We’ve spent almost a week at the heart of the Exuma Land and Sea Park, Warderick Wells. A long island with a diverse population of plant, animal and sea life, the east side is open to the blue expanse of the Exuma Sound, the west to low sand banks dotted with the occasional rocky island. It’s also home to a small park headquarters but other than checking boats in, assigning their moorings and housing a little gift shop/museum there isn’t anything else on this remote island.
Let’s define remoteness by Warderick Wells standards … no fresh water (other than what we carry in our tanks or can be made through onboard watermakers), no trash disposal (we’re constantly surprised by how much packaging we still have despite trying to strip most away before bringing onboard), no public restrooms, no grocery, nor laundry facilities. Despite needing to be fully self-sufficient aboard Kaleo, we feel like we have more than we need here and are so abundantly blessed to be experiencing its beauty and peacefulness. It’s a must-stop for any cruisers visiting the Exumas.
We’re at the north mooring field ($15/day for our boat size), secured in a ribbon of deep turquoise water surrounded by low lying sand banks with what seems like our own private beach just yards away. Strong currents sweep through twice a day changing the direction Kaleo points from morning till dusk. In between swinging on the mooring, we’ve spent each day doing something a little different:
- Exploring the island and beaches by morning and lounging/swimming/napping by afternoon
- Hiking around Banshee Creek, up to the famous BooBoo Hill and around to BooBoo Beach. BooBoo Hill is named so because of a schooner that sank nearby many years ago. All souls perished in the disaster and no bodies were recovered for a proper burial. Locals say that by climbing to the top of the hill under a full moon you can hear the lost souls singing hymns. Fortunately, the moon we have is keeping these “BooBoo” ghosts away. So far.
- Climbing around the blow holes on the northeastern side of the island (requires careful steps while traversing sharp rocky ground)
- Creating our boat sign while watching Captain Ron aboard Storyville
- Trekking to the top of BooBoo Hill to leave our boat sign alongside many other cruiser who have come before us. It’s tradition to make a sign with your boat name, hailing port and date to place on the cairn atop BooBoo Hill. This spot is densely covered with signs left as offerings for good weather or to placate the ghosts that inhabit the island.
- Snorkeling a reef and swimming on the sand banks to see incredible underwater sea life like a Nurse shark and sting ray just a few feet below the surface
- Discovering the pages of books we’ve been wanting to read for months
- Lounging in our hammock on deck (finally getting to use one of my birthday presents from Matt)
- Cooking (and actually enjoying learning to cook) some new recipes like whole grain lasagna with spinach, feta and ground turkey and creating ones of our own like red quinoa and black bean stuffed bell peppers
- Learning more about and visiting with friends
- Playing with the local and curious Bananaquit, a small yellow and black bird that confidently eats sugar from your hand
- Going to bed under a star swept sky with each other every night
Warderick Wells does have the benefit of satellite Internet which costs $10 for 24 hrs or 100 megabytes (MB) of data, whichever comes first. It seems to be enough time to Skype for awhile, check emails and facebook, and update our blog with some photos but not enough to include video. We’ll have to post the videos we’ve taken once we get somewhere with more bandwidth. While it does get expensive to stay digitally connected, we’re grateful for technology bridging the miles to family and friends. Plus, who can get too frustrated with slower or even lack of instant service with a reminder like this as written on the internet “Things to Remember” paper we’re given from the park headquarters, “If you think the Internet connection is too slow, take a look around you and enjoy the scenery and the setting … after a long look at the different shades of blue water, the sandy beaches, and the beauty of the park, your page should be back up and ready for you to try again”.
Our plan is to sail to Bell Island tomorrow and then Cambridge Cay after that. We probably won’t have Internet for a while but you can keep up with our location by clicking the globe in the upper left-hand side of the site. Until next time, we’re sending you sunshine from the Exumas to warm your week.
24° 23.75 N / 76°37.93 W