Sunday, November 17, 2013

Warderick Wells

Posted by Sara

Our next two nights were spent at a beautiful spot called Warderick Wells Cay.  The park headquarters for the Exuma Land & Sea Park (which is made up of a bunch of islands including Shroud Cay and Hawksbill Cay which we just came from) is located at Warderick Wells Cay.  There is a headquarters office, about 8 nearby beaches, snorkelling, hiking trails on the island & 25 mooring balls.  There is more boat & small plane traffic here than we have seen anywhere so far as many of the nearby islands have small resorts & marinas.  There is an airstrip at Staniel Cay, about 15 nm south, so many people fly in there and travel to the local islands.

We picked up a mooring ball – again, we were the only boat in the entire  mooring field (one boat came later to join us but that was all).  Before going to the park headquarters to check in and pay our $20/night for our mooring ball, we got trapped on the boat by a torrential tropical rain storm.  Everyone was swimming in the salt water already as is our routine when we arrive somewhere – just jump in the water! – and the rains came.  We ended up having rain showers on the front of the boat.  Everyone shampooed up and the rain was strong enough to fully rinse everyone off.

The first day we did some snorkelling and dinghying to check everything out.  Alexander helped me make lettuce wraps for dinner and then we put on the generator and I did a load of laundry while we watched the James Bond movie ‘Thunderball’ in anticipation of seeing the Thunderball Grotto at Staniel Cay, our next planned stop.  The kids weren't too impressed with the special effects & and asked how we kept track of which of which woman Bond was with at any given moment.  We told them you just have to look at their hair colour as they really all look the same.

The second day, we had Finnish Apple Pancake for breakfast and got school out of the way then the kids all went snorkelling with Scot while I had some lone-time on the boat.  No hardship for me, I don’t really love snorkelling or diving.  Katie is really taking to it.  Last year in the BVIs she was nervous of the water but this year she is swimming with the 4 remoras who live under our boat.  You won’t find even my toe in the water with them!

There were remoras under our boat the whole time we were in Warderick Wells.  I was not keen to get in the water with them.

Scot and the kids saw this lionfish while they were out snorkelling.  Beautiful, but venemous.  Another reason I'm not that keen to get in the water.  Scot made sure the kids all kept their distance from this guy.
In the afternoon we went to hike the famous ‘Boo Boo Hill Trail’, named after the ghosts ("boo! boo!") of a ship which wrecked off the hill.  Everyone is supposed to write their boat name on the piece of driftwood and leave it in a pile on the top of Boo Boo Hill in order to appease the spirits of those lost and to bring good luck for their own boat.  The kids were kind of groaning about going on a hike in the heat until we started off along the flat land – “Isn't their any uphill?  This isn't a hike without up hill!”  When we reached the top 11 minutes later with the beautiful view out over the east side of the island…”That wasn’t a hike!”  There were also some blow holes at the top which would blow up huge bursts of air.  It was a very calm day so I can imagine the spray coming out of them on a windy day.

This sperm whale skeleton sits on the beach at the Warderick Wells ranger station.  He apparently died from consuming plastic.

The legend of Boo Boo Hill.

Boo Boo Hill with all the placards from cruisers passing through over the years.
After the blow holes, we all looked up and saw some ominous looking clouds heading our way.  From our high point on the hill we could see our little boat moored down in the bay on the west side of the island.  Uh oh – rookie mistake – it was soooo hot when we left the boat that we left all the hatches wide open!  We decided to run for it to see if we could beat the rain to our bedding!

Nasty weather heading for the boat.  We have seen quite a lot of this lately.
On the way down from Boo Boo Hill we encountered a mini tornado!  It was circling just ahead of us and throwing up plants & debris in it’s wake.  It was about 30’ in diameter and luckily moved off to the south so we could continue on our trail.  We hopped into the dinghy (tied up at the park headquarters dock) and buzzed back to our boat.  We got all the hatches closed 5 minutes before another torrent of tropical rain came down. Yeah!

BBQ pork tenderloin with orange-rosemary sauce for dinner with wild rice, grilled zucchini  & Caesar salad.  After dinner we ran the generator and ran our water maker to top up our tanks.  We take about 4 days to use up one of our tanks (we have two 100 gallon tanks on the boat.)  The weather is supposed to get wild again for the next 3 days (winds up to 25-30 knots from the NE) so we'll be looking for some protected anchorages.

The Monashee galley.  Everything we need in a compact space to make some great meals.

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