Warderick Wells

January 12 – January 13.

These are among the ruins of three loyalist buildings. Legend says that the loyalists were massacred by pirates in the late 1700s.

Here we are at the Warderick Wells Land and Sea Park. This was the southernmost point of our trip last year. We were here at the end of April, so it’s satisfying to be this far south as early as January 12th.

We left this morning sailing past the Cistern Cays, Saddle Cay, Danger Cay, and the Lightning Rocks under a brisk easterly breeze. The wind speed increased, whipping up the waves to a sloppy three foot chop as we passed the Wide Opening cut, which connects the Exuma Bank and Exuma Sound.

As we sailed by Long Rock I looked at the dinghy trailing behind us. It can be used as a sailboat, so there is a slot running from the top of the center bench through the bottom of the boat. The slot is used to slide in a centerboard keel when sailing. Th top opening is above the waterline so water doesn’t come into the boat. Well, water was coming in now. With each slap of a wave water would geyser up through the slot. Th dink eventually filled up, slowing our speed a bit. We’ll be sure to put in the centerboard next time.

A squall line approached as we sailed past the southwest tip of Warderick Wells and tacked back up toward Emerald Rock at the center of the isle. The Emerald Rock location looks like a great spot with the 2.5 mile Warderick Wells Cay stretching across the northeast, Narrow Water Cay to the northwest, Malibar Cays to the southwest, and shallow sand bars all around. But now that we’re here in crappy weather it feels like a witches cauldron with waves bubbling up from all directions. Maybe tomorrow will bring us good exploring weather.

On Sunday, after a rocky night, we went ashore to check out the southern half of Warderick. We walked through the Loyalist ruins, along the stone wall which straddles the narrow isle, and to the eastern shore. Then we rowed down to the tip of the cay and walked across to pirate’s lair. As we tromped around during the day the weather improved. By nightfall we had a calm place to sleep off a full day of leaving footprints and taking pictures.

Wall straddling the island.
Eastern shore of Wardrick.
Rocks on the eastern shore of Wardrick.
Rocks on eastern shore. You can see pirate’s lair anchorage through the hole.
Hutria, nocturnal rabbit-sized rodents, are the only mammals native to the Bahamas. We saw several on our hike. Not sure why they were foraging in the daylight.
A channel hidden behind a hill, striking distance from the Wide Opening cut, with a fresh water source nearby. What else could a pirate want? This was a hideout for pirates.
The fresh water from this ‘spring’ actually just drains down through the limestone.
Meeting place by the spring at pirate’s lair.
Seeds for these cabbage palms, which are not native to the Bahamas, were probably carried here in the bedding and clothes of pirates.
Don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows. These guys ran across the beach and waited downwind for cracker crumbs to blow off our picnic table. Did I say picnic table? Yes, what a treat when we usual sit on rough rocks to eat lunch.

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