|Waredrick Wells mooring field (view from atop Boo Boo Hill)|
We moved to Waredrick Wells on April 17th and grabbed a mooring ball close to the park headquarters.
To obtain a mooring you put your vessel on the waiting list the day before your desired arrival. The lady that runs the office, Darcy, is strictly business and comes across to most as being cold and crass.
There is so much to see and do here and since we’re in no rush we ended up spending 8 nights in the much protected mooring field.
To earn some instant karma and get on Darcy’s good side we picked up 3 XL bags, 1 Lg bag, and 4 med bags worth of debris (over 100 lbs. of plastics, ropes, and glass) from Bullion Beach, about a 45 min hike from the park office.
This volunteer work earned us the title of Darcy’s “new favorite people.” ^_^
|Debris found on the beach|
|Plastic doesn't go away, it just gets smaller and smaller|
|Curly tail lizard|
|If you don't make any sudden movements, these little guys pose for you ^_^|
There are some incredible hikes here on the island on somewhat treacherous trails composed of eroded carbonate rock (we geologists know it as “moon rock”), rock fragments, and “sinky” sand.
|Ransom down in Murphy's Hideaway. When he was 15 he and his brother, Stuart, filmed a James Bond home movie and used Murphy's Hideaway in a scene.|
|Beryl's Trail to Davis Plantation Ruins|
|Restoring balance...just ignore the hutia...|
However, we saw most of the island by foot and on the high spots we got some great vistas.
Unfortunately the island is infested with Hutia, a native and endangered (but also invasive) large rodent that looks like a cross between a wombat and a guinea pig. When skirting the island by dinghy the damage is obvious and it’s sad to see the habitat so out of balance. We think loosing Charlie on the island would reduce the numbers somewhat (he was built for chasing small furry things), but without a natural predator these rascally varmints have decimated the flora, eating just about every plant they can find.
|The hutia have resorted to eating the bark off trees and are trying to eat the markers!|
As for water activities, there are plenty of good snorkeling sites around the island and you get to see lots of exotic fish.
The Land and Sea Park serves as a renourishment area for the Bahamas and is protected by both land and sea. This means no fishing, shelling, conching, or lobstering within the park grounds…and there were several times when you would spot a giant spiny lobster and think, “DINNER!!!”
We spent an entire day in the water and saw over 25 different species of “sea critters,” including Spanish Hogfish, Tube Worms, Elkhorn Coral, Queen Angelfish, a Nurse Shark, Snappers, a Pufferfish, Sea Cucumbers, Hamlets, Wrasses, Parrotfish, and the invasive lion fish (underwater photos coming soon!).
Since the dogs were only allowed on the beaches on leashes (eat your heart out Dr. Seuss), we got permission to let them loose on the sandbar at low tide. Apparently this was a source of entertainment for the other boaters to watch us chase the dogs, and Charlie and Rei chase each other.
A park tradition is to hike up to Boo Boo Hill and deposit a piece of driftwood with your boat's name written on it. We found a great piece of treated wood on one of our clean up days and used an industrial strength liquid Sharpie to ensure our mark would not fade.
|Contributions to Boo Boo Hill.|
|Our boat sign...see if you can spot Vitte in the background ^_^|
On our fifth day in the park a westerly front started blowing and that night we got buckets of rain dumped on us. There is something to be said about experiencing a storm on a boat. Outside lightning flashes, thunder crashes, water slaps your hull, and rain beats heavy on all your windows and hatches, but inside its comfy cozy and dry.
The other boaters that hunkered down in Warderick for the storm quickly became our friends, even Charlie and Rei met a new acquaintance, a 9 month old lab mix named Jib who gave them a run for their money on the sandbar one day!
This is the kind of cruising I looked forward to when planning our trip, the experience of felling like a part of a community and sharing the thrill of living on the open sea.
|Sunrise hike to Boo Boo|