Wind and Water

Tue 9 Mar 2010 01:13
24:23:26.5 N
76:37:36.7 W

Lilly writing: This morning (Monday) we did a drinking water check and figured we had about 4 to 5 days left, if we keep on our current consumption of 2 plus gallons a day. Our next stop--Warderick Wells, the Headquarters of the Exuma Land & Sea Park. Warderick Wells has always been a destination on our trip. The headquarters has information on fish/animals/plants and a network of trails throughout Warderick Wells, beautiful beaches, and it has WiFi available for $10 for 24 hrs, our opportunity to put some photos on the web diary. We always figured we'd spend a few days here, but Warderick Wells does not have water. The next cay that has water (reverse osmosis for 50 cents a gallon) is Compass Cay, south of Warderick Wells by about 15 miles or so, 3-4 hours by motor. That schedule seemed fine to us at first glance: get to Warderick Wells tomorrow, spend a few days, and get to Compass Cay just in time to refill water. But the wind forecast changed that plan. Wednesday looks to be strong winds (15-20) from the SE. Going from Warderick to Compass in those winds would be unpleasant--we'd be bashing directly into them and the waves they kick up. Also, a front is moving in behind that, which could mean that wherever we are on Wednesday, should be where we stay through the weekend, so getting water by Wed. seems necessary.

So, we decided to go to Warderick today (which is where we are now) to accelerate the arrival to Compass to happen before the higher winds. Before heading out on high tide, at around 2:00, which we'd need to get out of the lagoon, we had an incredible snorkling experience. We took Amazon for a row across the lagoon two two islands (now named Isabel Island & Rose Island). Off Rose, we snorkled off the shallow beach and over a ledge, swept gently by the current around the ironshore point and over an underwater coral garden, filled with brilliant fish and corals. We saw spotfin butterflyfish, juvenile anglefish, bar jack, sergeant majors, blue tangs and possibly baby blue tangs, and many other fish. I think I saw what might have been a Nassau grouper hiding in a little cave.

After our snorkel, we got back in Amazon and went to Isabel, where we had a little picnic and Garth and the girls swam (I was too chilly).
Again, we had gorgeous beaches all too ourselves. Where is everyone? we wondered.

Then we rushed back to Sea Fever (racing the tide), where we all, suddenly inspired, washed our hair. Quickly, Garth made pizza dough, and we left our lovely little lagoon, a day earlier than we had hoped, but feeling sated by the intense colors we'd seen today. We picked our way out between coral heads and sand bars. And navigated by charts and gps a windy route through channels to bring us back out to the wide Bahama Banks. We raised sail and flew along. After about two hours, we had to go East, and took down the sail to motor our way in. Rose took the tiller while Garth & I lowered the sail. Happy to steer, Rose remained at the tiller for nearly the next hour against the wind and waves as we came into Warderick Wells, past the mooring balls for deep draft boats. We came close to shore and found the most beautiful little cove, a beach surrounded by shore. Immediately, the girls jumped out, thrilled to see trail markers, and maps, which they started exploring. It was after 6:00, so the sun was setting. Garth made pizza with the dough (and after dinner the girls made buns--a good breakfast awaits). We have our little beach to ourselves for tonight, only. It's obvious by prints in the sand that it's a busy place by day. The boats at mooring have lights on in their cabins. It's odd to be in civilization again. We're not alone. We can't be raucous, or immodest. We hope the warden will let us stay here for the day. (If it turns out that anchoring is not allowed, we may have to take a mooring ball if one is available.) We will do as much on Warderick as we can, and then possibly leave tomorrow afternoon for Compass (or if weather predictions moderate, we may leave Wed. morning.)

We hope to post photos tomorrow.