19 April 2011 | Warderick Wells Exumas
Gail Bermel/Sunny/Winds E17
It’s been a while since blog posting. The day after the last post, a group of us rented two cars and explored the island, the largest in the Exuma chain. We traveled through areas where the big houses are and we traveled through the villages where the local people live. Many of their small houses are painted beautiful colors. On the side of the road periodically, there is an open-air hut. We stopped at one for soft drinks, it was still early. Most of us didn’t eat breakfast because we anticipated eating some of the local offerings. At this hut, we asked for pastries or something more “breakfasty” than conch. Someone went to the house next door and voila, the lady opened her pastry shop out of her house. She was a lovely older lady that baked breads, banana nut, sticky buns and true rum cake. One person bought a rum cake and the lady “rummed” it in front of us. She poured pure rum, melted sugar and a little butter over the cake and saturated it. Wow!!! We also noticed a picture of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. She explained that they filmed one of the Pirates of the Caribbean there. Goldie and Kurt were there at that time. I asked if Goldie was as nice as she always seems. (I winced because I hate to hear something different.) The baker lady said she was so very nice. One day she was taking several loaves of bread out of the oven when Goldie came in. Goldie said, “let me wash my hands so I can help you bag those.” She went on to say just how nice they both were.
We moved on to the big houses hidden off the road. Yes, there are some, but you never see those unless you get off the “cruisers beaten path.” There are some really large, nice houses in paradise on the water. We went on down the road, stopped at a little roadside house where a lady was selling baskets she had made. Of course we all bought one. In towns and straw markets, they are much more expensive. The basket I bought cost about 25% of what I would have paid in a store. Salt of the earth folks, nice and genuine.
We proceeded down the road and ate at the Fish Fry again, the place we had gone to by dingy earlier. Grouper fingers and Bahamian Mac & Cheese, the best I had ever eaten.
Then we went to the settlement of Barraterre at the southernmost end of Great Exuma Island. This is the same settlement we went to by dingy four years ago. Remember, we told about the little store that the 90 year old man opened for us. It normally opened at 4 after his grandson got out of school. Then he took us to his garden. We picked what we wanted and he quoted us a price far less than the stores for better veggies. Remember, Frank got a watermelon. We learned he had passed away from old age.
Then we went to the little bar where the man opened especially for us. We met his 85 year old mother on her way back from working the garden. We were pleased to find out that she is still here and getting around. We enjoyed talking with the owner, her son. He actually lived in Tampa for many years and came back to the Bahamas to help his mother when she got older. He still has a house in Tampa and it had just been damaged by the tornado that had gone through there just two days earlier.
We got back in our cars and visited a beach that was said to have shells. The beach was beautiful, but no shells that day. Then we stopped at the Emerald Bay Marina. Lots of boats we had met along the way go in there for a few days. It is part of a Sandals Resort. They carve out a piece of the islands and build a beautiful resort. People who come and never leave the resort likely think all of the Bahamas is like that and miss the beauty of the local folks. Both are pure paradise.
We turned in our cars, spent a few more days in George Town, then moved over to Emerald Bay. For three days, we had electricity, water, showers, free laundry. Call on the radio and ice will be delivered to your boat. If you want to go anywhere, call the office and they will take you in a golf cart. Once we went to lunch in the condo area and once they took us to the grocery and picked us and all our groceries up. The clubhouse included a plush den with large tv, a men’s bar/party-type room with another tv. Several bridge-type tables and chairs, galley, pool table room, etc., all for the marina guests. (I forgot to mention that the Master’s Golf tournament was on that weekend. Yes, we were watching in the lap of luxury.) It was certainly nice for a few days, but you lose the ever changing beauty and the feel of the islands. So we were again on our way.
We sailed up to Galliot Cay. There are a group of unihabited islands in the area to explore. The nights were calm and cool. During the day, we snorkeled several places. The area was beautiful. We stayed 2-3 days. Then we moved back up to Big Majors, a place we stayed on the way down with the pig beach. This time we snorkeled out the small cut between Big Majors and Fowl Cay. We went several times at slack tide. We found several helmet conchs and sand dollars. This year there are some things called thimble jellyfish. We saw some in that cut. We also saw a very large sting-type ray, seemingly more than 6 feet in diameter, swim around minding his own business. One of the ladies snorkeling with us was in the water and when he came into her view, she turned 180 degrees and swam as fast as an Olympic swimmer to her dinghy. It was really funny! At another time when we were out there, I was in the dinghy and Frank was snorkeling. A large dinghy with a 60 horse motor and 6 people in it was approaching where Frank was snorkeling. I had to hail the boat and point to Frank so they would change their course. It turned out to be Greg Norman. Yes, the famous golfer. We had talked to him the day before. He flew in to Staniel Cay while we were having lunch. And one other note, Steven Spielberg’s 280+ yacht was anchored out while we were there. We didn’t see him and didn’t even know if he was aboard. I’m guessing these people are peppered around the Bahamas most of the time, but we just never hear about it. That yacht was very noticeable, however.
Now we are again at the most beautiful place in the Bahamas, Warderick Wells. We sent pictures of this area before. There is beautiful snorkeling here. Frank insists that I mention he saw three huge lobsters yesterday. (He was drooling. Lobster season is closed, further, we are in a no fishing zone.) We will move north little by little. The wind is up so we won’t cross to Nassau until it subsides, but at least we will be visiting several islands in the meantime. Won’t have internet until Nassau, so don’t expect update before then. Until then, however, we hope everyone is doing good and your full moon last night was as beautiful as ours.