After our beautiful but eventful arrival in the Exumas at Allen Cay, we moved on the next day down the Exuma chain on the leeward (west) side of the cays. We had planned to stop at Shroud Cay to do some paddle-boarding with Claude and Marie on La Toison D’or, and row our dinghy through the mangrove streams on the interior of the cay. We had great wind for sailing, but it was fairly choppy and when we got to Shroud Cay we all decided that the anchorage looked too exposed and a little rough, so we tacked out again and headed for Waderick Wells instead. A couple of hours later, despite a swift-flowing current and strong winds, we managed to efficiently pick up our reserved mooring. If we missed we would likely have landed on the sand-bar!
The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is a favourite among cruisers due to its pristine beauty, well-maintained moorings and breathtaking marine environment. Created in 1958 this 176 square mile park (about 14 islands/cays) was the first of its kind in the world. It is the first marine fishery reserve established in the Caribbean, a good thing as there is little regulation and a great deal of over-fishing elsewhere in the Bahamas. Under the transparent turquoise waters are beautiful natural gardens of coral teeming with fish and lobster.
Near our mooring, the skeleton of a 53′ Sperm Whale (that died after swallowing a plastic bag) keeps watch over Powerful Beach. On Saturday nights, cruisers gather round the small tiki hut on the beach for an informal happy hour. As we visited the park office to pay for our mooring, we spotted a large nurse shark near the dock, and a manta ray nearer our boat.
Marie, Steve and I struck out to hike on the island trails the next afternoon. We visited some blow-holes in the limestone rocks, but as it was low tide, the waves were not crashing in sufficiently for much of a spectacle. We hiked up to the highest point on the island, Boo Boo Hill, where visiting cruisers bring a piece of driftwood with the name of their boat on it as an appeasement to the gods. Unfortunately we did not come prepared but may add to the pile on our next visit.
We enjoyed the great view of the anchorage and neighbouring cays from the hilltop. From there we went to Boo Boo Beach and then back across the island on the Causeway Trail to the park office.
View our photo journal for Waderick Wells.
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