Sunday, February 28, 2010
Exuma Land and Sea Park
Follow the deeper, darker water is what the Park person will tell you as you enter the Park at Warderick Wells. You have to be a believer. Just do it. Ignore the absolutely dry land 50 feet off to your port when you enter at low tide. Pick up your mooring and settle in to ride out the storm.
Getting into the Park around the time of fronts is nearly impossible. There are maybe 20 moorings in the North Anchorage, another 6 in the South, and endless ones at Emerald Rock, which is the last place you want to be in any winds with a westerly component. Like when a front comes. You can move yourself up the list, and actually trump a lot of folks who have previously asked for a mooring, if you join the Bahamas National Trust, which you can do during your first visit here. By contributing $60 towards the maintenance of all things natural in the Bahamas, you will receive one night mooring for free ($20 for a boat our size), and that $40 left over will go along way to helping to keep the beauty in the Bahamas. And get you trumping rights for a mooring.
While still in Nassau we phoned our friends on Celebrian whom we knew to be in an anchorage near the Park so they could participate for us in the 9 am call during which you request a mooring on VHF Ch09. Because we had made that donation, we got the only mooring available that day, since demand was up with big winds forecast for two days hence. That gave us one day of settled weather in which to take advantage of the Park after our ten hour trip getting here.
We opted to snorkel and were disappointed to find the reefs were no way near as vibrant as they had been at Pipe Creek this year. I think a lot of the reef has died off since last year. Disappointing and scary for our future generations. Here are some shots Peter took during our exploration:
And here is a shot of one of our stowaways. We kept chasing these guys out of the cockpit, and then they got brave and began showing up below decks. Cute, but not when they are pecking at your bananas.