IN the Bahamas…Finally

THIS is why I sailed to the Bahamas

We anchored off Shroud Cay at the northern end of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park late in the afternoon on Feb. 27. An impromptu cruiser’s gathering in the cove just inside the anchorage was our first taste of the cruiser’s life in the Bahamas, and despite being just three dinghies of people (including us), it still harkened back to that Saturday in Phoebus, Virginia. Yeah, I could get used to this.

The next day, we took the dinghy to a creek that meanders through Shroud Cay. One arm of the creek empties into the Exuma Sound side of the island at a place called “The Washin’ Machine.” It’s a little sandbar-ringed creek where the current carries you out toward the sound before circling you back in an eddy to (almost) where you started. There were several other dinghies of fellow cruisers there so it’s not like there was an solitude, but it was still fun to play in the water and jump off the cliff into the deepest pool in the creek. We some a couple of critters—a small shark, a sea turtle—while motoring back to a second night at Shroud Cay aboard Further and then, on Feb. 29, we hoisted the anchor and sailed south to Warderick Wells.

Looking west from Booboo Hill out over the Exuma Banks

Warderick Wells is considered one of the crown jewels of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. It’s crystal-clear waters are home to a few good snorkeling spots and the island has several trails that lead visitors to relatively high (for the Exumas) points from which to take in the stunning vistas.

I chose to take a mooring at the Emerald Rock section of the park, not wanting to get in line for one of the few mooring balls in the central channel of the park mostly because I didn’t feel like wrestling with the strong current that runs there. And boy, was I glad we wound up where we did. The water and the view upon arrival was exactly what I was seeking when coming to the Bahamas. Upon seeing that sight (photo included here), I definitely felt like I’d made it to my destination. Just…stunned and happy and proud that a goal had been achieved.

The detritus atop Booboo Hill left me kinda disappointed in my fellow cruisers, to be honest. But the view sure was great

And then, not five minutes after arriving, a nurse shark (complete with remoras in tow), circled the boat, likely looking for handouts. The visit was off to a good start.

The following day, my fifty-eighth birthday, was spent walking a couple of the trails, including one to the summit of Booboo Hill. Cruisers leave a piece of driftwood or some other such tchotchke with their boat’s name on it atop the hill and, to be honest, I found the display kinda disappointing. It certainly wasn’t as stunning as the view in either direction: the deep, deep blue of the waters of the Exuma Sound to the east, running to depths of several thousands of feet within a very short distance from shore; and the friendlier white-and-turquoise shallow waters of the Exuma Bank to the west. For such a not-high hill, you sure do get a great view. And it was a nice place to celebrate my birthday.






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