Warderick activities then on to Black Point on Great Guana Cay
At Black Point in position 24:06.04N, 76:24.02W
We had a great sail from Cambridge Cay to Warderick on the ocean side and by sheer coincidence timed our arrival just as Tom & Chris on Polar Pacer were exiting the south mooring field. Not missing the opportunity out came the cameras and we snapped away at each other's boats.
Our view of Polar Pacer - a Prout Snowgoose ...and their view of Ajaya (our first pics under sail)
We stayed four nights on the mooring at Warderick Wells and with friends in the same area we were not alone for long. The regular Saturday beach bonfire with anyone caring to go ashore kicked things off with everybody taking an hors d'oeuvre to share. The weather was pleasantly warm and sunny particularly Sunday 9th when we chose to walk almost the length and breadth of the island - a few miles over quite challenging terrain. The water on the Exuma Sound side was flat calm giving a wonderful view of the coral reefs that extend out from most islands in the chain. It looked very inviting for a swim but neither of us took a swimsuit or a towel to dry off with so we just kept walking along the coastal trail before heading across the narrowest part of the island to the leeward side where similarly the water was crystal clear. There we could see a solitary stingray exploring the small coves. The trails on this side of the island require the dexterity of a mountain goat and at one time the 'Admiral' slid down a sandy slope landing with a bump on her 'derry'. Fortunately there was no physical damage and we proceeded with more caution. Further on we spotted a dead Hutia on the track - well, Phil had somehow stepped over the body as he could hear a swarm of 'somethings' in the vacinity and didn't wait around to find out just what the swarm consisted of. (This is perhaps a hangover from the last long walk at Warderick when he almost stepped onto a brown snake that was crossing the path). The 'Admiral' perhaps being just that much closer to the ground could see that the swarm was of flies that were well and truly getting stuck into the lifeless furry body. Yuk! But it was a nice walk and amazingly we met with no other hikers all day. (Must take the sun lotion next time!)
There are few places to see live Conch in the Bahamas The youngsters 'frolicking' in the shallows
During our visit we got together with friends Tom and Chris and being the extremely generous people they are, they brought over some delicious Wahoo steaks and a freshly caught Tuna Sushi. This was shared with Randy and Jeannie from Mutual Fun. It was the perfect recipe for a great evening with Tom taking over control of the Ajaya barbecue as we generally incinerate most fish that we cook. Wahoo has to be some of the best tasting fish we have the opportunity to catch and these were big big steaks! The deal was that they bring the fish etc and we would provide the salads and plates and wash up afterwards. Everybody supplied their own liquid refreshment which is the norm on this side of the pond. Later on after dark beneath the boat we could see large yellowtail Jacks and an even larger Nurse Shark around 5 feet waiting for any leftovers on offer of which there was very little. In fact just the small pieces that ran down the galley sink into the sea. They certainly wouldn't get fat under our boat.
Our 'Admirals' - Jeannie, Chris & you know who in fine form The 'skips' - Phil, Tom & Randy
We walked to the top of Booboo Hill again to try and find our piece of driftwood with our boat name painted on which we left last spring. We couldn't see it anywhere amongst the huge pile of driftwood. We must have turned over just about every piece looking for it. We saw other familiar boat names - some on such large pieces of wood they must have needed two persons to carry them up the hill. But sadly not a sign of our own - maybe we should have taken a larger piece to leave. Still, it kept us occupied for an hour and we did met up with some other friends whilst there. It seems every cruising yacht in the Bahamas eventually sails into Warderick Wells to leave their own mark on Booboo hill.
Sign says it all - take only pictures, leave only footprints We've met a few of these boats along the way
It's easy to become too comfortable in the Park. The place has a magical feel and with the boat safely secured to a mooring at just $15 per day you can walk round the island or go snorkelling knowing your boat will still be in the same place when you get back. As in the Galapagos a lot of the wildlife seems tame or at least tolerant of human visitors allowing some very special moments to be captured on camera. There is no time limit on your visit - the length of stay being determined by how much food and water you carry. There are no shops selling provisions or restaurants to eat at so sooner or later everyone is 'forced' to vacate the mooring to re-provision somewhere else leaving it free for another vessel to move off the daily waiting list and have their turn.
Risking a sharp peck for his troubles! (Bananaquits) The causeway over the mangrove lagoon
View from the Park HQ Dinghies three by three off the Park HQ
Trail through the wilder parts of the island Quiet coves to explore on the ocean side
Returning to the dinghy after one of our walks we spotted a Nurse Shark closeby and took a much better picture as previous attempts had been awful. They are not seen as dangerous and nobody in the Bahamas has lost their life swimming with them. Certainly less aggressive than the Barracuda which requires the utmost respect especially as they have a tendency to disappear from view then as if by magic appear behind you scareing you witless.
'Nursey' just crusin' by the dinghy the dark shape of a stingray in one of the coves
We left the Park on Wednesday as the weather was about to turn nasty, the laundry was still festering together with two large sack-fulls of rubbish stuffed into various lockers which we needed to find a new home for. The wind was due to gradually build during the day and start screaming from a north-easterly direction late afternoon and overnight. We woke to cloudy skies and heavy rain showers - a nuisance as we had rented a DVD from the Park HQ two nights previous and had only watched it the preceding evening, meaning a wet dinghy ride to the drop-off box on the pier half a mile away.
We decided to head for Black Point by the inside route just in case the weather deteriorated sooner than forecast so avoiding a possible rough entrance through Dotham Cut from the ocean side. This was a shame as we were hoping to bag a nice fish in the deep drop-off zone. But we still trailed two small lures all the same just to see if there were any Snapper feeding on the banks. There weren't. Instead we hooked a scrawny looking fish, barely larger than the spoon it had taken, presumably relying on a fearsome set of small teeth as it's main armoury. Well they only served to get it into big trouble and we put both lure and fish back to see if something larger might go for it. Nothing did before we got to Black Point some twenty miles southwards but out of interest the line was left with the lure and fish still attached in the water overnight. By morning the rod could be seen pointing acutly downwards from its rail mount, the tip almost in the water with barely a trace of our little ugly friend with the teeth. Obviously a much larger fish with even larger teeth had paid us a visit overnight and devoured anything that was worth eating excluding the spoon with the hook. Wonder what it was?
Punching above it's weight! What a game fellow! An unhappy sunset - obvious when you've heard the forecast
Today the wind is howling as a frontal trough moves through the Bahamas bringing 25-30 knot winds. The laundry is still in the bag as it's too rough to get safely ashore, although we did pay a quick visit to Lorraine's Mum to buy a loaf of bread. Lorraine runs a cafe in the Black Point settlement and out the back in her own home her Mum helps with the family income by baking bread each and every day for visiting cruisers. White, wheat or coconut - all taste fantastic at $5 a loaf. You knock on the door and she shouts "come in" from somewhere inside - what trust in this day and age. We suspect there are few if any locked doors in these communities as life is still lived with an overiding sense of trust in your neighbours.
If the wind dies down we may treat ourselves to a meal at Lorraine's but it looks like we may be riding this weather for a couple of days before the Bahamas get back to their beautiful sunny best.