Exuma: Jewels in the Sea (2)

Exuma: Jewels in the Sea (2)

Con­tin­ued from Part 1…

Land and Sea Park (Bahamas Nation­al Trust)

Once reached, the gem­stone islets of Exu­ma invite you to mean­der at a delib­er­ate pace in placid, gin-clear waters. There were sail­boats and cruis­ing lots galore along the islets, and you can see why. Sail­ing from one to anoth­er, drop­ping anchor by whim or fan­cy, is an expe­ri­ence that will wash the world away.

Every islet is dif­fer­ent and has its own attrac­tions. At Ward­er­ick Wells Cay is the Exu­ma Cays Nation­al Land and Sea Park—a good first stop after cross­ing over from Eleuthera. A marine fish­ery and native plant pre­serve, it occu­pies 176 acres. Fish­ing is banned to pre­serve the amaz­ing array of marine life, which you can see by div­ing or kayak.

3ThunderballGrottoThun­der­ball Grot­to, loca­tion for a famous James Bond film, is a cave in the coral where at low tide you can swim inside, sur­round­ed by schools of curi­ous, mul­ti-col­ored trop­i­cal fish.

The div­ing here is spec­tac­u­lar. An upper wet suit was the most we need­ed, and though Bahami­an waters are not known for tepid tem­per­a­tures in Feb­ru­ary, it seemed the water out there was warmer than the south side of Eleuthera—more like 3MeetMrSergeantthe Atlantic, which by a strange inver­sion of the Gulf Stream, is warmer than the Exu­ma Sound in the winter.

There are many more pho­tos of this beau­ti­ful lit­tle ocean hole. Just Google “Thun­der­bird Grot­to Exuma.”

Under­wa­ter pho­tos by Bar­bara Langworth.

2MajorCayPigsAt Major Cay, the famous “swim­ming pigs” prove that Churchill was right: “Cats look down on you, dogs look up to you—give me a pig! He looks you in the eye and treats you as an equal.” Click here for a good video.

Miss Piggy
Miss Pig­gy

The estab­lish­ment of pigs on this unin­hab­it­ed islet near Staniel Cay began a few years ago by a friend of Paul Pet­ty. They have a fresh­wa­ter pond for water and food to root in the bush, but are also well fed by tourists, who beach their whalers or anchor in shal­low water. The pigs swim out, dog-pad­dling with their noses snor­kel­ing in the air. A half-dozen fat, seago­ing pigs are the only res­i­dents. Baby pork­ers are removed when weaned, so the islet doesn’t overpopulate.

Con­clud­ed in Part 3…

Streakin’ Home.

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