Thursday, April 16, 2009

An amazing place

Kristen here - The Exuma Land and Sea Park is just amazing. We've been having a great time here and have enjoyed all the park has to offer.

On Tuesday morning I decided to go for a run on the trails here. I got a map from the office and told the lady behind the desk that I was going to run on the trails. She looked at me with concern that I didn't understand. "Be careful", she said "There are lots of loose rocks out there". I was going to tell her that I was experienced in trail running but decided to listen and heed her words. When I got out on the trails, I knew I had made the right decision. The terrain was nothing but sharp, jagged, hole strewn rocks. One stumble would send me falling on what looked like a bed of nails.

I pressed on and was very careful with my footing. After a few hundred feet I came upon a large hole deep down into the rocks. Then there was another and another. The trail twisted and turned and I was constantly going the wrong way and doubling back. One of the holes had a makeshift ladder into it. I was a bit too chicken to go check it out. I've read that these caves were used to collect bat guano for fertilizer. thanks! I'll stick to the ground level please!

After a bit the trail went into a forest of palm trees. YAY, I thought, no more impaling rocks. Now there were slippery palm fronds to deal with. The trees offered much needed shade, as I was keeping very close track of how much I was sweating. It was great fun to dodge the densly packed tree trunks.

As the trees cleared the trail rose steeply. I was expecting my legs to object, because they're quite used to flat ground. They didn't, and seemed glad to have solid rock footing again. At the top of the hill I was rewarded with a view like no other. The whole island was displayed around me in 360 degrees. Ahead I saw cliffs with the waves crashing and splashing high into the air against them. Beyond the cliffs was light green, emerald green, dark green and finally deep blue water. To my right was the long end of the Cay with jagged hills, flat sandy mangrove strewn valleys, and various coves with small beaches. To my left were the masts of boats in the mooring fields and the park offices. Above and beyond was the blue sky dotted with the occasional cloud stretching out forever, unbroken by land as far as I could see. Words simply cannot capture the beauty.

I continued my run and soon realized that 1/2 hour had passed. I needed to be back to the park office within an hour of when Chris dropped me off. Knowing the worry he had when I left, he would be even more worried if I didn't return on time. I didn't want to return on the same path, so I took a different route to Boo Boo hill. This is a place where cruisers leave items such as driftwood with their boat name on it. At the top of Boo Boo hill there was another amazing view of the island. At this time I had 15 minutes to return, so I searched for the trail back to the park offices. After running back and forth about 3 times, I finally found the trail down Boo Boo hill.

All along the trail there were curly tailed lizards running hither and fro. I was worried I would step on them, or even worse that they would jump on me! Run..Run...*squish*...eeeeewwwwwww. Just kidding, I didn't step on any.

Back at the boat I took my first cruisers shower. I filled and hoisted the solar shower up one of the stays. The solar shower is a large black bag with a handle on top and a plastic shower spout on the bottom. It holds about 4 gallons of water. Ok, so I didn't go totally cruiser and get nekked on the deck of our boat. I donned my bathing suit and stepped under the plastic spout. I twisted the spigot and was quite surprised by the flow of refreshing, salt cleansing, beautiful, clean water. It may have only been a hair above a trickle, but it was the best shower ever! Over the past few days, those 4 gallons have lasted for 4 showers.

After the shower, I decided to get to work on some sewing projects. I got my sewing machine out and then realized that I had to get material and fasteners out first. Upon opening the things to do cabinet and having its contents burst out onto the floor, I remembered that the cabinet needed to be organized and cataloged. *Phew* These things are never easy. Kaitlin helped me do the cataloging. By the time we were finished, I had lost all interest in sewing.

Yesterday we made the trip up Boo Boo hill with our piece of wood. The rigorous hike up the hill tuckered everyone out. At the top I was happy to share what I had seen the day before with the rest of the family. We screwed our memorbilia to a post and admired our work.

Right next to Boo Boo hill was a place called the Blow Holes. We were expecting them to be holes in the rock where the waves pushed water and spouted into the air. As we walked on the trail, I kept looking for waterspouts. When we arrived at the spot, I found two holes behind a pile of rocks and a sign. Being curious, I stood right next to them and peered down. *WHOOSH*!!! A HUGE gust of air blew me right in the face. I was so suprised that I let out a huge scream! Everyone then crowded around the holes to feel the breeze. The lady at the park office later told us that when the waves and tide are high, water actually comes up the holes.

When we got back to the park office, the kids and I decided to make use of the free kayaks. Yes, there are actually three kayaks, two one man and one two man, that you can just borrow for free! Casey used a one man, and Kaitlin and I went on the two man. We paddled out a bit and were hit by the huge current that runs through the mooring field. Thank goodness we decided to head up current first! We made it about 500 feet to a nearby coral reef and couldn't paddle anymore. The current then swept us back to the beach.

After that we snorkeled a bit, but the current was so strong we couldn't keep up. Not wanting to get swept away from the boat, we called it a day. I made tacos with cabbage instead of lettuce for dinner. It was actually quite tasty! The kids had no problem falling asleep after all of that!

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