Winding our way down the Exuma Cays
Mar 2, 2007
|One of the best parts of cruising the Bahamas is the diversity of the different islands.
Leaving Eleuthera and crossing the Exuma Sound to the Exuma Cays brings us to a whole different world. We are truly in the heart of the Bahamas now as we poke our way south along this island chain that covers 140 miles from north to south and apparently includes 365 different cays or islands.
Exuma is a popular destination for many cruisers and we are seeing many more boats than we did in Eleuthera. Our first stop was at Allen's Cay, not quite at the top of the chain but close to it. Allen's Cay is known for it's large population of rock iguanas and nobody can resist going to shore for some pics of these prehistoric looking creatures.
We took a couple of carrots and a banana with us and as soon as the iguanas realized we had food they came from all directions, out of the trees and across the beach for treats. We didn't get too close because they have been known to bite.
Our next stop was at Norman's Cay with it's infamous history. One of the longest cays in the Exumas at 6 miles long and an average of 1000 feet wide, Norman's was the base for a very profitable cocaine smuggling operation in the 70's and 80's. All that remains of this period are a few bullet holes in some of the building and a sunken sea plane in the harbour. We took the dingy over and got right up beside the wreck.
We anchored along the western shore of Norman's Cay and the scene was like a picture on a calendar, the ones with water that looks too clear and perfect to be true. Gorgeous as it was, the roll started shortly after we went to bed and by 4 a.m. we were both up and by 5 we were sitting drinking coffee waiting for the sun to come up so we could leave.
We left our transom door open and our precious clear bottomed bucket blew overboard in the night. We searched for it in the dingy for a few minutes but it's something like looking for a needle in a haystack. GONE just when we have reached probably the best looky bucketing as I read it called in one of our guides. It will be quite a while before we reach anything resembling a town with a store so we will just have to survive without it.
Late this morning we arrived at the Warderick Wells Cay, headquarters for theExuma Cays Land and Sea Park, a designated resplenishment area for all of the Bahamas. The park encompasses 176 square miles, 15 major cays and several smaller ones. There are no developments in the park and no fishing, shelling, conching, lobstering or taking anything whatsoever from land or sea.
John and I hiked the trail to the top of Boo Boo Hill for a stunning view of the anchorage and surrounding area. On the way back a little birdie let me get really close to snap a picture. Apparently the grouper and lobsters and equally curious and don't retreat to their hidey holes like they would in a non-park setting. Cool! Now all I need is to find somewhere to develop my underwater film (haha).