Posted by: suliere | April 21, 2013

Paddling with Sharks

Sunday April 21th 2013

What a great day!  In the morning we christened our two new kayaks ‘Splish and Splash’ Paul’s bright orange or Port side kayak being ‘Splish’ and Lesley’s bright green or Starboard kayak being ‘Splash’. We decided to stick to the ‘water sounds beginning with S’ theme for our growing fleet. The others being ‘Slurpy’ and ‘Sloppy’.

Time to Stand and Stare

Time to Stand and Stare

This was their first real Kayak ‘expedition’ as we headed up the creek just north of the mooring field in Fresh Wells Bay, Shroud Cay.  The creeks wind themselves through mangroves but unlike other mangrove areas we’ve seen, the water is crystal clear making it easy to see the wealth of fish in their watery nurseries. They seem unperturbed by our presence in the kayaks as we quietly glide into their homesteads.

Kayaking Into the mango Creeks

Kayaking Into the mango Creeks


We’d guesstimated the creek to be about a mile but with all its convoluted twists and turns it seemed quite a bit further. We had timed this trip at low tide so although shallow we had water all the way.

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About two thirds of the way in our journey Lesley spotted a small skinny shark, yellowish brown in colour and about two feet long, probably a small lemon shark swimming in the water ahead of her kayak and moving very slowly. Anytime the kayak grew close he steeled his body streaked ahead at lightening speed, just amazing to see how fast he could move!


As we arrived at the end of the creek we had to drag the kayaks through a real moonscape scene of hillocks and water pools where we  spotted a small stingray. He was probably just leisurely sunning himself in one of the little pools left behind and we disturbed him with all our splishin’ and a’splashin’.   As Paul got closer with his pole-cam the fish decided to make a last minute, unexpected dash for it sliding past Paul’s feet initiating frantic movement on Paul’s part as he tried to get out of its way.  Luckily in all the commotion neither party got hurt – the sting ray was not stepped upon and Paul’s feelings were not hurt as Lesley bends double in laughter at his new dance!

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Pauls Close Encounter

Pauls Close Encounter


We tied the kayaks to the mangroves and walked through a small cluster of trees to find a beautiful wild, windswept beach of white sands and crashing waves.  We’d enjoyed the peaceful solitude of our excursion and wandered along the beach picking up a little Flotsam.  This being a beach on the eastern shore of the Cay on the Exuma sound side it is exposed and prone to accumulating ‘stuff’

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As we walked along the beach we were taken aback by the large glaring pile of flotsam that had accumulated there, sadly an unfortunate footprint of mankind’s contribution to Mother Nature’s landscape.

Sad to See Mankind’s Contribution to Mother Nature’s Landscape.

Sad to See Mankind’s Contribution to Mother Nature’s Landscape.


When we had finished or moochings we started making our way back up the creek and again found the small shark we had seen earlier now in very shallow water and clearly disturbed by us.  Little did we know that towards the end of our journey down the creek we would meet his much larger mother as she passed our kayaks at some speed.  Our trip had taken a little longer than we intended but had been a truly memorable experience for us .

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We’d only been aboard Suliere for a quick half hour break before it was time to head off again, this time towards the northern most creek.  We had planned this trip at high tide because we wanted to use Slurpy our dinghy to explore and needed enough water to float our boat!  We timed our trip to be 2 hours before and up to two hours after high tide which was at 5 pm


Our primary aim here was to visit Camp Driftwood, a place of homage apparently on a small hill on the eastern shore at the end of the creek that we would have to hunt around to find.   A special place know by Yachties since the 1960’s where people would take a piece of driftwood from the beach, write their yachts name on it then place it amongst the hundreds of others at Camp Driftwood.  We had also heard the beach was very beautiful and worth a visit.

Lesley's Camp Driftwood Offering

Lesley’s Camp Driftwood Offering



We traveled up the creek under engine power, this being the only creek where you are allowed to do this and soon reached a wonderful beach on the eastern shore where there were two or three other dinghies pulled up on the sand.  We left Slurpy to dance amongst   them in the shallows as we headed ashore to find Camp Driftwood.


Was there ever such a a let down-  Camp Driftwood was gone, absolutely gone, not a stick nor sign of it just a large empty clearing atop the hill.  The park rangers had placed a sign there to say that nothing should be left behind as it would be removed for disposal.  So we placed our ‘Suliere Driftwood’ and took a somewhat meaningless photo before retrieving it thinking that we would make our own Camp Driftwood elsewhere  then headed down to the beach. Luckily the view had been worth the effort.

Camp Driftwood is Gone

Camp Driftwood is Gone


View from Camp Driftwood

View from Camp Driftwood

The beach was of stunning white sands and crashing, foaming waves so while Paul chatted to some other cruisers Lesley not able to resist the pristine waters headed in for a swim, the perfect end to a busy day of explorations. Soon Paul decided to take a splash too, and what a splash he made running for shore when he realized he still had his camera in his pocket!  Was this to be another destined for the camera cemetery?  (We later found that yes it was!)  Well the water was just too good  so as soon as he regained his humour Paul had a swim too We basked in the mellow afternoon sunlight, the warm water soothing on our skin, heavenly!

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Lesley Gets in for a Swim

Lesley Gets in for a Swim


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