Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Secret World

January 23, Shroud Cay, The Exumas
Leaving Allan’s Cay, we hoisted our sails for an exhilarating sail down the Bank to Shroud Cay, part of Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park. From the water, it looks like any of the other islands here, but the rocky perimeter shelters a secret hidden world.

Inside, crystalline lime green streams crisscross the island. They carve their way through mangrove marshes and white salt flats. At high tide, the flats become shallow pools; low tide leaves gently undulating white expanses and exposed tangles of mangrove roots—a landscape of otherworldly beauty.

We set out in Claus and Rachael’s dinghy at low tide to explore the interior. Half of the time, we had to jump out and drag it through the shallows. As you can see, we had no fun at all!

In the crystal clear stream of the protected habitat, huge conch lay undisturbed, little nurse sharks and black tips swished by, puffers and scores of other fish darted, and two crabs squeezed each other in a careful mating embrace.
At the other side of the island, the stream poured into the deep water of Exuma Sound, flanked by a long stretch of beach and the curve of a cove. We hiked to Camp Driftwood, and reveled in the 360-degree view. What a glorious palette of watercolors and creative brushstrokes God used to paint His world!

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