Monday, April 20, 2009

The Return of the Boat Rooster

The boat rooster is back - we thought she had disappeared for good but no, she's back!! Bootsie has decided that 6:30 am is really about as late as I should sleep - therefore I am sitting here in the pilothouse watching the first rays of the sun crest the hill on Hog Cay. Not a horrible sight to wake up to that's for sure but another even half hour of sleep wouldn't be such a bad thing!! She is sleeping peacefully next to me on the settee now of course with such an angelic look on her face that I have to laugh - she of course got what she wanted!!

Oh well, I guess I get the pleasure of some quiet time watching the sun rise over a perfect slice of paradise - thanks Bootsie!!

Mother Nature is still gusting about 15-20 knots so we have stayed in our protected anchorage between Hog Cay and Warderick Wells Cay and while we wait out the weather, we have been thoroughly enjoying the Exuma Land and Sea Park.

Two days ago we decided to explore Hog Cay which is the island that separates our quiet, tranquil anchorage from the often raging Exuma Sound (with sustained heavy winds the Sound gets downright ferocious!!) We dinghied in to Escape Beach (seriously, that's what it is called) and set out to see the blowholes - were we in for a show!!

The Sound side of the Cay is largely jagged volcanic rock that is pockmarked with sinkholes where erosion has had its way and the waves crash so violently that plumes of sea spray explode 10-15 feet in the air.

As we watched the violence of nature play out in the crashing of the waves against the rugged rock cliffs all of our senses were engaged- while you see the waves crashing against the craggy rock, you not only feel the cool salty spray against your skin but you taste it on your tongue as it permeates the very air around you and the sound you hear as the water shoots against and under the rocks is like thunder. You even smell the the salty seaweed that is hurled up against the rocks that collects in little puddles and crevices and combines with the scent of the sparse vegetation which grows on such a rugged coast like the seven year apple (which is reported to taste so bad that if you eat one, it would be seven years before you'd do it again) and the sea grapes.

The experience of Hog Cay is so distinctive though because the other side of the Cay (which is a mere 50 yards or so and in places not even that) has exquisitely tranquil turquoise and emerald water that could not be more at odds with the fury being unleashed on its less protected outer bank. What is so cool about this Cay is that from most places you can see both sides - the raging and furious Sound crashing with full force against the rocky cliffs and the gin clear turquoise water lapping gently against several white sand beaches!! The dichotomy is breathtaking and I'm sure our pictures won't even be able to do it justice!!!

As we explored the cliffs we came upon several cairns which are pilings of rock that have been built by passing cruisers as an offering to the Gods for safe passage and fair weather - they are often also used as navigation aids as the red and green buoys we are so reliant on in the States are virtually non-existent down here.

We of course had to add a rock to each one as is the tradition.

We also saw some funky birds with red beaks that had a cry/laugh that we heard long before we saw them.

They and the ever present geckos were about the only wildlife we saw though!!

That afternoon, after collecting driftwood and other natural things (sea fans, sponges and shells) for our boat sign which we need to make to bring to the top of Boo Boo Hill (it's tradition), we all hung out on the beach enjoying the warmth of the sunshine and playing with Cassie and Godiva (September Song's boat dogs). That evening after Colleen gave Vicki and Bob a haircut at Chez Gypsies, we had dinner on Gypsies! You know we're all having fun when the rum bottles (yes not singular) appear out on the table!!! Enough said....

Yesterday was a beach day - we all dinghied around Warderick Wells Cay to Emerald Beach, a beautiful strip of white powder sand situated between several cliffs and thus protected from the wind!! Lynnie and Rick on Rickshaw (who are in the North Anchorage) even met up with us for the afternoon. After several days of hiking the islands, sitting in a beach chair with my feet in the warm sand felt really good - as did the cold beers after we snorkeled several of the coral heads off the beach. This is the life!!! Even the "killer attack geckos" that seemed to love Colleen and Vicki (the small one was even showing off for them by doing pushups - I can't make this stuff up - I'm just not that creative!) couldn't drive us from the beach until well after the sun was over the yardarm...and the cooler was running low!!

Today we have boat chores to do this morning chief among them is to make our boat sign for Boo Boo Hill - but Doug has some oil to change in the generator as well. The glamorous life of the boat mechanic..... Later we will dinghy over to the Park Headquarters (where we can get the internet) to send emails and post the blogs (often now we post more then one blog at a time since our internet connections are so infrequent so make sure to look for multiple posts).

Weather dependent of course, but our plan for tomorrow is to all head down to Cambridge Cay at the very southern end of the Park so that we can snorkel Rocky Dundas on Wednesday when the weather is supposed to be fairly calm!! Rocky Dundas are two large scrub-covered rocks off one of the islands that have caves containing stalagmite and stalactite formations!!! Explorers on a mission!!!

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