free as a bird
25 January 2008 | Exuma Land and Sea Park
Frank and Gail
In our last update, I believe we were getting ready to leave Nassau and travel across the Yellow Banks to the Exuma Islands. The banks are so shallow at one point that I had to stand on the front of the boat and watch for Coral heads so Frank could avoid them. A cold front was scheduled to come through the next day, so we went into Highborne Cay marina to wait it out. We had a lovely time in Highborne Cay. We arrived on Saturday. They had an all-you can eat cookout on the beach. The menu included conch chowder with homemake Bahamian bread, barbequed chicken and mahi mahi, macaroni and cheese (a Bahamian treat, not like the US at all) and rum cake. (There were more choices, but that was the "good stuff.") The marina was the only "industry" on the island. It was tropical resort-like place. We have pictures and will share with you when we return.
On Tuesday, January 22, we left and went south to an unhabited island, Shroud Cay. When we pulled into where we planned to anchor, we were pleasantly surprised that there were mooring balls installed within the last year. (For you nonsailors, mooring balls are anchored deep into the bottom and you merely tie to the floating ball, instead of dropping an anchor.) We sleep soundly on a solid mooring ball, because you don't find yourself checking periodically during the night to ensure your anchorage holds. This was part of the Land and Sea Park.
We moved on the next day to the Headquarters of the park at Warderick Wells. They also have mooring balls, but we already knew that. We intentionally stay there to be protected from the next front. The coral reefs are the most spectacular I have ever seen. Now remember I haven't seen very many, but when we got back to the boat and referenced our coral book, we saw most of everything that was in there. Multicolored fan coral, bright yellow, orange, brain, staghorn, and on and on. We saw 1 foot blue parrot fishes, we saw large blue tangs schooling (3-4) in the reefs. Many other colorful fish. They say there is a 4-foot barracuda that lives in the protected waters named "Buddy." The boat next to us saw it yesterday. There are also some lemon sharks, but they aren't aggressive. We haven't seen either. We can see the bottom under and around our boat. We had a school or large (12-18inches) fish under our boat. They have a blue-gray top, white bottom and bright yellow tail. Frank and I comment that we feel like we are snorkeling in Willem and Jennifer's tank.
Today is Friday. The wind is howling. It should subside by morning. We plan to move on south to Sandford or Staniel Cay by tomorrow evening. We should play a few days, then move on to Little Farmers Cay by Thursday, January 31. They have an annual festival, February 1. We want to get a taste of the island culture also.
That's it for now. Will update again soon. We never know what our resources will be until we have them.