Once we tackled our jack line and solar panel repairs, we could relax and enjoy our stay in the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park – one of my very favorite places in the world. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. I would be perfectly happy staying right there in the north mooring field until I ran out of $20 bills to pay for the daily mooring fees, and emptied the bilge of cans of tuna fish for meals. On our first full day in the mooring field, the cruisers organized a beach happy hour potluck, complete with live music.
The Park was established in 1958 and protects 176 square miles of islands and seabed. It is a no-take zone for fish and turtles, which means that the marine life is glorious and varied. My favorite part of the Park is the hiking trails on Warderick Wells Cay, which provide an excellent opportunity to stretch the legs after days and nights on a tiny boat! There’s a cruising tradition to make a sign for your boat out of natural materials (no plastics, please) and to add that sign to the collection at the top of Boo Boo Hill. A half mile into our hike, I found the perfect piece of wood…. and then found myself committed to carrying it for the next five hours!
This year, I finally managed to pack enough water, snacks, and sunscreen to hike from the park office all the way to the south end on the island to Pirates Lair and Turtle Beach. It took us five hours to make that round trip – way longer than you’d expect from the mileage. But often, the trail is only a suggestion, and it’s always a mixture of sharp eroded limestone rock and dry loose sand. Even at sea level, the hiking is slow going! But Jeff and Trish of Elixir were good company, and we peer-pressured each other into continuing south at each trail intersection. Phew!
Capt. Mike thinks that Perky Turkey Jerky should sponsor our adventures. Here he is practicing his brand placement and his Vanna White skills.
Beach planks! Gotta stay in shape!
We collect photos of Sanitas’ sister ships wherever we meet them. Here’s the beautiful Island Lady – a 31 foot Pacific Seacraft captained by Cree.
For the final ritual of our stay in the park, the whole crews of Sanitas, Leef Nu, and Elixir climbed Boo Boo Hill one last time, and added our sign to the pile. We were here! In case you were wondering, our Dock 4 sign from last season is still there too.