Monday, February 28, 2005

Nassau to Exuma Park February 2005 crowded anchorage as all the boats wait out the norther
anchored with the iguanas at Allans Cay
fabulous snorkeling in the crystal blue water at Allans CayWe have enjoyed a great day sail from Nausau (Rose Island) to Allan's Cay, across the Yellow bank, Bev on the bow looking for coralheads, but we saw no water less than 10’ In Allans we fed and fought off the iguanas, snorkled on a couple beautiful reefs, Bev kayaked for a couple of hours, we fished trolling the dinghy and caught a sand tile fish, which we returned to the ocean. We wish the water temp was a little warmer, currently 72-74, or that we had wet suits because after about 45 min. we are cold. Ross has been tending his lobster trap, but has not been successful in catching anything. One of the other boaters did catch a huge lobster (39" long, and tail weighed 18 oz.) but he had been snorkeling/hunting for 3 hours. We aren't that dedicated. We are trolling 2 long lines as we sail, and we did get a bite, but lost it. Sure it was a big one, but it didn't break the line, or take the lure, so guess it couldn't have been that big.

Mark, from Cardia and Art, from Margarittavile, holding their dinnerExcept for one miserable day and night, when the last norther came through when we were in Allans, winds hit 30 kn. and the boats were doing crazy dances on their anchors in the winds and currents, everything has been fantastic. The days start off cool, but by the afternoon we are enjoying sunny 70's + (25 in Canadian).

Norman Wells is an interesting experience. After our tough stay in the cut at Allans, we have decided not to anchor in the cut, instead we anchor off McDuff’s and call for a dinner reservations. They are open but have no food, so we settle for drinks. McDuff’s sits right beside the airstrip. Pedestrians can walk up and down, tour the hangers..what is security? Norman Wells is where the drug lord Carlos Lehder once controlled the island. There is a plane awash from the drug running days and you can snorkle it, although there is not much left of it. We walk around the ruins of the old resort and find another well, even with a clothes line..guess it is laundry day. drinks at MacDuff's
Ross on the boat on the hill
view of anchorage off Normans' cay huge vegetation growing along road

From RAFT we could see what we thought was a cottage, far up the hill, but there were no lights on it at night. We decided to follow the road up the hill to investigate and found out to our surprise it is a boat!! No we have no idea how it got there, but standing on its roof the view was incredible. There are roads all over the island, they are trying to subdivide it and build mega homes and there are a few. Most of the roads go nowhere, but it is good to get off RAFT and go for the walk.

Feb 15th Great sail from Normans to Exuma Park. We call ahead (on the radio) to reserve a ball, although there are good anchorages available. Exuma Park is fantastic and we spend several days here hiking, snorkeling, kayaking and visiting other boaters. We snorkled with a lemon shark, manta rays, barracuda, huge grouper and hundreds of other different kinds of fish. Since this is a “no take” area, even the lobsters don’t hide. We had to buy a new fish id book at the park office to try and identify what we were seeing. We hiked all the trails, both on the ocean side, where there are blow holes, and spectacular ocean views, and the Exuma Sound side, past ruins of old farms...words don't do justice to what we have been enjoying. Of course, we had to leave a RAFT remembrance on BooBoo Hill.

We had read that boaters could do volunteer work at the park, to cover off some of the mooring fees ($15/night). Unfortunately while we were there, the park was going through organizational changes, and in the process of getting legal waivers written for the volunteers to sign. We understand that this has been done, so that in the future volunteer work will be available again.

Bev shows off RAFT's momento left on Boo Boo Hill