Friday, February 7, 2014

Warderick Wells, Exuma Land and Sea Park, Bahamas


     Don't let the title of this blog mislead you. There are no death defying amusement rides, no trained dolphins confined to aquariums and no crowds. The Exuma Land and Sea Park is an above par example of nature's perfection without extensive human intervention and it's accessible only by water. Warderick Wells is also quite a distance from any civilization. The park headquarters at Warderick Wells has one residence for the park ranger and his family. All visitors, mostly cruisers who arrive under their own power in their own vessels anchor near Emerald Rock or rent moorings in the north or south anchorage. Cruisers must be equipped with their own food, water and fuel since nothing is available other than natural treasures in the park's surrounding seabeds and extensive hiking trails throughout the remote island. In 1959 the Bahamian Parliament set aside this 176-square mile area which includes 15 large island and numerous smaller ones with the Bahamian Trust. Within the confines of this large area no fishing of any kind is allowed. As you can image, the fish and wildlife are all protected making this a spectacular place to snorkel and observe nature's finest underwater world.

View of Exuma Sound from Warderick Wells

     The water in the Bahamas is clear and the water in Exuma Park is gin clear if that's imaginable. The best way to describe the area is the it is meticulously conserved and a remarkably close to nature as it was intended. While anchored a Warderick Wells we snorkeled with friends at two reef sites and hiked the islands; craggy limestone terrain. We were the only visitors at the reef where two sharks appeared out of nowhere among an array of colorful corals and fish. I was pleased that I'd bought a full spring wetsuit back in the States. We were in the water for over an hour and even though the water temps were in the high 70's it became chilly after on extended period of time.

Joe diving in the anchorage at Warderick Wells


        The wind shifted gradually to the south during our second night in the anchorage. With no protection from land the anchorage became bumpy during the night. Of course the wind always shifts at night! After a somewhat restless sleep and a two day stay, it was time to move on in search of a more protected harbor and to discover new islands. As we sail south we plan to throw a line in the water with hopes of finding a hungry fish or two for our dinner table. If the fish elude us we can always resort to our cache of canned meat. Here's to hoping for a hungry fish.