Introducing friends to the Park
28 February 2010 | Warderick Wells, Exuma Land and Sea Park
Beth /very windy
With one front (meaning cold temps and strong winds) out of the way, we headed north to introduce Linda and Charles to the Exuma Land and Sea Park. We have never managed to get a mooring in the North anchorage before, so we said yes when Darcy offered #1. It didn't seem like such a mistake at first. We'd have been bouncing in Emerald Rock too, but ooooh boy.... However, I'm getting ahead of myself.
We tied up, dropped the dinghy and got ourselves quickly ashore. After checking in, we lingered on the deck to feed the bananaquits - those pretty little Bahamian birds that love to pick grains of sugar from our hands - and to enjoy the view. While we were there, Pat and Wayne (Kolibri) came along and of course we had to chat with these fellow Bayfield owners last seen in Vero Beach. We made our way down to the beach to check out the almost 60 ft long sperm whale skeleton (he died from ingesting garbage bags in the early 90's) and chatted with Wayne and Patti (Bum's Rest).
That first night was just fine out there at the entrance to the mooring field, and we all slept well. There were no mournful booo-hooos from Boo Boo hill from where the moans of lost souls sometimes drift on the wind; the wind behaved itself and the surge from the cut to Exuma Sound was minimal. Thanks to the kindness of our friends, we have a new sirius satellite radio so we were able to listen to our beloved CBC as we sat in the salon after dinner. Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe has always been a favourite, and it was especially sweet to listen to his stories after a couple of months of deprivation.
On Saturday, we enjoyed an exquisite day in the water. We headed out to the snorkelling site by the red buoy, floated above the coral, admired the variety of colourful fish and then, while Jim moved the dinghy, the other three of us walked all the way up the centre of the mooring field on the sandy shoal. It is just amazing to be able to walk along so close to where boats are moored in deep water. After another exploration of the coral, we dinghied across the channel to our favourite little "Turnabout Beach" where we picnicked and basked in the sun. (It was warmer this time than when we were there with Oz and Star of the Sea!)
We had thought we'd go ashore to the Happy Hour on the beach, but by 6pm, the seas were beginning to pick up and after much "Will we go? Should we stay here?" discussion, we decided that prudence indicated remaining on the boat. (An interesting little aside here - I hate to miss a party and I wanted to go, but I'm also averse to making potentially dangerous dinghy trips in big waves after dark so I had a lot of trouble making a decision here. The others were non committal, but when I finally said, "I think we should stay home" we all breathed a sigh of relief! Once the decision was made, even I knew it was the right one.)
The night got worse. We pitched and rocked and rolled in every possible direction. The mooring lines coming up over the anchor roller squeaked. The wind generator howled (while producing great power), a halyard flapped and the anchor lying on the deck slid around until I wiggled up out of the forward hatch and secured them both at about 3 am. (We didn't want to disturb our guests in the salon berth - as if they were really sleeping with all that noise going on? - and I fit better up through that hatch than Jim does.) After a night of napping, and some queasy stomachs, we decided we really needed to get ashore for some solid ground under our feet.
Fortunately, the waves laid down a bit and we managed to get ourselves ashore without getting soaked. We had a good chat with Bill and Judy (Jubilee) and set off to walk the trail to Boo Boo Hill to add our driftwood contribution to the Boat Board pile. Because the tide was low, the blow hole wasn't doing its impressive "blowing" but we had a look anyway. The walk along the beach on the east side of the island and over the sharp limestone rocks through scrubby shrubbery was good for all of us. On the way home, we stopped for a great visit with Lynn and Peter (First Edition) who had come in the day before, and whom we had last seen a couple of years ago on our first trip to these waters.
We had hoped that the next night would be a lot more peaceful, but those 3 balls out at the opening of the north anchorage are just not quiet ones, and even though the wind was down, we still moved around a lot on Sunday night. Dinner was pretty simple - pasta with a bottled sauce - followed by some mean rounds of crib and then just getting horizontal!