Tue 9 Mar 2010 19:17
Everyone woke early this morning. Garth & I were discussing how to move the boat further off the beach without waking the girls, when they declared they were awake. It was about 6:20. G got into the water (about a foot deep) and started pulling the boat by the anchor. A giant (5 foot) ray, maybe a Southern Stingray, glided out from under the boat and came straight for him. The ray veered off and then went about his feeding nearby. Garth, naturally, pursued him with the camera. The ray hovered gently in the area for about five minutes as we all got a good look.
Soon the Park Warden arrived by boat to tell us we couldn't anchor near the beaches of Warderick Wells. Chris, the warden, was very kind in breaking the news to us that we were breaking the rules. We moved Sea Fever to a beautiful little beach around the western side of Narrow Water Cay, an small islet next to Warderick. Garth rowed us all to the headquarters on Warderick, where we lugged our laptop, in a dry bag, in high anticipation of uploading photos that Garth has spent hours selecting, reducing, and captioning. The woman behind the desk at Headquarters told us that internet connection was only available to boats on moorings. Thinking that perhaps money was the problem--I suggested that we pay for a mooring ($15) and then not use it. We'd rather be anchored off our little private beach than in the parking lot of the mooring field. She sternly repeated: internet access (not free, mind you) is only available to people on moorings. Why? We couldn't figure that out. We had the distinct vibe that we got from Highbourne marina. "Not for the likes of you," was how it felt. There seems to be a discriminatory mindset against people who don't buy moorings. I can understand this in a luxury marina like Highbourne that has facilities the marina guests' high slip fees make possible. There, they don't appreciate freeloaders like us. But here, in a park, where everyone is welcome to visit, and walk the trails, and learn from the signs, was the last place we expected this attitude, especially when we suggested we pay for a mooring just to be able to pay again for internet service. The downside is that we can't post photos on the diary today. And that the woman's stern derogatory tone put a damper on our enthusiasm. (Garth now refers to her as "Nurse Ratchett.")
On the bright side: lovely little yellow, white, and black birds, the Bahamian bananaquits visited our boat this morning, hoping to find bugs in our mast--they didn't, luckily. Then more little bananaquits ate sugar from the girls' hands. (The same woman as above invited the girls to feed the birds--that was partially redeeming). We walked the network of trails extending miles into the island. The girls were thrilled to see Boo Boo hill, a pile of signs that other boaters have left over the years, a tradition that is the one exception to the park rule against disturbing, taking, or leaving anything.
We've decided to leave tomorrow morning early and go 22 miles to Black Point settlement on the northern end of Great Guana Cay. That's skipping several cays that we will definitely want to visit. And we will want to spend more time in Warderick, even if just to leave a Sea Fever sign at Boo Boo Hill. Black Point has lots going for it: free water, and free internet at Lorraine's Cafe, along with a real Bahamian settlement--not a marina or tourist site set up for visiting yachters. We may be there several days, since weather is supposed to kick up late tomorrow afternoon.
We hope to upload photos on Thursday, or even tomorrow if the passage goes quickly.