We had a smooth passage to Warderick Wells, which is the island that houses the Exuma Land and Sea Park headquarters. This large park of protected waters and islands is a gem in the heart of the Exumas. It is one of the few places left in the Bahamas where the lobster will practically walk out of their holes to greet you. The conch and grouper are plentiful.
But the catch: You can only take pictures…and you can only leave footprints.
We stayed in Warderick Wells, attached to a nice mooring ball, for 4-5 nights. We wandered trails, snorkeled coral heads, and enjoyed late afternoon sundowners with a few of the boats that we’ve met on the trip.
The kids even met up with a 12 and 9 year old aboard S/V Dulcinea, an Austrailian sailing yacht that was stopped over in Warderick Wells while en route to Singapore.
We finally got some nice video of the remora that has been living under our boat for the past few days. (Actually, a pair of them.) I think they mistook us for a whale shark.
Highbourn Cay Marina was beautiful…but expensive. It was time to head back to an anchorage, so we pointed the boat south toward Normans Cay.
The sail was brisk, alternating between a beam reach and close reach in 20 knot winds out of the east. Real Life did well, averaging 6.5 knots with bursts to nearly 8, powered by the staysail and main.
Normans has several anchorages, the most popular being in the “cut” between the deep water of the Exuma Sound and the shallow water of the Bank. But, the wind was blowing hard and the surge was strong, making that anchorage uncomfortable.
Instead, we anchored with 15 other boats on the southwestern anchorage, just off a beautiful sandy beach that runs in a north to south direction. Well, we arrived at the right time because an hour after securing the anchor, we heard Tim on S/V Magic inviting all the cruisers to meet for sundowner drinks on the beach.
Hey! Our first beach sundowners. Even though we were pretty tired, we headed over and met some great people, including Tim and Diane (S/V Magic) and Jennings and Patty (S/V Veritas). Tim and Jennings have a tradition of blowing their conch horns each evening at sundown (though not strictly enforced).
Nurse sharks hovering off Highbourn Cay Marina after a few fishermen cleaned their catch.