Wardwick Wells Cay, North Mooring Field was our next stop. It marks the northern most mooring fields in the Exumas Land and Sea Park that was established in 1958 as a land and sea protected area. The park is 22 miles long and extends 4 miles on either side of 15 Cays. Its purpose is to provide a safe haven and replenishment area for native species. It’s a “No Take Zone”. Fishing, shelling, conching, lobstering and hunting are prohibited, fines apply! So you guessed it, conch, lobster and shells on the beach are beautiful specimens and they are living to ripe old age!
The local wildlife is very friendly and accustom to being hand fed, even though there are no fee signs.
– Banana Quid, like yellow finches, visit the Park Rangers Office whenever there are folks on the deck.
-Lizards abound on the trails and beaches, some curly tail, some straight tail. They smell food a mile away and will eat out of your hand as well.
-Hutia, near extinction some time ago, they were brought into the park to help them replenish their population, and with no natural predictors, they have. Nocturnal, I saw a few come out of the bushes during a Beach Happy Hour but it was too dark to get a good shot of them. About the size of a big guinea pig with wiry brown hair, apparently they are now the cause of dying foliage over a good portion of the island.
-No snakes, ticks or mosquitoes. We could walk the island and trapse through brush without a worry!
We planned to stay 3 days, but the predicted weather of Squalls and strong North winds kept us there for 9 very enjoyable days. It was a delight to meet the Park Stewards, Jen and Andrew , and absorb all the info they provided us about the area. The days a now a bit of a blur, but here are some of the highlights in no particular order:
#10 -Saturday Night Happy Hours, met some wonderful cruisers, and enjoyed some very special culinary dishes;
#9-A large soft sandbar at low tide, within 50 ft of our mooring, complete with a resident Giant Leopard Ray and lots of San dollars. Too bad we couldn’t collect them! It was great exercise walking thru sun-warmed knee deep water.
#8-Hiking trails that covered the entire island and led to vistas and secluded beaches.
#7-Blow Holes, like Old Faithful, pluming air and sea water high into the sky as Easterly swells crashed into the caverns on the rocky, jagged shore.
#6-Many snorkeling areas with lots of coral fauna , many resident Lion fish , Lobsters , Parrot fish, Angel fish, etc, etc, and 2 four foot sharks !
#5-On a cold cloudy day Nina relearned to play Mexican Train on “My Pleasure” with the girls and won! (Thanks Barbara Bush for the great training at Thanksgiving!)
#4-Boo Boo Hill. One of the trails leads across Banchee Creek and up a rocky hill to a peak, now a memorial commentating a sinking a ship and loss of her crew many years ago. Over the years cruisers have left mementos of their visit and because of the rules of the park, “Take Nothing, Leave Nothing”, its got to be made of something natural, ie driftwood, shells, etc. You’ll see what we left in the pictures below.
#3- Spending relaxing exploration journies with a”Nemo” and reuniting with “Nancy Lu”, “Que Sara Sara”,” Bob Ra Ann” and “My Pleasure”‘ and enjoying their company on long walks, cocktails, dinners and games.
#2-The luxury of sleeping late and not having to get up at 6:30 AM to listen to Chris Parker for a weather update every morning!!
The #1 reason we loved Wardwick Wells…..The protection of a secure mooring thru a 3 day blow!!!<br /
Great view of Wardwick Wells
Marilyn Monroe blow hole!