With CS’ta Time, we sailed another 20nm south to Warderick Wells Cay, which is the headquarters for the Exuma Land & Sea Park. This was the world’s first national park lying partially beneath the sea. It is a 176 square mile reserve stretching out for 22 miles, and includes 15 large islands and many more smaller cays. It is a protected area – a “No Take Zone” (no harvesting of conch, fishing, or catching lobster here).
During happy hour on the beach, we caught sight of several hutias, a small mammal native only to the Bahamas. They look like big guinea pigs, and must have smelled our assortment of foods. Though we haven’t seen them yet, we’ve been hearing the Bananaquits, a small local finch or warbler.
We walked one of the island trails with Jorge & Kim, up to ‘Boo Boo Hill,’ where we left our boat’s name, etched in driftwood, as a memento (it seems to be a ritual here), and took photos of the spectacular view.
The snorkeling is good here. The park has mooring balls near the coral heads, to tie your dinghies to, while you snorkel. I need both a coral and tropical fish identification book. We see such a variety of fish and coral, but I know the names of only a few. Thankfully, I still haven’t seen any nurse sharks.
While here, we ran out of bread, and there’s no provisioning anywhere near here, sooo……. I baked bread (without a breadmaker) for the first time in my life! It turned out too. We’ve also run out of milk, and are now using powdered milk. I never liked it when I was a kid, but it’s actually OK. Most of our fresh veggies have been eaten, and I’m having to learn how to prep and cook with dried beans and lentils…. another learning curve for me. Fresh water is precious in the islands. You can’t just get it anywhere, and when you find it, it isn’t free (as it always was in the US). So, we now wash with brackish water, and rinse with fresh water. Trash disposal is also not always available, and when it is, there’s often a cost involved. Cruising in the islands is much different from cruising on mainland waterways!
I almost forgot one other quick note…. ‘just after picking up our mooring ball here, I happened to look down and noticed that the pin running through our rudder’s shaft, was working its’ way out!! OMG. We hadn’t expected that to be another something to keep an eye on. Losing our rudder would be a show stopper for me …. let’s hope that never happens.