It’s Friday morning and we have been in the Bahamas for a week now. We are now in the Exumas and visiting one of the largest islands in the chain, Warderick Wells, part of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park managed by the Bahamas National Trust www.bnt.bs, a 25 mile stretch of islands running south from Warderick that are protected . Interestingly, studies have shown that protecting patches of habit benefit other areas nearby as protected species do better in the parks and migrate into other non-protected areas.
A few days ago I tried out my underwater case for my i-phone and took a number of photos and videos. It was great fun, I have to say. With the clear water, which these photos don’t really do justice to just how clear it is.Our friend Bill looking graceful.Some pretty little tube worms.To see your shadow on the bottom is a remarkable sight. Even at night the shadows of the moon are distinct. One major issue that we have faced, and were warned about prior to coming here, is that the weather is something that you have to really pay attention to. Today’s forecast is a good example of how quickly things change. Today’s wind is from the ENE at 20kts dropping to 15kts. Saturday will be more mild with winds in the 10-15kt range. This quickly will change with freshening winds from the E-NE in the 20s and higher for the next 4-5 days. What this means is that one day’s great sail can quickly turn into a need to seek shelter for a number of days while waiting for the next weather system to come through.
This also means that you have to choose your anchoring spot very well. While it’s windy today the seas are quite calm as we are in an area that’s protected from any seas. However, for several days we were in a very different position when we anchored in areas with fiends where there was quite a long fetch from a windward shore, allowing for a nasty chop to build. This meant that any excursions in the dink were a bit harrowing with lots of water splashing over the side.
Perhaps the best example, or worst depending on how you look at it, was when we returned to Pandora the other night after dinner and a game of dominos with friends on another boat. The winds were blowing about 25kts which meant that we had to step into a dink that was bucking around in the chop running alongside their boat. After scrambling into the dink we motored off into the dark. In the short distance to Pandora we caught a good deal of spray including a bucket load of water into our faces. Imagine how much fun that was for Brenda when her next planned stop was to be bed. Well, we both stripped off our wet clothes in the cockpit and headed down for showers. The lesson for us is that anchoring in the right spot depending on what’s coming weather-wise is the key. Had we been tucked up against a shore with an island buffering the seas and wind we would have been in a very different position. Well, perhaps that’s more than you really want to know about wind and chop but it’s what life in the Bahamas is all about. All of this has also reinforced the value of our water maker which is doing well in keeping us in plenty of fresh water. Remember, a salt free boat, and crew, is a happy boat. As the saying goes, sort of, “when Momma is unhappy (or salty), ain’t nobody happy”.
By contrast, we are moored in similarly windy conditions right now and yet are very comfortable, thanks to having picked a good location, with good protection, to spend a few days.
Yesterday we had a great sail, around 25 miles in brisk winds. It was fun to romp along for a few hours doing 7-8 kts all the way in clear blue waters. It’s so different from anything we have ever experienced in our past lives.
The view from the ranger station here is spectacular. Look at the contrast from the deep blue channel and the sand flats.How about this whale skeleton they have reconstructed on the beach? It’s really big.Lastly, with the really really clear waters here we often see wildlife that we missed in the past. Yesterday a rather large, perhaps in the 5’ long range, sand shark swam past our anchored boat a few times. What an impressive creature. I wish I had gotten a photo.
Well, off to explore the island. Oh yeah, did I mention that today is in the low 80s and sunny?