ECLSP - A Little Bit of Paradise
25 January 2009
We are now in Wardrick Wells which is part of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (ECLSP). This expansive nature conservancy is absolutely spectacular. We were here ten years ago but it is as splendid as it was then.
But first, our trip here. As you know we have not been able to sail much on this trip but when we have it has been wonderful. Today, we left Norman's Cay for the 20 or so miles to Wardrick Wells. Once we cleared the sand bores, we put up the sails and had a wonderful sail all the way to our destination. The winds became quite brisk and closer hauled as we approached and we had to reduce sails (reefing is a process which makes the amount of sails exposed to the winds smaller and makes the boat more manageable). We were going up to 8 knots; faster than the engine could push us and were well heeled over. Poor little Chopin was being beat around a bit so went below and wedged himself into the aft cabin. Judy and I shared steering duties and we had to do a fair bit of sail trim because of the shift conditions. Anyway, it makes it all worthwhile.
So back to ECLSP, the literature says the ECLSP is the first land and sea park in the world and covers 176 square miles. It is called a "no take" zone which means nothing live or dead may be taken from within its boundaries.
Moorings are provided on a first come, first serve basis at a modest price and we had radioed in earlier to reserve. We were assigned to Emerald Rock which may not be considered the prime place but is spectacular. The colour of the water is stunning with so many hues of blue, green and yellow.
We pick up our assigned mooring, tired and windburned but exhilarated with our great sail. We're told there is a potluck on the beach and we partake. We meet lots of cruisers, some of whom we know, others we don't but it's a great atmosphere. We decided to stay here a few days.
We sleep like logs, the wind is light and the moorings strong. We get up in anticipation of a full day. First order of the day is for Judy to take Chopin to the crrescent, white powdery sand beach just in front of us while I catch up on the blog (from Nassau to here). Then we dinghy ashore to register and take some hikes. There are great trails on the main island, Wardrick Wells. We meet folks we met several times earlier, Dora and Zoltan on a very fast C&C 121 from Toronto and they invite us to another beach for the afternoon to snorkel, etc. So, Judy and I and Kathy and Darius (Breeze Hunter) dinghy to this beach, which is completely protected and from where you cannot see any sign of civilization. We snorkle and see lots of coral, colourful fish, lobster (although not like ours) and other amazing sights. What a treat!
Back to Sea Sharp, then immediately to another beach where we take Chopin. Judy swims from the boat to the beach! There are several couples and their children from Marseilles France and the children are very curious about Chopin. Parisian French is challenging for me but the kids don't seem to mind and we pass a very pleasant late afternoon. Time to go back and Judy swims the return trip. She seems very happy. She's brown and waterlogged!
We decided to stay here for another day. It's paradise!