Thursday, March 21, 2013

Warderwick Wells (Part 2) ...

With another cold front approaching we decided to extend our stay at Warderwick Wells.  Consistent with several of the other fronts, the weather just before the front was sunny and quiet making for an excellent snorkeling day. 
Having checked out some of the northern coral areas we loaded the dinghy and headed south.  Our first stop at Emerald Rock yielded some great photos with many varieties of fish.
Then we headed still further to Malabar Cays.  It was here that Captain Dave hopped out of dinghy into the water stuck his head in and immediatly started yelling - well yelling as best one can with a snorkel in his mouth.  Curious to see what he had found I also stuck my head into the water and WOW WHAT A SIGHT.  It was a lobster - a large lobster - running across the ocean floor from one coral head to another.  We watched as the big guy reached the next head and then struggled to curl up his big tail and back into his new found hideaway.  There are many things you never expect to see and this was certainly one of them.  We are still shocked at our great find. 
The Admiral

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Catching Up ...

I'm sure you've all been curious to know what has become of the Breezers.  We are happy to report that we are well and having a wonderful stay in the Bahamas.

Our long delay in posting is two-fold.  First we've had many weather related hold ups.  As cold fronts plagued our progress for over a week at one point.  Second, we are doing what I've dubbed the nook and cranny tour of the Exumas.  Given this, we are exploring some of the remote areas we haven't taken the time to see previously and we are finding that these remote areas while short on internet service have other fabulous attributes.

So below are seven new posts catching you up on our adventure so far.


The Admiral

Warderwick Wells ...

At Warderwick Wells we found the headquarters to the Exuma Land and Sea Park.  We were fortunate enough to get a mooring ball in the very sought after northern mooring field of the island.  Here we would have a great jumping off point to the trails of the island. 
We walked along the main beach and admired the skeletal remains of a pilot whale that came ashore years ago.  We hiked Boo Boo Hill and recognized the markers left by many of our cruising friends.  We stopped at the blow holes but found that the winds weren't quite right to make the blow holes sing. 

On our second day we went further afield taking one of the longer hikes around the island.  Along this trail we got some great photos of the island and anchorages and even found a cave called Murphy's Hideaway. 

We've been running the dinghy around and found the remains of a sunken boat near mooring ball #9.  So many great sights to see both above and below the water.  Who knows what interesting adventures tomorrow will bring.

The Admiral

Hawksbill Cay ....

Hawksbill Cay features the Russell Ruins - a family plantation from 1785 to 1830.  We found it interesting as, unlike other ruins in the park, the Russell ruins still have several of building walls standing.

The Admiral

Shroud Cay ....

We said goodbye to John, Mary and Goliath and continued the journey south into the Exuma Land and Sea Park.  Our first stop in the park - Shroud Cay.  Each island in the park has unique features.  In the case of Shroud the island boasts rivers with banks of mangroves.  We traveled the rivers by dinghy and were surprised by the absence of birds and conch (especially having found conch at nearby Normans).  But the mangroves are interesting and the journey to the beach on the east side of the island well worth the trip.
The Admiral 

Normans Island (Part 2) ....

Normans Island has an interesting history.  Carlos Lehder decided that its near mid-point proximity between Miami and Colombia would make it an ideal location for his drug distribution operation.  So he built an airstrip as well as lodging facilities on the island and had small planes come in and out delivering drugs. 

One such plane didn't quite make the runway and ended up crashing into Normans Cut.  Years later the plane has made a great artifical reef and is a great snorkel.  While corrosion has impacted the site the fuselage, wing and props are still visible. 

While Carlos had a successful run in his business for many years, the DEA and Bahamian authorities did eventually shut him down.  Today the airstrip is still there but the buildings are in ruin.

The Admiral

Normans Island (Part 1) ....

After two days at Highborne Cay it was time to find a new anchorage.  An anchorage that would provide protection from the coming northerly winds.  After a look at the charts, nearby Normans Island looked like our best option.  We'd spend four days stuck at Normans and while that sounds dreadful, four days stuck in the Bahamas is really not so bad.  After all we had a beautiful beach and an inland pond to explore.

On the fourth day we turned on the radio and heard a familar voice on the other end.  It was John on Marylee.  While we were anchored on the east side of the island he, Mary and Goliath were anchored on the west side.  Once the winds subsided we hoisted the hook and surfed through Normans Cut (as the waves were still quite wicked) to locate Marylee. 

Friends and a new location could only mean two things - happy hours and more gunkholing.  Our gunkholing tooks us to the sand bars at Normans at low tide where we found plenty of conch.  After collecting what looked like the most mature specimans we went ashore and had a conch cleaning party.  Conch - always delicious but lots of work to clean and prepare.

The Admiral

Highborne ....

Once the front passed we were able to sail across the Yellow Bank to Highborne Cay - our entry point into the Exuma islands.  There we went ashore and explored the pristine beaches.

Once back on board the Breezer we decided to explore the nearby coral heads.  Tucked underneath one Dave found a lonely little lobster just waiting for us.  He weighed in at over three pounds and sported a nine inch tail. An excellent catch for our first venture out.

The Admiral

Nassau ...

Next was Nassau.  As we approached, it was apparant that Nassau was busy with tourist traffic given all the cruise ships in port.  Off in the distance we could see Atlantis on Paradise Island.  During our previous stay we had anchored west of the city but this trip we opted to travel through the busy Nassau Harbor and anchor on the east side. 
After dropping the hook we went ashore and it took the Captain all of 15 minutes to find - yep - a Dairy Queen.  I swear the guy has a DQ homing signal hidden somewhere.  We, of course, had to stop.  After all, it would likely be the last DQ we would see in quite a while.  We also found more important things along the way like a supermarket and liquor store. 
We spent several days in Nassau as we waited for a cold front to pass.  We explored the downtown district and spent our days bustling about like the tourists off the cruise ships.  We stopped at Potters Cay, Fish Fry Village and generally bummed around.  Our favorite stop was on Paradise Island where we stopped at the Aquarium at Atlantis.  The size of the aquarium surprised us and the number of fish amazed us further.  The sea animals included a hge manta ray with a wingspan larger than Dave or I's.  Truly unbelievable.
The Admiral
Photos 1 & 2:  Approaching Nassau Harbor
Photo 3:           Dave finds heaven
Photo 4:           Atlantis Aquarium
Photo 5:           Jellyfish at the Atlantis Aquarium