
Yes, but what do you want?
Can I ask you a few questions?
Sure
How long have you worked here?
About a year so I can't answer a lot of questions for you.
That's okay. What's the best part of your job?
Meeting people like you!
Laughing.
What's the worst part of your job?
Going out in the weather - the wind/seas.
Can you think of anything the park needs that it doesn't have?
A new boat! Laughs along with his two compatriots (members of the defense force for his protection).
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The sun is going down now. I've noticed that in the last few days - as the boats come in heading on their northward treks toward Nassau, Eleuthera, and places further north - that you can actually hear the sun set without going up to see it. The boats returning from Georgetown have learned to turn their conch shells into horns and sound their conch horns as the sun settles into the ocean. Some have long soulful sounds, others have short wailing sounds. All of the newly made musicians celebrate another day in paradise and echo a response to each other as the sun glows orange, then pink, and disappears into the green and turquoise water that seems to swirl around white sand stands that peek out of the water at low tide.

Time to make dinner and call it a day. I've been saving 4 steaks, 2 for the Tropic of Cancer, but tonight seems like a night to have the other two - steak, mushrooms and German potato salad.

It seems like each time we put into some place, we stay longer than intended. I understand that that's the way of the Bahamas mon. It calls you and doesn't let you leave...

Happy Birthday Patricia!
03/16/2009, Warderick Wells - moving on to Black Point or Little Farmers Cay

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'm losing my Internet access this morning at 9am but before that we both want to wish sister Pat a very Happy Birthday with a last view of Warderick Wells Exuma Park!

Not sure which spot we're going to today - depends on wind on timing out of the park but either Black Point (closest) or Little Farmer's Cay. If we go to Black Point today, then it will be Farmers tomorrow, then George Town and the Tropic of Cancer. I just noticed that Jame's Birthday is the day before the Vernal Equinox and Lyric's is ON the Vernal Equinox. Spring is about to spring back home in all it's glory - my favorite time of the year.

Time to finish making coffee and start tidying up before checking out at the office and hoisting the dinghy.

Patrish - if you're still in Florida - we hope you're enjoying the weather. I hear its nice now, then a weak cold front is due this week. Have a terrific Birthday today!

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.

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