Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
11 February 2008 | Warderick Wells
Beth - Weather: 80's F, high 20's C, humid, sunny, winds: SE 10-15kn building to SW25-30 Sunday night
We arrived in Warderick Wells on Thursday after a motor sail down from Hawksbill. We'd love to have just sailed, but once again energy consumption (and wind direction, although we could have tacked out further and then back in again) dictated the procedure.
We had heard many reports about the beauty of this cay, and it truly is a wonderful place to spend a few days. The North Mooring field near the park Headquarters is like none I've seen before. It is a crescent of sand with moorings on both sides. We are south of that - in the Emerald Rock area and we like it just fine there too. It's a longer dinghy ride to the office, but there are beaches and trails nearby and the protection is good.
We hopped in the family car - aka dinghy - and went over to Princess for happy hour. It's our great luck that Sandi and Steve are here too, and along with Mike and Kathy (Sapphire) we feasted on the usual astounding array of snackies that turned into dinner. Steve conjured up some of his famous "Dark n' Stormies" and made converts of more of us to this rum/lime/ginger beer concoction.
On Friday morning we embarked on a jaunt by dinghy to the southern part of the cay and then hiked overland to the South Anchorage and the Pirates Lair. It's a great little hideaway and didn't take too much imagination to picture the great ships tucked away out of sight in the anchorage and the pirates with their mats and bottles gathered around in this clearing under the trees. The remains of the old well are still there, and though the tallest of trees are gone now, the clearing in this dip of land still has all the feeling of a lair.
We continued on up the rocky coastline - stepping gingerly on sharp coral to the next trail head and back along Beryl's trail to the western beach again - with a short stop for a cooling dip along the way. The men went for another hike to retrieve the dinghies, while Kathy, Sandi and I waited and chitchatted on the beach. The water was too shallow for the dinghies to come in that far so after a reasonable interval we waded out to deeper water to wait. We laughed at the picture we cut - three women with backpacks standing thigh deep in the water for about 20 minutes. We didn't attract any interest from the anchorage though because no one came over our way to see if we needed a ride.
Saturday morning was catchup time on the internet. A connection costs $10. for 24 hours, although the tower must get turned off at night because we've had no connection after 8pm. The sun was high and the water warm when we headed out to snorkel in the afternoon. We spotted several huge lobsters again and some Nassau groupers that would have fed us all. The fish are much larger here in the park - I guess its clear evidence that somebody is doing some successful fishing in other areas.
I took a hike up to the ruins of the old Davis plantation, and waded back along the coral edge to the beach, just in time to put together a snack to take to the cruisers gathering on the beach. It was BYOB and a plate of snacks - the Park provided the ice and a bonfire. Jim and I both had fun reconnecting with cruisers we've met before and some new people. There were lots of comments on the bits of produce many of us still have in our fridges - a couple of carrots, a half a cabbage, maybe an apple. It has been a while since any of us have stocked up, and will be another few days before we have the opportunity. In hindsight, I wish I had bought more in Spanish Wells.
The mooring balls have been steadily filling up as the front moves in. We had no trouble securing one when we called on Wednesday. We're on E21 and for boats under 40ft, the price is $15.00 per night. It is possible to anchor outside the mooring field in this bay.
It's HOT these days 29 degrees - and the humidity is high - We have to use our water somewhat sparingly since it will be another few days till we can get more. So what we have is used for drinking, personal cleaning, and the once a day dishwashing. I run a rag across the floors to get rid of some of the salt stickiness once in a while, but real showers and boat cleaning will have to wait. I do have one large jug of purchased water stored away for emergencies. Jim says we are on our last jerry can of gas for the generator and dinghy too. These are the things that will dictate our next stops.
In the meantime, we have lots of trails left to walk and coral heads to snorkel over. The stars have been absolutely amazing and it is easy to sit for hours under them, soaking in the absolute stillness and vastness of the sky and sea. Such restfulness is good for the soul.