Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

Sunrise over Warderick Wells and the Park Headquarters

Sunrise over Warderick Wells and the Park Headquarters

I awoke just before sunrise and went out on deck to watch the sun rise and enjoy the pleasurable serenity of the early morning. There was barely a breeze and just a few ripples on the water. I put some Chet Baker on the iPad and delighted in this idyllic location. After having sat on the deck for a few minutes, a graceful spotted eagle ray swam beneath the boat with elegance and beauty. As I sat on the front deck, I could not help but feel thankful for our position – thankful that we have been favored by our gracious God to be here in the Bahamas, sitting atop our own 15-foot-deep aquarium with gin clear waters, watching all sorts of aquatic creatures play and swim beneath our boat. And, any time the mood strikes I can jump into these unclouded seas and become a part of their world, watching and enjoying their every move.

The early morning sun paints the landscape with a ruddy appearance

The early morning sun paints the landscape with a ruddy appearance

A view of our anchorage

A view of our anchorage

Spotted Eagle Ray swimming by our boat in the anchorage

Spotted Eagle Ray swimming by our boat in the anchorage

A shot of the anchorage

A shot of the anchorage

After prayer, Shakespeare, and a little reading, I started the watermaker to make some water. That thing is priceless. What a luxury to have your own desalinator/water maker to replenish your supply as needed. We still try to be frugal with our water, but it is nice to know that we can make more when we need it. Our water consumption goes up the more we get into the water around us since we need to wash the salt water off our equipment, clothing, and selves. We also use more water when we eat on board more frequently since that entails doing dishes.

Beatitude on her mooring ball

Beatitude on her mooring ball

We've had this 4-gallon solar shower on board since we bought the boat but just started using it.  The bag (hanging in foreground) is filled with water and placed on the deck where the sun heats it to a comfortable temperature.

We’ve had this 4-gallon solar shower on board since we bought the boat but just started using it. The bag (hanging in foreground) is filled with water and placed on the deck where the sun heats it to a comfortable temperature.

After turning on the water maker, we both slipped into our wet suits, climbed into Dalí and took off for the Malabar Cays, a cluster of small islands about a mile and a half south of our anchorage. We found a patch of coral and slid into the water to snorkel for a while. We again saw numerous fish and a fairly large barracuda patrolling the reef. It is hard to be disappointed with water so clear. Everywhere we find coral, we find abundant sea life.

Ready to snorkel at the Malabar Cays

Ready to snorkel at the Malabar Cays

Cindy, in full snorkeling mode

Cindy, in full snorkeling mode

A beautiful angelfish at Malabar Cays

A beautiful angelfish at Malabar Cays

A snail on a sea fan

A snail on a sea fan

Bluehead Wrasse

Bluehead Wrasse

We returned to Beatitude shortly after noon for a tasty lunch consisting of chicken salad sandwiches. After finishing up making water, we hopped into our dinghy and went over to the park headquarters again for wifi. After a thirty-minute exercise in near futility (although I was was able to publish a blog post I had already prepared), we went on a hike to the top of Boo Boo Hill. This hill is so named because of the ghosts which are linked to it. Many years ago, the legend goes, a ship wrecked just off shore in a severe storm. The story goes that, upon the arrival of the full moon, one can hear the ghosts of those on board singing hymns from atop this hill. Their is a cairn at the top of the hill where pieces of driftwood are placed by cruisers and visitors to the island. We, having not brought our own piece of driftwood, inscribed a remembrance of our own visitation on the back of an already existing piece of wood.

"Stinky," one of four pilot whales which were beached on Norman Cay years ago.

“Stinky,” one of four pilot whales which were beached on Norman Cay years ago.

A view of the beach from the Park Headquarters

A view of the beach from the Park Headquarters

Yep.  We're here!

Yep. We’re here!

Remains of a beached sperm whale.

Remains of a beached sperm whale.

On the way to Boo Boo Hill, crossing Banshee Creek (a saltwater "creek" which fills in with the tide.

On the way to Boo Boo Hill, crossing Banshee Creek (a saltwater “creek” which fills in with the tide.

Cindy atop Boo Boo Hill at the site of the cairn.

Cindy atop Boo Boo Hill at the site of the cairn.

Beatitude's memento on Boo Boo Hill.

Beatitude’s memento on Boo Boo Hill.

Not far from the cairn are a couple of blow holes from which, when the sea is large, water shoots high into the sky as waves enter caves at the water line and sea water is forced up and out of these holes high above. The seas were calm on the day of our visitation, so there was no water being blown upwards through the holes. There was, however, a brisk blast of air up from these holes every time the waves entered the cave. Cindy and I could not help but be reminded of one of our favorite movies, Fool’s Gold starring Matthew MacCaugnahey and Kate Hudson. The beautiful tropical scenery of that movie also reminds us of the beauty of the Exumas.

Blow holes:  At this time, like some people you may know, only spewing hot air.

Blow holes: At this time, like some people you may know, only spewing hot air.

The Exuma Sound side of Warderick Wells as seen from Boo Boo Hill

The Exuma Sound side of Warderick Wells as seen from Boo Boo Hill

Looking out over Exuma Sound

Looking out over Exuma Sound

Exum Sound scenery

Exum Sound scenery

Looking southward down the sound side of Warderick Wells

Looking southward down the sound side of Warderick Wells

Looking down the spine of the island.  Exuma Banks to the right and Exuma Sound to the left.

Looking down the spine of the island. Exuma Banks to the right and Exuma Sound to the left.

After walking back from Boo Boo Hill, we returned to Beatitude for a few moments prior to a little bit more snorkeling. Cindy stayed in the dinghy while I snorkeled once again at the Ranger’s Garden, just south of our mooring. It was, as before, splendid snorkeling. In addition to the usual beautiful fishes, I encountered a lemon shark and a fairly large barracuda. This day was filled with just the kind of diversions that I had imagined when we first planned to go cruising. It was my version of the perfect day in paradise.

From atop the hill, Beatitude in background

From atop the hill, Beatitude in background

Cindy, on the path returning from Boo Boo Hill

Cindy, on the path returning from Boo Boo Hill

A lemon shark in the shade beneath our dinghy when we returned from our hike

A lemon shark in the shade beneath our dinghy when we returned from our hike

Lemon shark resting on the bottom in about 12 feet of water as I snorkeled above.

Lemon shark resting on the bottom in about 12 feet of water as I snorkeled above.

Parrotfish

Parrotfish

Beautiful Yellowtail Snapper

Beautiful Yellowtail Snapper

Barracuda lurking

Barracuda lurking

Cindy waiting in Dalí as I return from snorkeling

Cindy waiting in Dalí as I return from snorkeling

3 thoughts on “Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

  1. So cool! It is unbelievable how clear the water is and how gorgeous the blue water and sky is! I bet days like this makes you so thankful you followed your dream of sailing 🙂 Happy for you guys! Ily

  2. Thank you for taking me away from all this snow with your picture. Truly refreshing . I am enjoying my journey with you so much. Be safe and God bless.

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