Warderick Wells, the headquarters for the Land and Sea Park, was a short hop south of Hawksbill.
We made the journey within a few hours. As we approached to the anchorage, we navigated around a large sand shoal. The shoal (at only 2-3’ deep) struck a clear border against the 12-15’ depths surrounding it.
We anchored and dinghied to a landing next to the park office. At the dinghy landing we saw some familiar faces! The group who unloaded next to us was a sweet Canadian couple from S/V Time Out and their friends. We had also run into them at Bimini and Andros! Little did we know we would end up seeing each other two more times at Staniel & Big Majors!
The group headed up a set of stairs adorned with buoys and other nautical flare. Our crew followed behind—eager to explore a new place!
In the office/store/museum we were able to pay for our anchorage/use of dinghy landing and a 24-hour WiFi pass. While I made the arrangements and collected the island map, the kids felt around inside the “mystery boxes” to guess the contents. They reported a conch and large clam shell.
Outside the office, the walls were completely covered with information ranging from large scientific posters on the life cycles of native species to posts from the ranger station—more on this later.
Our first goal was to hike to the top of Boo Boo Hill. We followed trail signs that directed us through a variety of unique landscapes.
At the top, we found the most amazing collection of inscribed driftwood—a beloved tradition of visiting cruisers. The monument was incredible—as was the view.
We weren’t as prepared as many of those who had come before us, but we managed to find a small smooth stick nearby and scrounged up an ink pen to leave Plan B’s contribution.
Meanwhile, the kids befriended a couple lizards. One was keen on biting Zion’s fingertip, but it was painless.
The kids added their names to the stick and placed it on the pile.
An approaching squall abruptly interrupted our moment. We forfeited the Blow Holes and headed back toward the office in a hurry.
The squall ended up sparing us, but we had already reached the beach. The kids and Kyle stayed to play while I headed to the office to make use of the WiFi.
The WiFi signal we had paid $15 for was weak sauce. As I sat waiting for blog and Instagram posts to load, I began reading the posters. To my dismay, I learned that land crabs lay 250,000 eggs at a time. FLASHBACK: The crab I had speared on Goulding Cay was full of eggs! As soon as we discovered the eggs we left the crab in hopes the eggs would still make it. END FLASHBACK. Learning I had potentially wiped out 250,000 crab eggs was tough to choke down!
A small plaque pointed out the Poisonwood grove surrounding the small wraparound deck. My mind flashed back again to our brief exploratory hike on Hawksbill the day prior and I began to itch!
My uploads were seemingly at a standstill so I moved on to the park notice board. Posted was a lengthy list of needs which included 2-cycle oil, copier paper, miscellaneous tools, fuel cans and personal products.
I had been keeping an eye on the kids and Kyle down below just in case they needed me. Finally, I left the phone behind in hopes it would eventually load and joined them at the beach.
They showed me all their discoveries—seashells, live conch and snails. Then, the island’s Saturday evening tradition began to unfold—Sundowners. Sundowners is a phenomenon in which cruisers migrate toward a certain location and gather together for fellowship, snacks and drink. We were not prepared as we had not come equipped with any food or beverage contributions, but we said hello and met some very nice people.
The ranger who had checked us in was present for the gathering. Intrigued by this microcosm—I had questions. She said her and a handful of others work and live on the island and pointed toward the shared community house. We then discussed the water issue—life on Warderick relies solely on desalination. The rangers depend mainly on donations and the cruisers who visit to bring them what they need. She said on a rare occasion, they may take a speed boat to Nassau to get supplies. I couldn't quite figure her out—my curiosity only grew. My next question was even more personal: “Do you enjoy your job?” She laughed slightly then explained that she’s constantly “on” due to incoming boats, check-ins and radio calls, but "it’s cool" because she doesn’t have anyone breathing down her neck which allows her to work at her own pace. I was pleased with the cultural encounter, but left wanting to somehow make a difference.
Kyle had gone to tend to the upload progress. Once it was complete, he grabbed the dinghy and motored over to the beach to retrieve us. We said our farewells.
The next morning, our plans were to visit the stromatolites on our way out, but the timing didn’t work due to the outgoing tides and shallow approach. That's okay—we'll see them NEXT time!
Kyle has a GREAT post coming your way!