Exumas 2015

We spent Christmas 2013 kayaking in these waters. We liked it so much, we decided it was worth a return visit.

In our previous outing, we ran out of time to visit the swimming pigs at White Cay. So this time, we put this at the start of our trip. Once again, we relied on the services of Tamara and Dallas of Out island Explorers for kayaks and most of our kit.  We got into Georgetown Thursday, staying at Marshall’s Guest House in town. Next morning we met with Tamara and did some shopping in town. Then we did some shopping in town. And then some more shopping. Finally, we picked up the kayaks and headed up to Rolleville. After the mayhem that always accompanies the first packing of the kayaks, we head out to White Cay to visit the swimming pigs.

00-Pig Swimming out to Kayak 01-Swimming Pig 1

After spending some time with our porcine friends we head up to Levy Cay for our first night, encountering some big water as a result of passing a little too closely to one of the cuts along the way.  We get to Levy’s beautiful beach in time for a great sunset –

03-landing at Levy

Next morning, a leisurely start. (This was not going to be a mile-bagging trip by any stretch of the imagination). We finally got packed up and continued on our way up to Rat Cay. Last year, when  we stayed on this island, we could clearly see hoof prints on the beach – evidence of a resident pig, although we never actually saw her. This time however, she was there in person, and managed to make quite a nuisance of herself. To the point, in fact, that we decided we had to pack up and find alternative accommodation. Plan B was only a short hop over to Pigeon Cay, but it was dark by the time we got everyone back in the water and across to the other island. There is not a lot of real estate on Pigeon and there were a few tense moments as we tried to agree on a suitable spot for tent and kitchen that would be above high water mark. As it was, we were on the neap tide and the squeeze wasn’t as tight as we feared. Next morning we packed up and resumed our journey north to Lee Stocking Island.

On the way, we stopped off at a tiny beach on Windsock Island. As we had our snacks, we were approached by two couples in a small dinghy. They were touring the cays by sail and came over to tell us about the school of stingrays just off shore. After comparing notes, we headed over to the bay they pointed out, and sure enough, we encountered a huge school of rays in the shallow waters. Almost, but not quite close enough to touch……..

08-Reaching out

 

08-Rays 2

 

07-School of Rays

We dallied with these strange prehistoric creatures for quite a while before finally setting course for Lee Stocking, and Twin Beaches.

Twin beaches is a beautiful spot. A short trail leads over to the Atlantic side of the islands and some magnificent cliffs –

23-Atlantic Cliffs

 

13-Heather Ais at Twin sunset

 

21-Girls at the Cairn

22-Ais Photo Dawn

24-Twin Beaches tight squeeze

Unfortunately, the beach also seems to be a popular spot for day trippers from the Sandals resort at Emerald Bay. Our little haven was invaded twice. But they stayed only long enough to take a look at the cliffs and were off again.

Next day we took a short paddle up to a nearby beach. There are trails tucked away at each end . The one at the left leads up to Perry’s Peak. The “highest” peak in the Exumas. Only 123′ high, but enough to give a good view of the surrounding countryside and the wonderfully-named “Tug and Barge” rocks in the distance.

The other, longer trail, from the northern end of the beach, led up to an abandoned marine research centre. Once known as the Perry Institute for Marine Science.  Perry was a founder of the NOAA in the US. I assume the peak was named for him.

The trail leads out onto an airstrip. The old hangar and maintenance sheds are strewn with bits of machinery and parts. it struck me as a great set for an episode of the X-files.

15-Hangar

We would have spent more time poking around, but it was getting late and we needed to get back to the boats. Back at the beach, we were greeted by another party from Sandals. Things are definitely busier on this side of the Exumas. Last year, we started out in the Brigantines and went four full days without as much as a sign of human activity.

We decided to spend our last night back on Levy. That left us with a short hop back to our take out at Rolleville. Murphy’s Law of course – the wind had swung round 180 degrees by now, so we had it in our faces going out and coming back. As it was though, we had little cause for complaint. The storm front that threatened to play havoc with the last leg of our trip held off until we were safely back in the hotel.

More photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dermotmckeown/sets/72157650500861957/