We arrived at Exuma Land and Sea Park on Wednesday, May 1st. The park encompasses a number of islands with the park headquarters located on Warderick Wells. We anchored near the Emerald Rock mooring field and after settling in dinghied to the office. We paid our anchoring fee ($23 per day for our sized boat) and checked out the gift shop. Our cruising guide said you could buy internet however that didn’t turn out to be the case. But the nice lady at the office told us if we turned right from the gift shop and went down to the third step we should be able to get a couple of bars. It worked! We were able to at least get a message out to the family that we were alive and well. We took a short walk on the beach and found the whale skeleton they have on display before returning to the boat.
The next morning we decided to hike up to Boo-Boo Hill. This place is famous with cruisers who leave offerings for Neptune and ask for his blessing. These offerings are normally something on wood identifying their boat.
The park asks that you stay on the marked trails which isn’t always easy to do because their marking system leaves something to be desired. However, we found the trail and made the climb to the top of the hill. The views are stunning!! The trail to Boo-Boo Hill looks down over the North mooring field and the colors of the water are really unbelievable.
We didn’t have anything with us for an offering so picked up an old piece of driftwood to bring back to the boat to decorate.
The park gives out maps to good snorkeling areas so that afternoon we checked out a couple of the spots.
Our second day, we hiked a different trail up to the Davis ruins, where we found we could get internet at the top of the hill! We also found a great little snorkel area just off one of the many little beaches that dot the island.
The next day, we dinghied around to the southeast end of the island and found some really great snorkeling. We saw numerous fish, turtles and even a spotted eagle ray! Of course we didn’t bring underwater cameras with us. The park appears to be supporting some healthy, young coral reefs which we were very gratified to see.
On Saturday, we took a different, longer, rockier trail back to Boo-Boo Hill to leave our offering and request Neptune’s blessing for our travels and for gathering bounty from the sea – we need all the help we can get!
That evening there was a gathering on the beach for the boaters and park workers. If was interesting to meet different cruisers as well as the guys in the Bahamian military whose job it is to help protect the park.
I cannot express just how beautiful this place is. The colors of the water, the rugged limestone of the island and the plant filled interior, it’s just spectacular. I am so grateful that the government of the Bahamas is preserving this pristine area for future visitors.
Sunday morning we pulled anchor and headed to the Big Major/Staniel Cay for the next stop on our big adventure.