Thursday, February 16, 2017

Shroud Cay

Saturday, February 11, 2017

This morning, we got up early to make the very short (7 mile) trip to Shroud Cay, where we picked up a mooring ball. We were amused to note that the straight-line distance back to Norman's Cay was only a few miles, and we could easily see the mound of construction rocks at the south end of Norman's that were being used to create a new breakwater for the coming resort that is being built there.

The early start gave us most of the day to do our exploring in and around Shroud.  Shroud Cay is the first of several islands in the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park.  It is completely protected and undeveloped.  This particular Cay's main features are the large mangrove swamps in its interior, and the large beach on the Eastern side, away from us.

Once settled in, we dropped the outboard back onto the dinghy and took a quick ride to shore, pulling up on the small beach there. The shoreline is rocky and steep everywhere else.  We noted the short climb up to the honor-system payment box, located well above any possible high-water mark.  We would come back there later to to pay our $20 mooring fee for the night.

Mostly Rocky Shoreline
Honor System Payment Box at the Top of the Hill
Shroud Cay has several main creeks into its interior.  All but the northernmost one are restricted to unpowered vessels only, such as kayaks, while the north creek permits motors but only at idle speed, less than 3 knots. We set out in the dinghy for the north creek, about a mile and a half away across shallow flats.
North Creek, Off in the Distance
Once there we entered the wide, shallow creek mouth.  It was low tide, so we had to pick our way in among the sand bars, sometimes getting out to lift the dinghy over them.

North Creek Entrance
Warning Notice: 3 kts and NO JetSkis
Mangrove Roots Line the Creek Shore
A short ways in, we encountered a side creek on the left.  We knew, from previous conversation with other cruisers, that this fork led deep into the Mangrove swamp, while the main creek on the right led all the way through to the beach on the eastern shore of the island.  We decided to go up the side creek first.
Side Creek into Mangrove Swamp
It was too shallow for the motor, so we raised it and got out the paddles. Immediately, we encountered a sandbar that required us to get out and portage the dinghy over it.

Portaging Dinghy over Sandbar
Shortly after we got back in, we startled a 2 ft nurse shark!  But he darted away quickly, much more afraid of us than we were of him!

We pressed on as far as we could go, eventually getting to the point where it was too narrow for the dinghy.  We had to back it out to a point that was wide enough to turn around.
Deep in the Swamp
The Last Wide Spot
Afterwards, we went back to the main creek and tried to get through to the beach on the eastern shore.  But low tide defeated us.  It was just too shallow to get the dinghy through.  Oh well,  its something to save for the next trip! ;)

Once we returned to Dolce Vita, I grabbed a $20 bill and a pen and we headed back to the beach to climb up to the payment box to put our money in an envelope and fill out our info.  The view from the top of the hill was worth the climb.
The Job's Not Over 'till the Paperwork's Done
Dolce Vita in the Mooring Field
Tomorrow, we'll head to the Park Headquarters at Waderick Wells.  We'll probably stay there several days waiting for another cold front to blow through because its well protected from all sides.

Life is good.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Ed. It's great to follow along. I use my Garmin charts and Google earth. Google Earth shows lots of photos on the East side of the North Creek. The Active Captain comments and the photos make the east side sound like Heaven on Earth. You should plan to go through on your way back north.