Sunday, 20 March 2016

Made it to the Exuma Land and Sea Park!

This will get posted a little later than I’m writing it, as we’re now sitting in a pretty, though rolly anchorage in the Exuma Land and Sea Park, with no connection for the next few days L. We’ve been trying to make it back here to the park since we by-passed it on the way from Florida three years ago!

We’ve spent the last week steadily making our way up here in gorgeous, calm, turquoise water, with no wind (unfortunately). But we’ve anchored in some amazing places along the way, including Rat Cay, Little Farmers Cay – a wonderful little settlement where we had breakfast at their tiny perfect “yacht club”, and Staniel Cay, where we wandered the roads and trails, ate a great lunch at a local spot, and bought fresh fish from the fisherman at the Yacht Club dock. As they cleaned the fish, they threw the waste back into the water, to be quickly gobbled up by the nurse sharks and stingrays, who come for “dinner” every day at 3:00 pm.

Then we motored for three hours to the Exuma park, which is a conservation area, known for its snorkeling and hiking grounds. For the last few days, various parts of the boat have been giving up – our anchor light, GPS, autopilot – all necessary, though we were managing without them. Then today, everything started working again (except the anchor light) – yeah!!

That was great – but then we were surprised, towards the end of our trip today, by a rogue wind that blew (on our nose) up to 24 knots, unexpectedly (not predicted until next Tuesday!). We bashed our way through 3-foot rollers and anchored in a spot that was so rolly our stuff was flying around below at anchor L.

Not great, we agreed – let’s move. So we moved to the Park’s mooring field and with lots of difficulty because of the heavy wind, managed to pick up a mooring on the third try and tied ourselves up in a more protected place, close to the beach, for easy dinghy access tomorrow. Much better – we relaxed and congratulated ourselves with gins and tonic, and are looking forward to exploring the park tomorrow. More anon.

(Written the next day …)

Today we took a treacherous hike over a marked coral head trail (cairns of rock piled as markers) – exciting and exhausting. Our guests hiked for three hours to reach the admin. building in the Park, where they paid for our mooring and got a weather forecast. Jeff and I decided to turn back halfway, and went back to our dinghy on the beach to wait for our friends. They arrived back with the news that two storms were on their way – so we all boarded Sea Change and high-tailed it back to a safe, quiet harbor at Staniel Cay. Looks like we’ll need to try another year to snorkel in the Exuma Park.

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