Much of the central land and sea area of the Exuma chain of islands in the Bahamas is taken up by the Exuma Land and Sea Park. Although it has been here for a while, it seems to have gotten much better organization and funding in the last few years. When we stopped here in the park two years ago, we saw very little of the organization behind it. Now, it is much more aggressively operated.
The objective of the park is to be self-sufficient in funding. To that end, they have a set of fees for anchoring and use of mooring balls in the park. To both collect the fees, and enforce the “no-take” fishing regulations they have roaming patrol boats, and to add a bit of extra muscle to that, they have a Royal Bahama Defense Force patrol boat that is based in these waters.
To add a bit of extra “incentive” when they catch someone poaching in the park boundaries, they make a big public display of it. When we were back in Florida we heard news of them snagging a large American boat fishing inside the park. Fines start at $500, and they can confiscate your boat.
Overall to us based our contacts with the patrol boat, and the headquarters staff the operation seems very well run. Tonight, we are at a mooring ball in a small, well protected harbor just outside of the park headquarters. The mooring balls are very well maintained—some of the best I have seen anywhere. Fees are reasonable, $0.50/foot/night for anchoring in the park, and $40/night for the moorings. The park equipment and facilities seem well maintained, and the people are friendly and efficient.
AND…. it is a beautiful place.
We’ll post pictures where we are back in a place with an internet connection. For now, we are doing this with the satellite phone connection.
We’ll be here exploring for a day or two, and then run further south to Georgetown where we can catchup on email, internet necessities, and groceries.
We had a problem with one of our refrigerators… I happened to notice that it was too cold. A bit of troubleshooting determined that the internal switch had been bumped from “Fridge” to “Freezer” while it was being packed. When we put the switch back to where it belonged… nothing. No cooling. The “Fridge” half of the thermostat seems to have died. It works fine in freezer mode. Hmmm….
When it comes to mechanical things, I am not a big believer in coincidences, but this time, everything I do points to the fact that the thermostat just seems to have died at the same time and from an independent cause, as the switch to freezer mode. Hopefully we can get a replacement in Georgetown.