Monday, May 18, 2009

Hunkering Down in the Park

We are sitting on a mooring ball in the North mooring field at Warderick Wells Cay in the Exuma Land and Sea Park waiting out some nasty weather that is supposed to be rolling in over the next several days - Tuesday definitely does not sound fun!!! (depending on what weather you listen to, the forecast is for up to 40 knots of wind!!!). Not to worry, there is plenty to do up here and we are having a ball (as usual).
North Mooring Field

Before we left Big Major Spot, we had one more dinner with September Song and Susan and Jack from Freya - this time on Gypsies. We had some of the mahi Doug had caught on our run down to Georgetown - fresh mahi just rocks!!! Hopefully once we are out of the Park and can fish again, Doug can fill back up our freezer. We had a great night with good friends, watched a beautiful sunset and topped the evening off with brownies (Bob brought the milk since all Gypsies has on board is the powdered kind - we drink rum, we cook with milk....any questions?)
Dinner on Gypsies - Susan, Stephanie and Bob
Sunset from Gypsies in the Palace

The next morning despite some heavy winds, we set out for a different anchorage - as much as we love hanging out and getting to know a certain place, after awhile that wanderlust kicks in and we need to move on to a change of scenery. We had some following seas which in a sailboat are great, but in a powerboat, not so much - miraculously the boat kitties slept right through it!!
The Seasoned Boat Cats

I think even Bootsie has gotten her sea legs!! As we headed to starboard to turn into the mooring field, the winds kicked up (of course) and the seas hit us on the beam - luckily that didn't last for long but it made mooring an interesting feat!! However, pulling into the mooring field we were greeted by two other DeFevers - Cygnet and Utopia. September Song had met Utopia down in Staniel and as I've mentioned before, wherever 2 or more DeFevers are gathered, it turns into a party!! That night we all gathered on September Song for cocktails and met Linda and Chet from Cygnet and Kel and Herb on Utopia. We swapped stories and itineraries and generally had a great time!!
Cocktails on September Song - Chet, Doug and BobCocktails on September Song - Kel, Herb and Chet

The next day we had more boat chores to do (they never end) but took the afternoon off to do some hiking on the many varied trails throughout Warderick Wells Cay. Doug and I hiked all afternoon and hit a lot of the trails we hadn't done on the first pass through the Park.
Tammy on the "Sunshine Causeway"
We saw a lot of wildlife this time through - various birds and butterflies, geckos and hermit crabs although we still didn't see the Bahamian boa constrictor (Doug said he was just fine with that!!)

One of the great things about hiking down here are the views at every turn since the terrain is so varied. One minute we are passing through a mangrove swamp with red, black and white mangroves (yes we can actually tell them apart now!!)
Red MangrovesBlack Mangroves
and the next you are on an uphill climb through scrub palms on a marl trail with sink holes and craggy moonscape rock

and before you opens up either the calm turquoise blue water of the Bahama Banks
Bahamas Bank
Bahamas Bank

or the raging, crashing Exuma Sound against sheer rock cliffs - both are spectacular in their own way and the contrast is spellbinding, especially from the summit of a hill where you can see both laid out before you!!
The Sound
The Sound
The Sound
A lot of the trails end at a beautiful Bahamian beach many of which are marked with cairns of one form or another - yesterday we hit Butterfly Beach on the Banks and Boo Boo Hill Beach on the Sound!!!
Butterfly Beach
You also tend to see some really funky trees that grow in very weird ways along the trail

which make hiking fascinating albeit dangerous - you so want to constantly look up at the scenery and the views, but the rocky marl trails require constant vigilance on the ground to avoid tripping or spraining an ankle!!

Our goal was to head out to the end of the island but we only got as far as the blowholes (it was high tide and the seas were raging so the blowholes were pretty active - very cool!) The rest of the island was closed however for the white tail tropical bird nesting season - bummer but this is a natural park so protecting the wildlife is what this place is all about. We did learn something important though - Murphy is the island poltergeist - on one of the trails we had found Murphy's hideaway and just thinking it was a cool rock cave, Doug had climbed down into it to check it out - little did he know he was in the poltergeist's lair!!! If he starts flying around or his head starts to spin, at least we'll know what happened!!
Doug in Murphy's Hideout

The other night all the cruisers in the North mooring field had a cocktail party on the beach (in front of the sperm whale skeleton - no you just can't make this up). It is really fun talking to other cruisers - everyone has a story of how they came to live this life and where they've been traveling - and cruisers are generally a very unbashful group, eager to swap stories especially if there are cocktails and appetizers involved (and an appetizer is virtually anything you can stick a toothpick in!) We met a great guy from New Zealand and some others from Canada and Herb it turns out is from Austria (as well as several other European countries) - it was quite an international mix! But we all had one thing in common - the love of the sea and that certain kind of wanderlust!

Yesterday morning after a big breakfast (Sunday mornings if we aren't traveling we try and do a real breakfast!), we caught up on the blog and emails - there is a great internet connection in this anchorage because we are sitting right outside the Park headquarters so we are taking full advantage of it! From here on out, internet will be sketchy at best as our next couple anchorages are pretty remote - however, we'll probably be here through Tuesday which will allow me to find out if the Celtics win game 7!!! Go Celtics!!!

Yesterday was the first yucky day (weather-wise) that we've had since we hit the Bahamas - it rained on and off (not a real soaker which we were hoping for so as to clean some of the salt off the boat, but just scattered showers - just enough so you didn't want to go hiking or to the beach) and waas pretty windy. We've had tons of windy days down here but they have all been sunny so you could go and do something - yesterday we just hung around the boat and had a wonderfully relaxing day - lots of reading, popcorn, and boat kitty time. Puss and Boots hope today is a replay but our plan is to go hiking and maybe, just maybe plop our feet in the sand on some deserted beach!! Dinner tonight is spaghetti and meatballs on September Song with some new friends from the beach cocktail party - I might just make some rum balls for desert!!!

Click here to see our location in The Park.

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