Norman's Cay to Warderick Wells, Exuma Cays, Bahamas
KORKZcrew is the blue dot on the map.
I'm continuing to play "catch up" on my blog from KORKZcrew's adventures in the Exuma Cays last spring. Please bear with me as there'll continue to be posts "from the past" that chronicle our journeys through early May 2022. I'll resume more current updates beginning in mid-December when we head back in that general direction. Ron, KORKZcrew, Steve the dog, and two of Ron's close friends are already underway. They left Wilmington, NC on November 5th, got a bit delayed during Hurricane Nicole, and as of this writing on November 11th are winding their way through Georgia. Greta, Skeet and I will fly down to the Abacos around December 18th and meet Ron and Steve at a local marina where they've reserved a slip for KORKZcrew through Christmas. For more "real time" updates, follow me on Instagram here. I typically post current news about KORKZcrew in my Stories.
Spectacular weather and water today for our trip south to Warderick Wells. As you may recall, Warderick Wells is home to the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park:
"Established in 1958, the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is the first marine reserve in The Bahamas and the wider Caribbean. Covering 112,640 acres of land and sea, it is renowned for its breathtaking beauty, species biodiversity, secluded beaches, amazing views and safe anchorages. Throughout the park you can explore the underwater magnificence of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses, stroll along pristine beaches, traverse several hiking trails, and observe tons of wildlife including birds, fish, turtles and iguanas."
We visited here earlier this year, and made it a priority to return. It stands out as one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited. No exaggeration. While it is only accessible by boat, you can easily get there via several charter companies that offer day trips from Nassau, Staniel Cay, or George Town. Put it on your bucket list — it is THAT special.
Before we left this morning, we saw one of Ron's KORKZ clients who also happens to be a day-trip charter company out of Nassau, Pieces of 8. I'm sure they were wondering why in the world I was taking their picture, but they smiled nicely for the camera nonetheless.
Here's a last spin around our anchorage at Norman's Cay. And just a quick heads up slash apology, all of these videos have some serious wind noise, so mind your ears 😜:
Below is the view as we're leaving Norman's. Near the end of the video, you'll see KORKZcrew pass the relatively new Norman's Cay Marina, where they can accommodate some pretty monstrous yachts.
"Norman’s Cay Marina is roughly equivalent in size to that of Saint Barthelemy and Portofino, and can host the entire range of boat sizes—including 60m+ luxury yachts and swooped sailboats. It currently accommodates 37 vessels and will grow to become a 63-slip marina constructed with Brazilian Ipe wood docks and surrounded by 4000 mangroves that lead to a coral stone path and lush native flora that frame the Marina. Norman's Cay is also an official Bahamas Port of Entry."
Look at sweet Steve. He's SUCH a buddy. 🥰
Just outside of our anchorage as we headed south for Warderick Wells, we noticed soooo many superyachts on the horizon. I wish a picture or video could do a better job of reflecting their scale. It looks as though you're approaching a small city on the water.
When I use the term "super", picture a boat so big that a guy — with his caddy, mind you — can hit golf balls off of the yacht's bow 🙄. Yes, we actually saw this.
The first superyacht we approached was Intrepid.
"Intrepid is a motor yacht with a length of 69.15m (226.7 ft). The yacht's builder is Damen Yachting from Netherlands who delivered superyacht Intrepid in 2016. The superyacht has a beam of 11.5m, a draft of 3.65m and a volume of 1,128 GT.
...Up to 21 crew members including the captain ... are accommodated on board the superyacht Intrepid. . . .Intrepid has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. She is powered by 4 MTU engines, which give her a cruising speed of 18.0 kn and a top speed of 20.0 kn. The yacht has a speed of 18.0 kn. The yacht carries 350,000 liters of fuel on board, and 44,000 liters of water." Now here's the part I REALLY don't understand. Check this out. If you go back to the first photo of the 3 yachts, you'll notice that the two on the right are anchored relatively close to one another. Here's the second yacht, just south of Intrepid, known as Infinity at the time, which now goes by Cloud 9. Turns out they're traveling together. And why might that be?
Intrepid, in the first photo, is the"Support Yacht"(!!!) for Infinity, pictured above. I kid you not. Can you BELIEVE that SUPERYACHTS need SUPPORT yachts?!? I guess I've been living under a yacht rock 😂 but holy smokes, that is insane. Ok, so I just looked up the definition of a "support yacht" and found this little tidbit:
"Support yachts are for people who have outgrown their mega-yachts and need more space for their helicopters, speedboats, launches and submarines. The support yacht acts as a floating garage, trailing alongside the main yacht with all of the owner's oversized toys."
Can we all just observe a moment of silence for all those poor mega yacht owners who ran out of room for their submarines. Where is the justice in THAT?
So keep reading and you'll find the explainer as to why poor little Infinity doesn't have room for its toys. Grab your Kleenex, people. For starters, it's *only* 290 feet long.
"Infinity (aka Cloud 9) is a motor yacht with a length of 88.5m. The yacht's builder is Oceanco from Netherlands who delivered superyacht Cloud 9 in 2015. The superyacht has a beam of 14.2m, a draft of 4.0m and a volume of 2,914 GT.
Up to 14 guests are accommodated on board the superyacht Cloud 9, and she also has accommodation for 28 crew members including the captain. Cloud 9 has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. She is powered by 2 MTU engines, which give her a cruising speed of 13.0 kn and a top speed of 20.0 kn. The yacht has a speed of 13.0 kn. The yacht carries 280,000 liters of fuel on board."
The humble abode pictured above is known as Vibrant Curiosity, and comes in at a whopping 280 feet long. From Wikipedia: "Vibrant Curiosity is a megayacht, owned by German entrepreneur Reinhold Würth. Her accommodation provisions include a master stateroom with its own office and private exterior deck area with whirlpool, one VIP suite with his & her bathroom, five double suites, two of which occupy the uppermost deck, and two further double guest cabins." "The yacht has a crew of 26. It is capable of a top speed of 20 knots, a cruising speed of 17 knots, and a range of 5,500 nautical miles at 14 knots. A helicopter and helipad are located on the top deck."
Next we passed this monster known as "Starship". It turns out this yacht used to be the Below Deck boat from Season 9 called "My Seanna" at the time. Click on this link to see the interior. It is a hair over the top to put it mildly, including "opulent interiors with fittings brushed in 22 carat gold." 🤢.
"The 56.39m/185' motor yacht 'Starship' (ex. My Seanna) by the American shipyard Delta Marine offers flexible accommodation for up to 12 guests in 6 cabins and features interior styling by Glade Johnson Design. From bow to stern, Starship is brimming with a fantastic array of social and dining areas, both inside and out, making her the ideal yacht for relaxing and entertaining whilst on charter. Her features include a movie theatre, beach club and gym."
The last one I'll mention is a yacht named "Spirit" where we saw the guy hitting golf balls off its bow while his caddy looked on. 🙄 I found a yacht named Spirit online but the boat's window configuration looked different so I wasn't sure it was the same one. BUT do not despair — here's a video if you'd like to study the guy's golf swing. 😂 I was more annoyed than impressed but you didn't hear me say that.
As you've no doubt noticed by now, we listen to a LOT of music while underway. Ron has always had great playlists (which is purely my opinion but also completely spot on 😂) and Skeet has caught the bug as well, liking music from our generation far better than the tunes from his own — although he listens to both. I've got NO idea what he's listening to here (he's got earbuds plugged in) but it must be pretty darn good.
After about 2.5 hours, we maade it to heaven on earth (who knew it was such a short trip?!), otherwise known as Warderick Wells and the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park.
There are six mooring fields throughout the park, and only one has reservable mooring balls, which cost a modest $20 per night to help fund the park's ongoing conservation efforts. On our last visit, we were lucky enough to secure one of these amazing front row seats to all the marine life at Warderick Wells. The park staff monitors VHF 09 and 16, and you simply call "Exuma Park", and ask if you can reserve a mooring ball. What we didn't realize in January was that you could reserve these spots ahead of time, which wasn't an issue at the time because there weren't as many cruisers out and about as there are now that it's March. So this time around, we found no room at the inn, but made a mental note in the future to call (242-601-7438) or email (email@example.com) ahead and see if we could reserve a mooring ball in advance. We circled around this favorite anchorage while we talked to the park office, and once we learned no mooring balls were available, we made our way to another mooring field on the south side of Warderick where it's first come, first served.
One massive stressor that reared its ugly head and broke through this otherwise serene moment was that our steering decided to go out just as we were leaving the mooring field 😳. Great timing too, as we're having to navigate around very large, very expensive boats that were all moored and minding their own business. Lordy that wasn't fun, but the captain discovered we needed hydraulic fluid, and we're hoping that's all it is.
So to switch the narrative back to peace and calm, here are a few photos and drone videos I took of the spot we chose for the night. Steve says sweet dreams.
2.5 hours underway; 16 nautical miles traveled
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