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Posted By Robin & Jim

We're headed north so we can see more of the Bahamas, but we wanted to stop back at Warderick Wells - the headquarters of the Exumas Land & Sea Park to donate a little volunteer time to a worthy place.  They needed some splicing to make mooring pennants and they needed wood and epoxy repairs on some of their boats - all things we're pretty good at.  We had a fun day helping out and we left a few useful supplies behind.  While there we wanted to snorkel around the south end of the island to see the very rare stromatolites.  Stromatolites are considered to be some of the oldest fossils - they consist of fine layers of sediment trapped within thin films of organic matter such as algae and diatoms.  They are large block-like structures - and the scattered blocks look a little like the ruins of Atlantis.

stromatalite

I found a very old bone (that looked human) stuck in the sand next to one so we reported it to the Park.  Luckily an archaeologist happened to be doing surveys in the Park, so we took her to see it but I couldn't find it before the current got too strong.  She said that she'd have the underwater archaeology group do a proper search when they come in November, and she took our card to let us know what they find.
Bananaquits are among the little tropical birds found on the island.  The Park lets people put sugar in their hand, and the little birds will come for a party.

bird friends
bananaquits

We ran into DeFever friends Dennis and Nellie, who gave us some great tips for our visit to Eleuthera.  Small world!

From Warderick Wells we jumped back up to Highborne Cay to visit one of the dive spots I got from the CORAL REEF II.  We had a really nice dive on one of the steep drop-offs, and saw eagle rays, big lobsters, spadefish, and the usual pretty reef fish.

eagle ray

From there we headed up to the very northern end of the Exuma Islands since the weather was favorable to anchor where there is little protection.  We stopped at another of CORAL REEF's dive sites north of Ship Channel Cay that turned out to be really outstanding - it was a beautiful reef at 35' with very deep slot canyons that cascaded down to a wall that dropped off into the very deep Exuma Sound (hundreds to thousands of feet).  It was one of the most dramatic formations I've seen - with eagle rays and larger ocean fish cruising by.
We moved farther north to anchor off a huge sand bank cay for the night, and we managed to avoid some ugly storm clouds that passed north of us.  Watching the clouds (from a safe distance thank goodness!) we saw 5 waterspouts form and hit the water. 

water spout

Wednesday 9 June we headed up to Eleuthera to visit Spanish Wells and Harbour Island.


 
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