Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Take a 2-minute YouTube mini-tour of the Bahamas and you’ll wonder why depression is called 

“the blues.”

We tucked tail from Shroud Cay to get better shelter in Warderick Wells, the crown jewel of the Exumas Cays Land and Sea Parks, and home of the park’s headquarters.

Warderick Wells, part of Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the Bahamas.

Warderick Wells still gets windy, but thanks to near 360-degree protection, the chop never gets too rough. It’s the kind of place boats go to securely ride out 70+-knot winds. We were there in winds in just the steady 20-knot range. We were “stuck” there 5 days, and even though the winds kept me from snorkeling (though here’s a little bit of what I saw on a prior Warderick Wells trip) or kayaking, there are worse places to be stuck, even without WiFi.

Eight passengers on a 4-person dinghy, Warderick Wells.
Note the ponytail on the gal standing. Yes, it was windy!

The park used to sell limited WiFi access but decided the complaints about its limitations weren’t worth the hassle of offering the service. Technically, there is WiFi if you are able to get enough of a signal in the non-public part of the park headquarters or at the top of BooBoo Hill from nearby Highborn Cay’s BTS tower. Honestly, despite my addiction to the internet, my time at Warderick Wells reminded me of how little really happens most of the time if you step out for a while.

Chris and Chris’ sailboat Scintilla, looking like the cover of a cruising magazine at Warderick Wells.

Warderick Wells is named for its natural cisterns, which provided drinkable water in times past. These days, drinking water throughout the Bahamas comes from reverse osmosis—also known as taking the salt out of saltwater. If you’re coming to the park, you bring your own water, along with anything else you need.

Dana and Wayne at the top of BooBoo Hill, Warderick Wells, the Bahamas.
Photo courtesy Chris(tine) of s/v Scintilla.

The hiking is terrific at Waderick Wells. You could easily spend a couple of days to cover all the trails, especially if you want to wade the island’s lovely beaches. Thanks to the Bahamas Land Trust formation and management of the park, the trails are reasonably well-marked and there’s useful educational signage about the park’s history, flora, and fauna. At least this time, I didn’t get myself lost on my hike—not sure if that’s due to improved trail markers or hiking with Wayne, rather than solo.

This is the rough, Exuma Sound side of Warderick Wells.

The blowholes burst 30 feet into the air, but I was unwilling to soak my non-waterproof camera with a decent enough zoom lens to photograph the blowholes in all they spurting glory at a distance. Even at the top of BooBoo Hill not only could I not hold my camera steady in the wind, and there was still significant saltwater spray from Exuma Sound. Getting closer would’ve surely soaked my camera. Besides, I decided I wasn’t up for rock-hopping out to the blowholes in the winds as I was and still am healing up from the knee I tweaked at Shroud Cay.

View of our Gulfstar 45 from BooBoo Hill, Warderick Wells.
The turquoise area is the only part deep enough not to scrape a hull, and it’s got a wicked current.

My only real complaint about Warderick Wells is how tight the channel is. We muffed our first grab at the $35-a-night mooring ball line that we tried to snatch in 20+knot winds—despite our friends from Scintilla‘s help. There was no room for error, so we scraped what little paint there was on our keel down to the fiberglass on the sandbar. We’ll add that to our list of items to address on this summer’s haulout.

One of the 8 superyachts anchored near us at Shroud Cay, Exumas, Bahamas.
One of the superyachts at Shroud was called
SkyFall, like the Bond flick, and looked Bond-worthy.

The good news is that narrow channel keeps out the superyachts, who have an uncanny talent for blocking my sunset views at anchor. They also tend to run their noisy generators all night, which helps them eviscerate our night vision with the disco-like lights they irradiate the water with after sunset and until dawn. 

Stepping Stone, a trawler, got rammed by a catamaran attempting to tie off
on the mooring ball next to them at Warderick Wells.

That narrow channel also probably factored into why we witnessed a catamaran slamming into a parked trawler at Warderick Wells. At least we just hit a sandbar. Warderick may not get the superyachts, but it gets a lot of charter boats that are not always working as they should, with captains who don’t always know what they’re doing. Beware!

Location Location

Sunset at Warderick Wells, Exuma, Bahamas. Not a bad place to be stuck for a while.

This is a retrospective of when we were at Warderick Wells, Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the Bahamas, 24 23.797N 76 37.940W, mooring ball #9, March 8-13, 2021. We are currently anchored off of Georgetown. My next posts will cover Major Cay and Stanley Cay, where we anchored after Warderick and before Georgetown. We’re working our way down to the Ragged Islands.