Thursday, January 20, 2011

Exciting times in the Exumas

Thursday, 20 January, 2011

Boat plaques on top of Boo boo hill.

A shot of Painkiller from on top of Boo boo hill

Looking from our boat across the mooring.

The boats viewed from the mangrove flats on the island.
We left Rock Sound, Eleuthera, on Sunday and sailed with Messenger and a couple other boats also headed over to the Exumas.  It was a pretty rolly passage as the winds were on the starboard quarter, but overall it wasn't very rough.  We anchored behind Highborne Cay that night, snorkelled for the first time since Christmas (this time without wetsuits) and were treated to fresh skipjack tuna caught by Tony on s/v Endurance on the way over.  It was like a steak - I don't think I've ever had a better piece of fish.  They had us and all 4 Messenger's over for dinner and sent us home with leftovers that ended up being another fine dinner.  We left Highborne the next day on a pretty windy trip down to the Exumas Land and Sea Park at Warderick Wells. 

We are currently on a mooring at the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.  We arrived here late on Monday afternoon  after coming from Highborne Cay further up in the Exumas.  True to their reputation, the water here IS warmer and the air temperatures are around 80.  This is all fine with us since we've been wanting to snorkel without wetsuits and go without jackets so often.

We hiked along some of the many trails here in the park yesterday and today we hiked up to the top of "Boo boo hill" to put our boat name in the pile with many others immortalized there.  Unfortunately we weren't able to find a suitable piece of driftwood to use but we're sure our plaque will age quickly and blend in soon thanks to the sunshine here.  The hill got its name "boo boo" because there is a legend that you can hear voices singing hymns on full-moon the hill is thought to be haunted.  There was supposedly a ship of missionaries which ran aground and sank near here and those singing voices are from the ghosts of those lost.  Anyway, we've had a glorious full moon while here and nary a singing ghost has been heard.  We can't really say we're disappointed!

The water here is crystal clear and we've been able to snorkel and see many different types of fish.  We've also been treated to the appearance of 2 Eagle rays swimming nearby on 2 mornings.  They are gorgeous rays with dark brown coloring and white spots....very majestic and unusual looking.  We've also been visited by tiny birds with yellow chests called "bananaquits".  They are very friendly and will sit in your hand to eat sugar.  Today, one landed in our cockpit while I was eating an orange and he gladly joined me in the snack.
We also had a hummingbird land on one of our winches for a few seconds before taking back off. 

Since the park is so protected, no birds, fish or even shells can be removed from here and this causes the creatures here to be more outgoing than the norm.  There's even a huge barracuda here named "Bubba" whom we haven't seen but we hear he loves to hang around snorkelers, just watching them.

The island here is a mix of sand dunes, mangrove lowlands and jaggedy limesone slabs.  It's an unusual mix of terrain and we have to be very careful while hiking since the rocky paths are sharp and could do real damage if we fell.  Even so, it's a place of wild beauty with the mooring field on one side and the sound on the other.  The sound side has huge rocky cliffs all along it and the surf bursts up through myriad blow holes high above in the cliffs.  It's not hard to believe that pirates once hid here and preyed upon passing ships.  This land is as wild and lawless as they were.

There is a front coming through on Saturday, so we plan to stay here until it passes.  Then we'll head down towards Staniel Cay since we need to fill up on water, fuel, propane, and a some fresh food. 

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