Port #5 – Exuma Land & Sea Park (Warderick Wells Mooring Balls)

Hey Blog Followers,

It has been a while since we last communicated with you.
Did you miss us ?

Well, it’s been 5 days without internet or cell service.
Deena & I are having connection withdrawals, and the Blog & Facebook postings are several days behind.

But it was worth it – what a great 5 days !
Total Seclusion, but Immense Beauty.

Thu /Apr 13 – Sat/Apr 15th
We moved from the beautiful Highborne Cay Marina & Resort to The Exuma Land & Sea Park.
The Land & Sea Park is a 176 square mile area within the Exuma Islands, created in 1958.
It was the first Land and Sea Park in the world, and is one of the most successful marine parks.
It is the first Park to prohibit any fishing within the wider Caribbean.
This stretch of pristine water, land and beaches is an ecological preserve and wildlife refuge famous for its breathtaking marine environment & intense blue waters.

We spent 3 nights in a specific region called “Warderick Wells”.
This area was recommended to us by Jerry & Deena’s friends Bill & Patti from the vessel “Conched Out Two”.
We spent 1 night on a mooring ball in an area called Emerald Rock Mooring Field & then moved to a place called the North Mooring Field of the Exuma Land & Sea Park.

Emerald Rock Mooring Field of Warderick Wells = 7 Rating of 10
North Mooring Field of Warderick Wells = 20 Rating out of 10

Just when you think your surroundings cannot get any more beautiful, they do again.
The water inside the North Mooring Ball field is SPECTACULAR.
We must have seen 10 shades of Blue on the ride into the mooring field.

But back to the first night at the Emerald Rock Mooring Field, the place we spent our first night (Thu/Apr 11th)
It was nice, the water colors were good, but nothing spectacular.
The wind was out of the South, so we did get rocked all night, a terrible nights sleep for a Mooring Field.

Upon arrival at Warderick Wells & the Emerald Rock Mooring Field, we went by Dinghy to check in at the Visitors office on Thu Apr 13th.

We met the person in charge of the Mooring Fields named Cherie, we paid for our 3 nights, and asked if we could move to the North Mooring Field for the last 2 nights.
Cherie responded in a somewhat stern voice “I will make a call on VHF channel 09 tomorrow at 9am.
I will tell you then, if you can relocate to the North Mooring Field”.
I really didn’t think that she liked me, it seemed that she was perturbed with my question.

We waited with high anxiety & extreme trepidation all night, in the hopes that we would be given a Mooring Ball in the North field.

You non-boaters may ask – What is a Mooring Ball Field ?
It’s an area that has floating Balls on the water with a tether that connects the Ball to the bed of the ocean/lake floor. They are sometimes desired over anchoring, because they will not drag or move like an anchor could. Especially during high winds.

In the mean time during the afternoon & evening on Thu the 13th, we – went on a dinghy ride, got rained on again, went swimming after the rain, ate another Deena culinary treat from the “Magic Gally (kitchen), and watched a beautiful Sunset.
I don’t know how Deena keeps pulling great stuff to eat out of that small kitchen.

Check out the sunset right above the mast of this sailboat.

Friday April 14th
The call at 9am finally came.
Ranger Cherie started off with a Roll-Call to confirm all the boats departing that day.
Finally Cherie moved on to the new arrivals.
Then we finally heard the magic words – “Mahi Mahi, you may proceed to Mooring Ball #14 in the North Mooring Field”

On our ride into the North Field, it was OMG – This place may be the most beautiful water in the world.
As we traveled past Mooring Balls #10,#11,#12, #13 – we could see “Holy Smokes, we have the best Mooring Ball in the Park”, highly protected from wind, RIGHT IN FROM OF THE BEACH, and a seemingly larger than normal openings because mooring ball #15 was not there ?
We were right near the bottom of the J-Turn of the North Field, right across from the beach.
The mooring balls are in deeper water, the surroundings of the J-Shaped mooring field make for some spectacular photos, with dark blue color at the mooring balls & an almost white color in the more shallow areas surrounding the mooring balls (see the photos below).
Our spot was Mooring Ball #14.

Ok, get ready for these photos, I think that they are the best that we have sent so far. !!
The most beautiful water that I have ever seen.
The most shades of Blue that I have ever seen in one location.- Gorgeous – White/Blue, Aqua, Turquois, Navy, Midnight Blue, etc, etc.
I’m sure that the photos will not due it justice.

After gettin’ hooked up & settled onto Mooring Ball #14, we unloaded the dinghy and went to the shore of the Waderick Wells Island to visit the Land & Sea Park. Remember, that the Land & Sea Park covers 176 sq miles. Waderick Wells is just one island within the park boundary.

There were supposed to be some trails leading to a couple of island attractions ; Boo Boo Hill & The Blow Holes.

Boo Boo Hill
The hike to Boo Boo Hill was not that far, only about 3/4 mile.
But the terrain was very interesting.
The hike started on a sandy, lush trail with a lot of greenery.
Then a pot holed trail that looked like the moon.
Then a rocky surface.
Then a Sahara Desert type surface.
Then lush green gardens.
Then a medium sized grade.
And finally Boo Boo Hill.
The peak of Boo Boo Hill initially looked like a scrap yard of old wood. But on closer inspection I discovered that the wood was all plaques with Boat/Yacht/Vessel names from visitors past. Some as recent as this year.

Next stop was The Blow Holes.
Unfortunately, it appeared that The Blow Holes had not been active in some time, they were dry.
I felt like Ralphie on The Christmas Story, when he found out that the decoder ring was just a lousy commercial.

But I did see some geyser of water in the distant shoreline, so I went to investigate.
The east shoreline was composed of a very rocky terrain with cliffs gourged out by the rushing waves, causing some decent geyser type sprays.

After the fake news “Blow Holes” We spent a couple hours on the beach right in front of the Mahi Mahi, on Exuma Park Lounge Chairs – in the the water !
(sorry no photos).

Then another amazing dinner from Deena – Pasta Tonight !

While waiting for dinner we watched several Stingrays swim right by the Mahi.
They were about 3 feet wide !

Night-time was spent playing the Mexican Train table game (dominos type game), sipping some fine Tequila.

Sat – April  15
Saturdays main event was a dinghy ride in search of the Rocky Dundas Cave.
I had notes in my pre-trip powerpoint, that Rocky Dundas was in The Land & Sea Park.
Remember, we did not have any electronic service so we could not identify the exact location.
Google Searches were useless & Navoinics did not show the cave.
From paper charts Jerry had for the Exuma Islands, we were able to see some markings on the charts which identified “caves” , but without any names.

So we set off on a dinghy ride which ended up being about a 4 hour long ride completely around Waderick Wells Island, with stops at an unknown small cave & a couple secluded beaches.

We’ll call the unknown/unmarked cave “Mike’s Cave”
The approach to Mike’s Cave was again in some gorgeous water.
We beached the dinghy, and I walked from the beach, along the rocky shoreline, up to the cave.
I wanted to go under & thru the cave, but the current was very strong & I chickened out.
Jonell, Jerry, and Deena watched my adventure from the first of two very secluded beaches where we beached the dinghy.

After messin’ around at “Mike’s Cave” we pushed onward.
At that point we were 60% around the Waderick Wells Island, and decided to try to go completely around the island.

We were not sure if this was possible because at Mike’s Cave, we were still protected by the land of Waderick Wells & Hog Island.

Finishing our trip around the island would require going out along the shoreline into the open sea.

Fortunately, the wind/wave gods were shining on us – the waves got to about 2 ft, but the dinghy & adventure team had a wonderful ride.

We were almost back to the main channel entering the North Mooring field when we spotted another pristine beautiful secluded beach. So we stopped again and finished what was left in our small cooler -water of course.

After returning home from the “Great Loop” around Waderick Wells Island (about 5-6 miles), we spent about an hour snorkeling near the mooring field in a designated area.
There were several small fish of many different colors – Blue/White, Black/Yellow, and Gray/White Striped (sorry no photos taken).

Since there are no restaurants, no bars, no internet, no cell signal – it was Deena to the rescue again.
Chicken Strips, Noodles, & Tequila !

Lights out at 21:30 hrs.
Tomorrow it’s off to a very small marina on Compass Cay Island.
Only 18 slips, and mostly for The Big Boys.
But famous for – “Swimming with the Nurse Sharks”
Hopefully we have Internet or Cell Service.

Note = In order to keep up on the blog and not confuse what we did on which days – I take notes during each day. Then at night transpose the notes to a Word document. Then when I get an internet or cell signal – I copy & paste the Word document into WordPress & attach the photos & video.

I hope you are enjoying the blog posts.
They are a bit of work, but fun for me to do, and they leave me & Jonell an easy way to look back on the trip in the future.

Todays Trivia = Where di the nautical term “Tender” come from, for a small boat operating off of a larger yacht ?

Answer = Scroll Down

Scroll Down

Scroll Down

Todays Trivia = Where di the nautical term “Tender” come from ?

Answer = A little boat that runs back and forth to a bigger boat (or ship) is called a tender—because it tends to the needs of the larger craft. Moderately sized recreational boats call their tenders dinghies.
A romantic seafaring past? Upon arrival in port, merchant ships would post an announcement detailing the merchandise they wanted to buy or sell. This announcement was delivered ahead of the ship by a small vessel – known as a ‘tender’. This process came to be known as tendering

10 thoughts on “Port #5 – Exuma Land & Sea Park (Warderick Wells Mooring Balls)

  1. I’m enjoying every minute of this. Thanks for the gorgeous pictures of that beautiful blue water. Snow today in MI after a week of 80 degrees. Stay safe.


  2. Fantastic to read about the ongoing adventures. It appears you all never get bored. So have you attempted fishing off the back yet for the freshest dinner? I’m sure almost anything for bait might work. I caught a large Red off of the dock which my parents had at their condo at the bay in Clearwater Fl. It was Thanksgiving and I used the dark meat from the turkey my mother made. I also used cooked shrimp as that was all they had. Both worked very well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. just read your last posting & i am extrermely exhausted. you really are doing a good job with describing and taking photos. would like to swim in those waters. all i can say is to keep having a great time. HERB by the way we had snow last nite & is 34 degrees


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