27 December 2021
We heard so much about the Exuma Land and Sea Park. It is a favorite of the charter companies. The park is 22 miles long and 4 miles wide. It has multiple mooring fields next to various uninhabited cays. Each island has its own special features. Lack of cell service is one of them! We felt really unplugged with our weather coming across on the single side band rather than the internet. We had to use the satellite internet to download PredictWind forecasts
Most importantly, the islands and beaches in the Park were spectacular and unspoiled. We stayed for two days in Shroud Cay on a well-maintained mooring. The volcanic origin of the islands is unmistakable. The shoreline is often an unforgiving sharp eroded rock. Where there are beaches, the sand is soft and white. The water of the Exumas is many shades of turquoise, rich and deeply colored.
Shroud Cay has various estuaries that are bordered by mangroves. One of the estuaries cuts the island in two and we ventured down it in our dinghy. It drew a remote and striking picture. We entered on the west side, the Exuma Bank side, and exited on the east or Exuma Sound side. We anchored the dinghy and took a hike up a steep hill of cold set lava to Driftwood Camp. This is a spot created by a liveaboard sailor in the 60's and used by federal drug agents in the 80's who were monitoring airplane drug traffic from Norman Cay. There is still a downed plane on Norman that makes fun snorkeling.
Once back down from the hill, we sat on the beach and paddled in the surf. We made the return trip through the mangroves and Shawn experimented with her snorkel gear.
We returned to Ondine near high tide. We were easy to spot in the mooring field. Most of the other sailboats are catamarans, or 50% bigger, but the dozens of 100-plus foot motoryachts dwarfed all of us.
On the morning of the second day we headed to Hawksbill Cay.