2.14.2010

Exuma Park, Warderick Wells


Exuma Park, Warderick Wells

We found ourselves holed up at Warderick Wells Park for several days waiting for yet another cold front to pass. I can think of far worse places to find myself stuck for Warderick Wells Park is a stunning place with crystal clear turquoise blue water and pure white beaches with ultra fine sand. The moorings are lined up outlining the crescent shaped beach which results in the boats swinging together and forming a line that reminded me of synchronized swimmers. When you first arrive at the beach next to the camp headquarters you are met by a real whale skeleton, which definitely put me in awe when I realized the size of this massive mammal. The park covers 176 square miles and it is prohibited to fish, dive for lobster or conch, collect shells, or take even a leaf from the park for this reason you are allowed to take only photos and leave only your footprints, which is what we did. There are multiple trails to walk and climb. The first one we chose was a trail that took us to a place called Booboo Hill. To our surprise the trail consisted of mostly volcanic rock walking and climbing. I was not prepared for rock climbing as I of course was wearing my flip flops. Half way up the trail guess what happened?? I blew out my flip flop! So there I was on a volcanic rock hill and only one flip with no flop. The Captain was kind enough to allow me to wear his as he stumbled back down the hill. It was charming to watch him maneuver back down the rocks wearing my too small for him blown out flip that was producing a massive flop with each step! At the top of Booboo hill you are encouraged to leave a memento. We noticed that most people left drift wood with their boat name painted or burnt into the wood. The next day we adventured out on another trail that also leads to Booboo Hill. There were many caves on this trail as well as a swinging bridge. This time we searched for a piece of drift wood as we walked so we could leave a memento on the hill. We reached a crest that overlooked the sound and to our amazement we noticed a rock that looked just like a lion. What are your thoughts?? Lion huh! Another of nature’s art projects! We came upon a magnificent pristine beach where we hung out for quite sometime. I made a face out of an old coconut and trash I found on the beach as the Captain spent some quiet meditation time. I also played around on the beach taking photos as well as taking in all the beauty of this enchanting place. After some time I noticed that the Captain was no longer in his meditation spot. I began searching for him. After a short search I found him attentively placing rocks in a column on top of a hill. I collected a few rocks but my curiosity was too much for me to hold back. So I inquired as to the purpose of the rock pile. He stated that he had been pondering the idea that he needed to make a tribute, a special place for his dad. He said that he had not found the right spot until now. This was the location to build a tribute dedicated to his father, Charles Montgomery, whose birthday was quickly approaching as well as to all of our loved ones who are no longer with us on this earth. From that point on we silently and tenderly placed rocks one on top of another. I had to wrestle back the tears numerous times as my mind wandered to the memories of my son, Jerry. We both
knew in our hearts when the tribute was completed. We stood back and noticed how superbly all the rocks fit together. At that moment we stood there astonished by this wonderful piece of art that was sent to the Captain through the heavens. I can’t speak for the Captain but I would bet he was feeling the same as I was, a bit melancholy but mostly grateful that we had been blessed to have these wonderful people in our lives for the time we did. The finished tribute faced a majestic breathtaking view in all directions. How long it will stand there before people or winds knock it down is unknown but in our hearts it will forever be there looking out at the water that stretches on for eternity. The rest of the afternoon was spent quietly as we found our hearts and souls at peace. Eventually during our stay we did find a piece of drift wood on one of our walks, the Captain wrote the name of Mary Rose on it with our initials with a piece of charred wood. We climbed our way back to Booboo Hill left Mary’s mark in the mound of other boat names. We are thankful to have spent some time in this magnificent place, we found a few moments of soul touching peace, spent time in nature and had the opportunity to meet the headquarters pet nurse shark!

Peace and fair winds!

Beans & Rice Or Seafood For Dinner?

Dinner while cruising can be quite the experience. You can never be sure what the evening meal will consist of. The Captain was getting a little tired of beans and rice so I fixed it up a little and added chicken to the beans and rice, well as you can imagine that became old in a record amount of time so I added pork to the beans and rice. Nonetheless, to get to my point we were both a little tired of anything that contained beans or rice. So it was time to go find some seafood. Isn’t that what life on a boat is all about?? Plentiful amounts of fresh seafood rather than beans and rice!?
We had heard that the area in which we were anchored at the time (Allen Cay) had abundant amount of conch that was ready to harvest. We decided to brave the chill in the air and don our skins to see if we could luck out and find a few conch to have for dinner. We stood on the edge of the boat having a discussion regarding which one of us would jump in first. The Captain made the decision for us as he gently shoved me over board into the cool blue water. The brisk temperature change was quite invigorating. It only took a few seconds for my body to regulate to the water temperature. Soon after the Captain took the turquoise blue plunge letting out a yelp as his body hit the cool water. (NOTE: Always make sure you put your swim ladder down prior to jumping ship esp after pushing your crew overboard, luckily the Captain had installed a pull clamp release on the ladder to use in just such circumstances...karma)We began snorkeling around the cove and to our wonder there were countless conch shells lying on the sandy bottom. The first few we dove for had already been harvested but with our dedicated determination not to have beans and rice for dinner our search continued. It was a challenge trying to decide which ones to keep; there are rules as to which conch can be harvested. The lip of the conch shell must be fully developed, which in my opinion can be a bit subjective. So after going through the several we collected we narrowed our search down to the restricted number of 6. Woohooo no rice or beans this night!! The next challenge came with extracting and carving the conch.

Here are the instructions:
Ø First you take a hammer and screwdriver you make a hole in the shell at the 3rd spiral down.
Ø Second you carefully insert a knife in the hole you just made against the center column cutting away the white tendon from the shells central column.
Ø Finally reach into the lip of the shell and grab the meat firmly near the claw and pull the meat out following the contour of the shell. If it is resistant check to make sure the tendon has been cut completely away from the shell.
After the meat has been removed you trim it up removing all part that appear unappetizing, in other words all the appendages and excess tissue. Once the meat is trimmed and looking yummy, pound the life out of it, we used a hammer that was of course cleaned first! Now you are ready to prepare your favorite recipe. We made ceviche, without beans and rice of course! Anyone that has a favorite conch recipe please share!

The conch was excellent for a change but we soon found ourselves back to the beans and rice.

Our next dinner experience involved fishing. We were anchored in Leaf Cay and decided to go for a troll in the dingy to see if we could catch a fresh fish. We prepared our fishing pole and set off with the usual dedicated determination, this time to catch a fish. We were trolling and it was no time at all before we got a hit. The fish was huge approximately two and half feet long and putting up a nice fight! Once we had him reeled up to the dingy we realized that we forgot the pliers on Mary which meant we had no way of removing the fish from the hook. As a result we fed the line out, with fish in tow we headed back to the boat. We were keeping an eye on our dinner during a trip back to retrieve the pliers when we noticed a large indistinguishable figure following behind our dinner. I would guess half way between where we caught the fish and our final destination we noticed bubbling and churning motion in the water. As fast as a speeding bullet what ever creature that was following us made a lunge in the air and gulp.. our dinner was bit in half, leaving us only the head! We are not sure what it was following us and I can say for certain after our last shark encounter I don’t want to know. Needless to say we had beans and rice for dinner… this time spiced up with a bit of chuck roast!