The sleeping issues improved as I wasn’t as worried about the rising tides but it still wasn’t a restful night. Having said that, I still awoke refreshed and eager for my morning swim at dawn’s early light. Swim is a strong word, more like a lazy water stroll. Sharks are always on the mind as it’s prime feeding time but the water was so shallow that I knew Jaws wasn’t going to swallow me whole. I might die from a shark bite but at least I wouldn’t be consumed whole. So that was reassuring. Again, it was an incredibly calm day and not even a leaf was moving. It was as still as I’ve ever seen it in all my trips to the Exumas. I’d venture to say it is rare to see waters so calm anywhere for that matter, particularly when it’s the friggin ocean. The goal for the day was to paddle around the north side of the Brigantines towards our origination point but spend the night on Cluff’s Cay before heading back. There are some days that become etched in our memories for a lifetime. This would be one of them.
We had to pack up camp since we were moving locations and it seemed much easier than I remember. I’m gettin’ good at this kayak/camping thing. The paddle down the northern side of Long cay and Lily cay were just magical. Waist deep light turquoise water and nothing but white sandy bottom for a couple miles. The last cut we had to cross was rather wide and the tide was working against us but we crossed it with no issues. Tamara always goes first and when she paddled out into the middle of it, she didn’t look like she was moving an inch. Luckily, it looked worse than it actually was. Whew.
We arrived on the shore of Cluff’s Cay. There were two small beach areas situated just to the right of an old dilapidated boathouse and cement dock. We de-geared and went for a walk around the abandoned property where clusters of lemongrass, frangipani trees, sea grapes, and numerous other flowering trees peppered the overgrown property. One could imagine what a stunning landscape it was when it was occupied and cared for in the decades past. Several mature coconut palms stood tall over the island paradise. The “yard” was covered in a think soft grass that felt like walking on a down comforter or quicksand, every step sinking further than the next. The main house was decrepit yet still standing but after years of hurricanes, neglect, and pilferage, what once appeared to be a dream, was nothing but a depressed wooden shack. A very large wooden shack. Random furnishings and décor still remained which elicited images and ideas of what once was. Someone poured his or her heart into this place and it was painful to see what it looked it like now. And although the house was no longer occupied by humans, a much older species had taken up residence. Exuma dinosaurs. Only the largest iguanas I have ever seen in the wild. These things were so monstrous that their turds were almost double the size of a human. I thought certainly there was something else occupying that building. Godzilla (which we would later call them) HAD to be hiding in a closet. I couldn’t fathom how something that large could come out of an iguana for Godzilla sakes. And it was everywherrrrrrre.
There were several places to set up camp so the world was my oyster. Beach, grassy knoll, at the end of the dock? What shall I do? I decided it would be nice to get out of the sand for a night so I settled on a grassy area just off the beach. Most of the others set up camp on the beach, and two of the girls set up their shared tent on the sundeck of the house. Those brave souls. Although Godzillas ran all over the property, I wasn’t interested in a slumber party or pillow fight at their place.
Setting up camp was a breeze and we had some lunch and relaxed for a while before we headed back out for a bonus afternoon paddle. And a bonus it would be….