Kayaking the Exumas: 2nd Annual, Final Day

Another calm night was upon us and not a leaf flapped all night.  I certainly didn’t have to worry about the tide as I was about 20 yards from the waterline, in the grass, so I had a better nights sleep. The only thing I worried about were the possible sounds of Godzilla footsteps around my tent. But I didn’t hear that either. Apparently, they sleep. Noted. The sun rose in its most beautiful way and I took a morning dip and then a little solo hike to the northern side of the island. It was a little sketchy as I chose to tip toe along the limestone daggers as opposed to karate chopping my way through the bush, but it was worth it anyway. The water was still just as calm as the previous few days and you could see the variety of island fauna scurrying every which way on top of and underneath the surface of the water each step I took.

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I made my way back to camp to discover that almost everyone was stirring and going about their morning ritual. Knowing that we had to pack up camp, I didn’t waste any time and ate a quick breakfast around the fire that Tamara started and efficiently packed up all my belongings. I swear it gets easier and easier each time. Like a well oiled machine, Pursey and I were ready to go.

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The simple route for the day took us around the northern side of Cluff’s Cay with a stop for lunch at a wrecked Haitian sloop (sailboat). The handmade wooden vessel was an amazing work of art. The mast still stood tall and was made from the trunk of a tree and you could see each panel of wood cut and fitted end to end completing the structure of the hull. An old tattered Haitian flag still dangled from the top. One could only imagine how many Haitian refugees were cramped onto that boat to defect to any other country but their own. Apparently the sloop wrecked only a couple years ago so the occupants are likely now living and working illegally somewhere in the Bahamas. It was a bittersweet sight and the fact that this huge vessel was handcrafted of (likely) scrap wood was just incredible.

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We ate lunch on the shore where many of these men likely spent several nights before being rescued. I can only imagine the bugs they had to deal with. We found sweatshirts and t-shirts scattered about the shore and I wondered if they could possibly be from some of the refugees. Who knows.

We were now homebound. Just a couple miles of paddling and our trip was complete. I had mixed feelings about the end. I could likely spend a few more days out here but I knew we were insanely lucky to have experienced absolutely perfect weather, which wouldn’t last much longer. This became apparent as we took our turn into Odie Creek, our last leg of the trip, and the waterway that would lead us to our destination. The current was pushing against us and so was the wind that had suddenly picked up out of nowhere. For about an hour, we had to kick it into high gear. I could tell the girls weren’t loving this and were eager to finish as this was by far the hardest section of the trip. We stayed as close to the mangroves as possible so we didn’t get pulled into the vortex of the channel but it was still a bit of a suck fest. The two local girls engaged their go-go gadget (old Nickelodeon cartoon reference) paddle arms and sped by us like a rocket was propelling their kayak. They were on fire and there wasn’t any stopping them. Ha! We all finally made it, shared a bunch of high fives, and packed up the truck.

In total, we paddled about 28 miles through the Brigantines, weaving in an out of each cay.  This link shows you the exact path we took and each stop we made.

It was another incredible trip filled with laughs, love, challenges, gratitude, and endless appreciation for all this gorgeous Earth has to offer.   I can’t EVEN wait to do it all over again. Who’s in next year?

 

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