January 8 â€“ January 10.
There are only a few bare inches under the keel of our boat. We float in a depthless hole of water. Although the wind has picked up, Blue Wing doesnâ€™t swing on her chain or even bob and weave much. It is a little eerie, but amazingly pleasant. Only one other boat joins us here. It is not marked as an anchorage on our chart, but this spot is the most agreeable we have moored in since arriving in the Exumas.
The anchorage was off the coast of Shroud Cay, the first island we visited in the Exumas Land and Sea Park, a preserve of 176 square miles of water, rocks, and islands, rich with history, sea life, and natural beauty. Shroud Cay is a group of cays and rocks surrounding an extensive mangrove swamp, interlaced with water trails.
We wanted to be close to the most northern trail to shorten the row to the mouth of the waterway. The small hole of water on the chart looked inviting even though it wasnâ€™t much deeper than our draft and was surrounded by much shallower water. All was well until the second night as the low tide sank even lower than usual on a new moon. We woke from our dreams to creepy feeling of Blue Wing scraping bottom. That morning, on a high tide, we motored out of our little oasis to a marked anchorage near the southern end of the cay. Not nearly as comfortable a spot, we rested assured that we wouldnâ€™t awake in the wee hours to find ourselves balancing precariously on the Exuma seabed.
Exploring the trails at Shroud Cay was fun and our dinghy, Fever, was up to the task, rowing through the low waters with only the sound of his oars propelling us along.