Kayaking the Exumas. Again.

Just like mothers forget how painful their deliveries are only to pop out another kid 12 months later, I apparently dismissed my own traumatizing experience on the final day of kayaking in the Exumas last year. Why and how is it possible that, just a couple days after that ridiculously windy day of paddling, nearly tipping over multiple times, and considering just swimming to shore and calling for help, I completely change my mind and look forward to enduring it all over again? There’s something so fascinating about the human condition that allows us to crave something that we previously regretted and swore we would never do again. In crossfit, for example, you almost always regret showing up right about the time you are 3 minutes into the workout and your legs are already shaking like a newborn giraffe. Then, the next day, when you can barely walk, you find yourself putting on your workout clothes and driving to the very same place of suffering to do it all over again. What’s up with that?!?!?

Because the weather gods presented us with some less than desirable winds last year, I was anxious about what this year’s weather gods would chuck at us. The forecast wasn’t looking good but I had already arrived in Exuma and was fully committed to joining the 2nd Annual Ladies Kayak trip through the Exumas. <Side note, we’re looking for a better name for this trip so if anyone has a catchy name suggestion, we are all ears. We didn’t think “Whores with Oars” would be great for marketing so we passed on that one. LOL. But what in the heck rhymes with paddle or kayak besides nothing?>

As was customary, the night before we departed, we attended a meet and greet dinner where we would talk about our paddle route and ask any questions we might have. Of the 6 of us that adventured last year, 5 returned this year so I was thrilled to see my old peeps again, missing 1 of course. 5 other ladies joined this year, 4 of them living right in Great and Little Exuma and 1 from NYC. We met at the Exuma Yacht Club for dinner and when I wasn’t eating my own hair from the hurricane force winds blowing through the patio, I was enjoying some good belly laughs listening to the “newbies” ask questions about the trip. “What if we have to pee when we’re paddling?”, “How do we go #2?”, “Do I have enough food?” Typical questions you’d expect and similar to the ones we asked last year. But this time I could sit back and enjoy the others explore the unknown.


Here’s the new crew! Notice I had to hold my hair because of, well, wind.

I felt much better prepared this year but, again, was wishing I didn’t know what to expect because if the winds were going to be anything like they were at dinner, I might decide to spend the next 3.5 days drinking pina coladas at Sandals or island hopping on a boat. With a motor. Tamara, our bad ass leader and owner of Out Island Explorers, informed us that we would be taking a different route this year. Instead of leaving from the dock at the northeastern end of Barre Tarre and working our way up the Exuma Cays along the Atlantic side, we would instead launch from the bridge on the northwestern side and work our way through the Brigantines, a chain of small islands that appear were once connected to each other as one land mass protruding from the tip of Great Exuma (below) thousands of years ago. I was relieved to hear this would be our route as it is protected by the Exuma Cays (the ones we paddled last year) so the winds and currents wouldn’t be quite as strong should we run into some weather events. Further, I get to see new islands I haven’t seen before. Yaaaassssss! Now if only this wind would lie down, everything would be ok in the world.

Brigantines mpa

This is the entire map of Great and Little Exuma.  The Exuma Cays span much further north and west than what I show here but this year we will island hop within the yellow box.

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