Friday 21 March, 2014 was a nice sailing day. We hoisted the main at anchor and motor-sailed out of Governor’s Harbor. Most of the trip to Rock Sound was a broad reach with 2-3 ft following seas. As we turned up into the Harbor, it became a spirited close reach.
We anchored a couple hundred yards off shore along the town. As we settled in for sundowners, music began playing (loudly) from a local watering hole located next to Papa Site liquor store. It is evidently popular late into the night. I had never before heard the Caribbean version of “Stagger Lee”.
Saturday morning we were up ready for our 40 plus nautical mile ride to Warderick Wells. (Unusual for us.) However, also slightly unusual for us, we had two different visitors, so we were delayed an hour or so. We raised the main at anchor and motor-sailing for a while just to charge the batteries. We shut the engine down around 10 am and set sail for Warderick Wells Cay in the Exumas, another enjoyable broad reach with 2-3 ft seas. The forecast predicted winds and seas diminishing throughout the day. Instead they built. Seas became 5-6 with the occasional odd one. We decided to reef the main in part to see if my reefing system would be workable. It is, but it needs some fine tuning. Several years ago a retired sailmaker told us that when you think it is time to reef, don’t even bother with the first reef. Go right to the second. Well, the second reef is all I had set up, so we took his advice. It must have been good advice because the boat ran along nicely averaging 6.5 knots with occasional bursts over 7 while being driven by a double reefed main and a worn out roller furling 130% genoa.
Warderick Wells Cay is the home of the headquarters of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park which I think I remember being told is the first of its kind in the world. Google the park for some interesting info. We hoped to stay there a few days but weren’t sure there would be a mooring available since they usually are reserved at least a day in advance and they tell us that for some reason this has been a very busy season there. Luck was with us and we were tied up by about 4:30 pm. We decided to skip the Saturday night cruisers gathering sponsored by the park. We were a little tired and we were at the farthest out mooring, well down wind and down current of the gathering spot. Discretion dictated not trying it with our inflatable dinghy and electric trolling motor. Too small a dinghy motor can be a liability in the Bahamas if you really want to see and do everything.
The gathering spot is on the beach next to a 52 ft sperm whale skeleton which died in 1995 from consuming plastic. Even though we could not go, I was inspired or cursed. You decide. I think this should be sung at these gatherings in the future. (Apologies in advance to Randy Travis.)
“Ahab had his Moby Dick, we all knew Shamu.
Exumas Land and Sea Park is the place to go, its cool!
They’re preserving nature so its there for me and you
But tonight I’m drinking with cruisers, diggin up bones.
Diggin up bones, Diggin up bones.
(point to whale) Exhuming things that’s better left alone
(plug nose) Resurrecting memories of a whale that’s dead and gone.
(raise glass) Tonight I’m drinking with cruisers, diggin up bones!”
How long have we been out in this hot sun?
I was particularly delighted when Barbara found the chart chips for our GPS. We were pretty sure they were on board somewhere but had not been able to find them. It is great to have current charts on the GPS instead of 20 year old paper charts. Thank you Mr. Conner!
We decided to join as sponsors of the Bahamas National Trust, the non-profit which manages this park and others in the Bahamas such as the Levi Preserve we visited a couple days ago. It also gives us priority for moorings. Then we hiked around a portion of the park. Pictures won’t do credit to what we saw.
We stopped for a snack and rest atop Boo Boo Hill. A long time ago a ship crashed on the shore and all souls were lost. It is said at the right times you can hear the dead singing boo boo.
Also on the hilltop is what at first glance looks like a trash heap. It is drift wood hauled to the top by visiting cruisers, annotating their visit. It begs a discussion about appropriateness.
We plan to do some more hiking of the island trails and some snorkeling before moving on.