Friday 21 January – Monday 24 January
The park announces mooring assignments starting at 9 am every morning, so we are listening to see if there is one available for us. Just because you make a reservation (allowed a day in advance) does not mean they will have one available. With a front predicted for Saturday night/Sunday morning & this being one of the better protected places to be it could be full. Once you have a mooring there is no limit of how long you can stay. There are 3 mooring fields the North one by the park headquarters, biggest and most popular, Emerald Rock protection only from the east, and the small south anchorage at Hog Cay, more isolated but very good protection from all sides. There are no openings for us at the main anchorage, availability at the other 2, a quick look at the map tells us that the Hog Cay anchorage will be the best place to be for the front. We leave Shroud by 9:30 and a quick little motor sail down the banks and into the sound through Wide Pass (called that because it's the widest deepest pass into the deep waters of the sound from the banks) brings us just north of Warderick Wells and we are moored in the beautiful channel between Warderick Wells and Hog Cay by 1. On the way down we hear over the VHF radio about a Happy Hour that night by the park HQ, after contemplating on weather to go to the other side of the Island we decide to take the dinghy in around 3:30 (office closes at 4) and hang out over there until 5:30 HH time. They have pay boxes on our side of the Island (for cash) but you have to go to the office to pay for & get the internet access code, or if you want to use credit. Weather & water are calm so we go prepared, hand held VHF & GPS & flashlights so we can find find our way back shortly after sunset. They have a good turn out for the HH – everyone from the north anchorage, and we wind up staying later then planned and come back in total blackness before the moonrise with some wind and waves. Pretty scary & hard to follow our tracks with the hand held GPS, watching for sandbars and jagged rocks not friendly to inflatable dinghies. Back on board, hot showers & a warm meal vowing never to travel that far at night in the dinghy again. Saturday is a gray and rainy day, we spend the morning catching up on emails but run out of allotted bandwidth time for 24 hours within 4 hours. We get entertained by a sea plane landing and picking up the mooring next to us, just as we are wondering how they will get to shore a small open boat comes up to the plane. Two people & luggage get off the plane and into the boat & 3 of the 4 guys get into the plane and then they both take off. Even though we are in the park territory, with NO commercial development, there are several private Islands within the park boundaries so we guess they are going to one of those. Later the plane returns, this time running up on the beach and just as before the motor boat comes up to meet him, this time he just unloads more luggage and supplies to the 2 guys on the boat and like before they take off in different directions. We are easily entertained these days. Later the rain stops & it clears enough for us to go to the little beach by us and walk along some of the trails on the south end of the Island. I use the word “TRAILS” very loosely. They have a sign indicating where it starts, usually on the beach, but shortly after it is very hard to tell which way it goes through the trees and over the RUGGED rocks & limestone. NOT a place to walk in flip flops or any loose fitting shoe, any miss step and you would have some serious cuts & bruises at the least. We hike several of the trails, one leading to a Pirate's Lair where pirates use to meet. Running into a few people on the way, once over on the west side where the winds are blowing we get to watch & meet a couple of guys out kite surfing. On the way back we here someone yelling Hello, the couple from the boat next to us took a wrong turn (very easy to do) and were trying to find the path. We stop & visit for a while and direct them to the path and make plans to stop by their boat for sundowners later. We have a nice visit with Anne & Terry on S/V Quality Time, from Toronto down here for the winter. Sunday morning not a cloud in the sky but winds still 15-20 kts making the 73º feel a lot cooler. We get our new mooring assignment for the north anchorage available by noon. Anne & Terry stop by for tea & to return Steve's jacket that he left on their boat and visit for a while before we leave to go to the other anchorage. The short hop over is rough with wind against tide in the pass, 6-8 ft chaotic seas that toss us around like a cork in a washing machine. But once we clear the pass its calm again and we're re-moored by 12:15. After lunch, into shore to check out some more “trails”, 3 hours & 2 ¾ miles of hiking later we have gotten our work out for the day. See pictures of “trails” and you will understand why it took us 3 hours to climb up & down between the sound side & the bank side enjoying some beautiful scenery along the way. Heading back to the boat we see another dinghy having trouble starting their motor (same as ours), we can sure relate to that, so tow them back to their boat. Monday, another partly cloudy day to start, Steve goes in to get us more internet time. Then in the afternoon we return to Boo Boo Hill to add to the pile our piece of driftwood that we picked up the day before. Steve has carved into it Ocean Star, dated it January 24, 2011, which just happens to be 10 months since we have left Kemah and living our dream as cruisers. Walk another trail then return down the hill, as the sun decides to come out. We stop by the Tiki hut on the beach and wait for the Bananaquits (little birds) as I have remembered to bring sugar which they eat right out of my hand. We are truly blessed to be living this life.
Link to pictures; http://picasaweb.google.com/103931849054358791487/WarderickWells?feat=directlink