Hands down my favorite Cay in the Bahamas – so far.

One of the things we wanted to do this season was to spend some time in the Bahamas Land and Sea Park. We had spent a few days at Shroud in the past, and anchored once by Warderick Wells for one night, but we had never spent any extended time exploring the hiking trails and snorkeling.

The Land and Sea Park is a series of protected areas within the Bahamas, and it’s strictly a no-take zone. No fishing, no shelling, etc. If you see it there, leave it there. We had heard the snorkeling is outstanding and the coral was in very good shape, so we were excited to check it out. You do have to pay .50/foot to anchor or $30/night for a mooring ball (for our size boat), but it’s a reasonable price to support an NGO that is doing very good work.

We spent a few more days in Staniel after getting our outboard, and of course it’s impossible not to take pictures of a such a pretty place:

One of the dinghy landing areas at Staniel Cay.
Staniel Cay has some of the most amazing blues in the Exumas.
Staniel Cay Yacht Club rents mooring balls now, but you choose them yourself so you need to know if there is sufficient depth for your boat at that particular ball. This guy learned a good lesson about the tides.

But eventually the weather was cooperating so we were off to our first ever visit to Cambridge Cay. We spent four nights there, and by the time we left, I knew it was my favorite non-settlement cay in the Bahamas (at least of those we’ve seen). I could have spent all winter there.

The water was so still when we raised the anchor to head to Cambridge that we could see the marks in the sand from our chain as the boat swung back and forth. By the way, this is 8 feet deep.
No wind for sailing on our way to Cambridge, but it’s hard to complain when you can see the bottom so clearly at 15 feet of depth.
The water color – it NEVER gets to be ho-hum!

Cambridge has a few hiking trails that we thoroughly explored. The longer one is the Ridge Trail which offered up wonderful views. Jeff and I didn’t go all the way to the end – it was hot and we had only brought one water bottle each – but that just gave us a good reason to go back again next winter.

There typically isn’t much elevation in the Exumas, so it’s a nice treat to find a trail that gives you a view from above. The anchorage and mooring balls are on the top right.
With the exception of the water color, some of the trail reminded me of the scenery when we drove down the Pacific Coast Highway last winter. I feel very fortunate to be able to travel like we have. Memories to last a lifetime, for certain!
I was teasing Jeff by singing “Climb Every Mountain” from The Sound of Music as we walked up the trail. Now that song goes through my head every time I see this picture.

The trail to Honeymoon Beach was shorter and flat, but it led to a gorgeous beach that we had virtually to ourselves. The only other couple there had arrived on a small power boat and were on the opposite end.

Our dinghy on the beach that leads to the Honeymoon trail.
You can’t miss the beginning of the trail!
Honeymoon Beach – stunning.

We also took full advantage of our bigger outboard and went to Rocky Dundas in the dinghy for some snorkeling. Our friends Lyn and Ken will be bringing our Olympus Tough camera when they arrive (we had it delivered to their house), so soon I’ll be able to add underwater pictures to the mix. I sure wish I had it when we were snorkeling the Rocky Dundas. There were TONS of fish everywhere and they were following us. I suspect people feed them.

An added bonus was seeing our friends Marc and Nancy on Mer du Jour, who joined us in the mooring field on our second day. We had a great time playing Euchre each night and laughing a ton. Nancy and I even went on a girls hike on the Ridge Trail.

It’s always so much fun when Nancy and I get together!

Since Mer du Jour has a much larger outboard than we do, we all went snorkeling together at a spot called the Aquarium where we saw plenty of fish and a turtle. We also snorkeled the sunken plane where there were a ton of fish and a nurse shark sleeping on the bottom. The current was so strong though that we had to keep kicking our fins just to stay in place. Marc stayed in the dinghy to keep an eye on all of us.

Finally, although we didn’t get a chance to get together for sundowners with them, we were also able to see and chat with our friends Chuck and Helene on Aurora. Their trip to the Bahamas was a bit shorter so our paths never did cross again for those sundowners, but hopefully we’ll see them again this summer. In the meantime, Chuck snapped this fantastic shot of Jeff and I are in our dinghy as the sun went down one evening. Thanks again, Chuck!

Next up: Warderick Wells.

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