Munjack Cay Beachcombing
15 April 2008 | Manjack Cay to Green Turtle Cay
December 9, 2007
Manjack Cay to Green Turtle Cay
Kristen awakes early with me and does her daily chores of shutting off the anchor light and crossing the day of the calendar. This enables us to at least know what day of the week it is. This actually is a great feeling, not knowing or needing to know what day of the week it is.
Today we decide to explore Manjack Cay. After breakfast we got our bathing suits on and headed in to Coconut Tree Beach in the dinghy. This beach is directly in front of our boat. We have the entire beach to ourselves. The sand is bright white and feels soft underfoot. The edge of the beach is outlined by mangroves and lush dense green brush. The beach has lots of shells and we see numerous curly tailed lizards that run into the brush when we approach them. Kelly searches the rock ledges near the mangroves for lobster with no luck. Kristen finds a perfect conch shell on the beach. We load our booty into the dinghy and hop aboard because we all want to find a place to go snorkeling.
Follow this link to see our photos taken this day:
We head to Nunjack harbor that was noted as calm and shallow. It is located on the backside of Manjack Cay. We make our way over to the harbor and find a spot to anchor the dinghy. We decide not to snorkel here either because it is either too shallow in the harbor or too rough in the outer shore waves. Instead we head off down the beach exploring the outer shore. The whole backside of the island is a beach exposed to the Atlantic Ocean. Again, we have a pristine beach all to ourselves. We begin searching for shells and fish in the shallow water. Kelly and the girls find a good size trigger fish, probably 14 inches long, swimming back and forth just off the beach. We then climb various limestone structures that are along the shoreline that have been shaped by the surf over time. We find tide pools with small colorful fish in them. Kristen finds an area of conch shells that are huge! She is definitely having a good time. Danielle keeps up with Kelly climbing all of the limestone structures. She loves climbing. None of them were a challenge to her. Danielle found an awesome cowry shell. I found a couple of sunburst star turban shells. We have found other shells that I have yet to figure out what they are. We need our friend Debbie Dalton's help. She knows her shells! The view from this area was incredible. Kristen is in awe and I tell her how beautiful nature can be. We finish climbing the limestone and decide to turn back. Kelly finds a tree covered with snails. It was very interesting to look at.
As we are getting closer to the area where we anchor the dinghy, we all notice how much the tide has gone out. When we arrive back at the dinghy it is just barely afloat. We can now see that Nun jack harbor is nearly empty at low tide. This was news to us. There are areas where we can see turtle grass poking up through the surface of the water as well as some sandy spots. Across the harbor we can see what appears to be some deeper water following the distant shoreline. We all keep our water shoes on and begin pulling the dinghy across the harbor. We make it to a deeper area, which only lasts a little while. We let the kids stay in the boat while Kelly and I pull the dinghy in another direction to get to deeper water. We finally get depths where we can use the motor. We probably pulled the dinghy for ¼ of a mile, but it felt like a mile.
The turtle grass had small barnacles attached to the blades that gave Kelly and I minor scrapes on our ankles. It felt like something was biting us. Our skin was a bit irritated for the remainder of the day. We also had to watch our step to avoid stepping on 10 inch orange starfish and various sized conchs that were seemingly everywhere.
Once we reached the deep water we hopped in with the kids and motored to Nunjack Beach on the northwest side of the island. This is the most beautiful beach of the three. Again we have it to ourselves. Unbelievable! We anchor the dinghy just off the shore near a fairly new pier. There were a few picnic tables on the beach below the coconut trees. We took our snacks of goldfish, peanuts and water to one of the tables. We all had something to eat then Danielle and I went for a walk on the beach while Kristen continued to shell and eat her peanuts. We rescued four starfish and put them back in the water, we also found a broken sand dollar and a sea cucumber. We then turned around and headed back to Kristen and Kelly.
We had found a sign near the picnic tables that said to enjoy Manjack Shores Nature Park. Several acres of land were set aside for land conservation with walking paths. We later learned that this was one of the defunct programs here in the Bahamas that failed due to lack of funding. There were a few pieces of equipment rotting away in the brush nearby. We follow one of the paths that cut through the brush to the backside of the island. Along the way we saw all sorts of unfamiliar vegetation, flowers and small birds on our walk. When we came to the end of the path it was high up on a ridge above the beach next to a square shaped gazebo nestled amongst the trees. There were all sorts of floats and artifacts placed in the rafters with the visitor's signatures, dates and boat names written on them. The kids play in the surf. I took a little walk to find some stuff on the shore to make our own contribution to the gazebo. I found some line, a balloon, a top a jug and Styrofoam. Danielle and I try to write our names in the Styrofoam, but we had no luck. We hung our mobile that we made from and then head back to the dinghy. When we get back Kelly suggests we go snorkeling here by the pier. We all got our fins, masks, and snorkels on began swimming next to the shore. This was the first time the girls swam with fins. They have used the mask and snorkel only in pools previous to this day. They took to snorkeling like fish themselves. They are confident swimming around make shallow dives beneath the surface enjoying their newfound speed with fins. We all chase after small colorful fish hiding amongst the pier pilings. Kelly and I are so excited that the girls did so well with snorkeling. Again we tell them about the vast numbers and larger size fish they will see around the coral reefs.
We packed up our belongings and headed back to the boat. Green Turtle Cay is the next cay to the south, just a few miles away. A cold front was going to be moving through in the next few days and the anchorage there is better protected. Once our gear was stored away and the dinghy was hoisted into the davits we raised the anchor and headed for White sound, the northern harbor on Green Turtle Cay. We arrive a short time later at the harbor entrance after traveling only 3 miles. The channel is very well marked but is shallow and we need to transit within a couple hours of high tide to avoid grounding. We have sufficient water depth and have no difficulty entering the harbor. Once inside we find boats on moorings and at anchor. We make a loop around the harbor gaining a feel for the lay of the harbor and the depth of the water near the edges. We saw there was plenty of room to swing at anchor on the southern end and we chose to anchor there. The bottom is patchy white sand and areas of thick turtle grass. Luckily the anchor sets on Kelly's first try. We now have protection all around us. Kelly makes us a great steak dinner. After dinner we found a good wifi connection and called Kelly's parents using SKYPE. It was great to hear their voices.