February 23 – March 3, 2014
Although the park technically starts at Shroud Cay, we started our Land and Sea Park adventure at Hawksbill Cay. If you’ve never heard of the Land and Sea Park in the Exumas (I sure hadn’t) please take a moment to read about it here. It is a beautiful place that is being cared for by some very smart folks!
We had a nice sail over from Norman’s Cay and took a mooring at Hawksbill. Moorings throughout the Land and Sea Park are $15 a night and the money supports the Park. We rowed over to the drop box (at Hawksbill, you leave your mooring fee in a drop box) and found a path that takes you to the top of a hill. The view was beautiful!
The next day was JR’S BIRTHDAY! He wanted to sail to the Land and Sea Park headquarters located in Warderick Wells Cay. We reserved a mooring in the North Field, which is insanely beautiful. The moorings circle around a sand bar and make this pretty little half circle. I could not get a pic to do it justice so just visit their site and read about the great work they are doing to protect the fishes, hutia, and vegetation of the Exumas. We visited the park office to pay our fees and buy some internets ($15 for 100MB or 24 hours! What!?) It lasted us 2 hours.
Shortly after we heard from some lovely folks we had met back in Bimini. They were moored in Warderick Wells too and invited us to dinner on their boat. We thought it was a nice thing to do to celebrate JR’s birthday, so we headed over to Dare II for a yummy BBQ dinner that Whitney had canned before they left Pensacola, FL in January! Their boat is super interesting as it is not a cruising boat at all, it’s a racing tri-maran. Their living space is more like a tiny studio apartment, and they don’t have refrigeration! But, they are happy as can be and love their boat so much! Check out the deets here, they charter it during the summer season. Anyway, we had dinner, drinks and then chowed down on Chips-A-Hoy and Oreos for dessert :) I was gonna make a cake but we were out of eggs and it was too hot that day. Saaaawee Jake <3
We stayed in Warderick Wells for 3 days and did a bunch of hiking, snorkeling, and swimming. One of the cruisers “must sees” is Boo Boo Hill. You walk Boo Boo Trail to the top of a hill and leave a piece of driftwood decorated with your boat’s name as an offering to the good weather gods. There was a HUGE pile of treasures that had been left and we spent a significant amount of time reading and looking for things marked by our friends.
Warderick has a pretty extensive snorkeling and hiking guide that we used a ton. The Park puts little mooring balls in places that have good snorkeling so that you can tie up your dinghy! How nice is that!? The hiking trails are also nicely labeled!
Last stop on our Land and Sea Park adventure was at Cambridge Cay and we timed it so that we met up with some friends from… well, let’s see… they are from Virginia, but I virtually met her through blogging last summer, then we met them in person in Cocoa, FL and again in Vero Beach, so we know them from… cruising, I guess! Anyway, we met up with Annette and Anthony and had a nice dinner with them aboard Magnolia. I also finally baked JR’s birthday cake, so we re-celebrated his birthday, which worked out nicely for Anthony because he has quite a sweet tooth much like JR! For the record, 2 tablespoons of Mayo can be substituted for 1 egg in cake batter. Thanks Boat Galley ;)
The next day, we did some snorkeling around O’Brien’s Cay, mainly the “Sea Aquarium” as it is known.
The Sea Aquarium is located right across from Little Halls Pond Cay, which happens to be owned by JOHNNY FREAKING DEPP! JR tied the dinghy anchor to my ankle to ensure that I did not jump ship and start swimming toward Johnny. Also, Anthony conveniently decided not to snorkel so that he could “watch the dinghies.” I think those 2 boys were in cahoots! Johnny’s island was quaint with only a few piratey signs that said “private beach.”
When we got back to the boat, both crews decided to continue with the snorkeling theme and hike Honeymoon Trail to check out the coral off of the beach. It was nice.
Later, Anthony and Annette came over to Journey for dinner and drinks and Anthony broke our boat. It was an accident and I’ll have to save the story for another post, but I’m thinking I’ll title it, “Where Not to Grab After Two Dark and Stormies” or “When Seamless Sailors Attack” or “Leave Our Canvas Alone!” or “Top Ten Reasons to Use the Head and Not the Bow” or some variation of those :)
We ended up staying an additional day, although not planned, so on Sunday morning we waived bye to Uncle Anthony and Auntie Annette, as Leo now calls them, and had our first horrible, no good, very bad day. You read about that, right? We spent the rest of that day trying to shake the funk we were in and had a beautiful hike to Bell Rock.
If you ever have the opportunity to check out the Land and Sea Park, please do it!