A PERIPATETIC JOURNEY
not all who wander are lost
With gingerbread in the oven and Marin working on holiday decorations, we sailed south to Warderick Wells in the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. The north mooring field is located in a narrow J-shaped channel surrounded by shallow water. Very shallow water. We'd seen it on the charts and in photos and it looked a bit intimidating. To add to our discomfort, while underway to Warderick Wells, we heard park staff being dispatched to help a boat that had run aground in the mooring field. He said something like, "The same thing happened between 3 and 4 that happened earlier this week. Can you go over and help?" And to the unlucky boater, "You have to stay in the dark blue water. Stay in the dark blue water." Hmmmmm. As we entered the field, we clearly saw the dark blue water, but we also saw the moorings that we needed to pass on the way to ours (mooring balls 1-15, all but two already occupied). Because of the influence of wind and current, some of the moored boats were lying partly in the dark blue water and the space between them and the light blue (shallow) water seemed a bit tight. Fortunately there was more room than first appeared. We made it to mooring 16 without incident, although at times it felt like we could almost reach out and shake hands with the occupants of the boats as we passed by.
We had a wonderful few days at Warderick Wells socializing, snorkeling, swimming, baking, cooking, going for walks, and celebrating. Most afternoons around 4:30, cruisers gathered on the beach with snacks, drinks, and music. We enjoyed meeting new people as well as catching up with those we'd met previously. The Christmas Eve gathering was especially festive, with a potluck, colored lights, Christmas music, and Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving by dinghy! Park staff always joined the gatherings and often brought barbecue! It was interesting to talk to them and hear about life in the Bahamas. The park is staffed with Bahamas National Trust Employees and members of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force, who help with enforcement. At one of the evening gatherings, we spent some time talking with one of the Defense Force officers and learned that the fishing boat we encountered in the Berry Islands (the one that was coming right at us and didn't answer our calls on the VHF) was most likely a poacher from the Dominican Republic.
Our mooring was swimming distance to the Coral Garden, a snorkeling spot with many fish and healthy corals. We often saw one or two sea turtles swimming near the boat. We also saw spotted eagle rays, stingrays, and nurse sharks. The highest point on Warderick Wells is called Boo Boo Hill, supposedly named for the wailing of ghosts of past shipwrecked sailors that can be heard during the full moon. The views from there are incredible. Another reason to climb to the top of Boo Boo Hill is to please Neptune by adding one's boat's name to the driftwood pile at the top. It is quite a collection!
We stayed at Warderick Wells for two more nights and two more days. After dropping the mooring on the morning of the 27th, we made our way back through the mooring field, saying goodbye and exchanging well wishes with friends on other boats. Next stop: Little Hall's Pond Cay, aka Johnny Depp's Island.
McGlynn family 5 (Isla, Marin, Eoin, Kendall, and Brian) sailing Counting Stars