As we have met sailors at various ports the last few weeks, one of my first questions is always, “What is your favorite island in the Bahamas?” Without fail, the reply of almost every sailor has been “Go to the Exumas”. If you haven't heard of it, the Exumas are a long set of islands that starts just 30 miles southwest of Nassau but the chain itself stretches another 130 miles into the blue yonder. It is filled with pristine beaches, lively reefs, and protected marine reserves which are spread out just enough that a boat is by far the best form of transportation for discovering what it has to offer.
With our new crew Patrick and Marti aboard, we set off from Nassau for the fabled Exumas early on Wed Jan 28th with a repaired jib and (unfortunately) a still unrepaired heat exchanger (more on this later =[). Our first stop was a thirty mile sail to Allen Cay which was known for having a friendly population of large iguanas that had taken up residence on nearby beaches. We dropped anchor and rowed over to this tiny Jurassic Park and made friends with both the iguanas and a very friendly little black and yellow bird that hopped on our hands.
With few reefs and beaches near Allen’s Cay, we were itching to explore the wet side of the world with some snorkeling and thus we decided to make moves to Wardwick Wells which is the center of the Exumas Land and Sea Reserve, just a 30 mile sail away. The reserve itself is a “no-take zone” which means that fishing is not allowed and thus the marine life is typically both larger and friendlier. We snagged a mooring right in the entrance for 20 bucks a day so Travis and I could sleep soundly without worrying about dragging anchors the beautiful, but narrow entrance.
During our two nights there we hiked to the highest point in the Exumas called BooBoo Hill, explored a number of nearby reefs such as Judy’s Reef, the Rangers Garden, and Emerald Rock, made a number of creative and delicious meals with our stores, and finished off the evenings with Catch Phrase, cards, and cocktails. Here are a few photos of our adventures:
Now that we finally have a home base for more than a day or two I should be able to catch up on posts. Stay tuned for more photos and videos in the near future =]